Office of the Spokesperson
March 1, 2016
Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel and Pakistani Minister of Planning, Development, and Reform Ahsan Iqbal chaired the second U.S.-Pakistan Education, Science, and Technology Working Group in Washington, D.C. today prior to the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue Ministerial.
The U.S.-Pakistan Education, Science, and Technology Working Group provides a platform to strengthen cooperation under the “U.S.-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor,” focused on advancing academic networks, partnerships, and exchanges in higher education, science, and technology.
At the meeting, Under Secretary Stengel and Minister Iqbal signed a statement recognizing the commitment by Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission to fund scholarships for an additional 125 Pakistani PhD students in the United States through the Fulbright Program over the next five years, complementing the U.S. investment in the Fulbright Program in Pakistan, which is the largest worldwide.
Both sides discussed how our countries’ cooperation in education, science, and technology through the “U.S.-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor” provides a lasting foundation for U.S.-Pakistan ties and serves as an engine for long-term economic growth. They reviewed the substantial achievements since the last Working Group held in Islamabad in June 2015: doubling joint funding for collaborative science and technology research grants; launching U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies in energy, water, and agriculture/food security, part of the 23 total U.S.-Pakistan university partnerships; and the announcement of the joint Let Girls Learn initiative to expand educational opportunity for adolescent girls. At the Working Group, Under Secretary Stengel announced the establishment of a new university partnership between the University of Massachusetts and a consortium of universities in Balochistan.
Minister Iqbal noted Pakistan’s aspiration for 10,000 Pakistanis to obtain PhDs at U.S. universities by 2025; the two sides agreed to explore initiatives to expand educational opportunities for Pakistani students in the United States at the tertiary level. They also recognized that ongoing investments in basic and higher education, including through the Let Girls Learn Initiative, will create a well-educated workforce that will drive innovation, gender equality, and a knowledge-based economy. The United States commends Pakistan for doubling its higher education budget since 2013, for its efforts to expand women and girls’ access to education, and for pledging to increase spending on education from two to four percent of GDP by 2018.
For additional information on the U.S.-Pakistan Education, Science, and Technology Working Group, please visit http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2016/03/253859.htm. For press inquiries, please contact SCA-Press@state.gov.