“Youth and professionals are shaping up the future of Pak-US relations. The visits of nearly 1000 professionals, government officials, civil society activists, journalists and others to the United States, annually, under different exchange programs are creating strong linkages between the two countries that reinforce contacts at official level,” said Masood Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States. “Pakistan is one of the US government’s largest education exchange programs portfolio globally. These programs provide our students with a unique opportunity not only to learn advanced knowledge at renowned and prestigious U.S. universities but also help them in creating better understanding of the U.S. systems and society,” he continued. Welcoming a cohort of 51 Pakistani young under-graduate students who are currently visiting the United States under Global UGRAD Spring 2023 Program to the Embassy of Pakistan Washington DC, Ambassador Masood Khan thanked the US State Department, USEFP (United States Education Foundation Pakistan ) and IREX (International Research & Exchanges Board) for their strong commitment towards the education exchange programs with Pakistan and their excellent implementations. The visiting cohort is representing all regions of Pakistan including AJK, Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan and Capital territory and hail mostly from underserved areas. 61% girls representation manifested the commitment of the two governments towards women empowerment and facilitating them with greater opportunities to excel in all walks of life. Ms. Molly Stephenson, Director Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the US Department of State, Mr. Steve Money, Deputy Director Office of the Academic Exchange Programs, Michael Dyer, Senior Project Director IREX and other officials accompanied the group during their visit to the Embassy. The visiting students would be studying at 47 different US institutions across 30 U.S. States. Global UGRAD Program provides one-semester scholarships to more than 200 outstanding undergraduate students annually. Speaking on the occasion Molly Stephenson and Steve Dyer congratulated the students and appreciated their leadership qualities. They said that the purpose of the program was to help talented Pakistani students to broaden their horizon, explore new avenues for personal growth and create a better understanding among the people of the two countries. Felicitating young students on their selection for the Program through a competitive and transparent process, Ambassador Khan said that the unique experience of studying in the United States in STEM, social sciences, humanities and other disciplines would help them harnessing their potential, hone their skills and learn about the culture of the United States. “You would be representing Pakistan before your host communities. The mutual interaction should help to remove misperceptions that often haunt our relationship,” Ambassador Khan observed. Recounting various education, professional and cultural exchange programs including Fulbright Student Program, Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD), Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES), International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) and the Hubert Humphery Fellowship Program, Masood Khan that these were the strong threads that bind the youth and professionals together and cement bilateral relationship. Highlighting multifaceted Pak-US cooperation, Ambassador Khan also thanked the US government for its assistance in relief and recovery operations after the country was hit by massive floods. “We look forward to continued US support during the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase,” he said.