Last week, along with 4000 others, I attended the annual convention of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA) in Dallas, Texas. While this was a large group, APPNA, according to its website, represents over 15,000 clinicians of Pakistani descent in North America. At the annual meeting those physicians and their families who attended were able to discuss and hear about a variety of social and professional issues. The event also gave its participants, including me, the opportunity to meet old friends and meet and talk for the first time with many other medical professionals. While the convention’s entertainment and educational programs were very good, the conference’s professional events could have been better. Almost a decade ago, a very disparaging comment about APPNA conventions was made by a senior physician who was well-settled in the US, “it is a platform of rich physicians who come there to talk about politics in Pakistan, brag about their wealth, and find a suitable match for their children.” For the past three years as a regular attendee of these meetings, I found the truth of the statement only a small part of the bigger picture. APPNA also provides a platform to publicise many new advancements in health and professional education; it also holds important discussions about advocacy issues. Limiting the role of APPNA to a matrimonial and pretentious display of wealth is far from reality. Several social and developmental projects are launched from APPNA’s platform Many college alumni who work under the grand umbrella of APPNA boast about professional and social developmental projects in Pakistan and in the US Alumni of Nishter Medical College are currently raising almost two million dollars to upgrade the Nishter Hospital in Multan. Allama Iqbal Medical College alumni are helping to improve intensive care and cancer units in Jinnah Hospital in Lahore. The alumni of almost all medical colleges in Pakistan are investing money, resources and human capital in the education and training of medical students and residents in their respective institutions. Personally, I had the most fun in the lobby, hallways and restaurants of the hotel where the conference was held. I met several acquaintances and got social and professional updates on their lives. Almost always conversations and discussions veered toward the political situation in Pakistan. Many friends showed their fervent support of one political party or other. Several times the topic of Islamophobia in the US came up in the discussion as well. Surprisingly, the role of American-Pakistani physicians in dealing with this issue was underrepresented in the convention’s agenda. In the five-day meeting, only one seminar about advocacy and social engagement was scheduled. Unfortunately, only a very small minority of APPNA physicians take an active part in the American political process. Most of my friends could not name senators of their respective states or name their representative in Congress. APPNA civic engagement and advocacy group is trying to change this attitude by educating physicians about participating in American political life. In my opinión, this minar about civic engagement was one of the most important event in the annual meeting. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Ali Jehangir Siddiqui, who was present at the session, made an important speech at the annual dinner stressing how relations between the United States should be improved. He left an excellent impression, coming across as genuine and honest, with high leadership qualities. Entertainment at the convention was very good. Atif Aslam, Meka Singh and Neha Kakkar sang a mixture of Bollywood and Pakistani pop songs with many participants dancing enthusiastically with this music. Sohail Ahmad’s (Azizi) participation was scheduled but he could not attend, greatly disappointing the crowd who were looking forward to hearing his socio-political jokes. For me the best part of the entertainment was listening to Zia Mohyeddin. Zia Sahib read poetry and prose in front of a spell-bound, highly appreciative crowd. Another,altogether accidental, meeting in the corridors was with Dr. Naseem A. Shekhani, whom I admire for launching my favourite social media advocacy webpage, Naya-Daur. Over the past three years I had a chance at APPNA meetings to meet, and sometimes chat, with several prominent social, political and literary figures, guests like Karen Armstrong, Pervez Hoodbhoy, and Zia Mohyeddin. I have been following their work for years and I was able to listen to them for the first time at APPNA conventions. So limiting the role of APPNA to a matrimonial and pretentious display of wealth is far from reality. Several social and developmental projects are launched from APPNA’s platform. Most importantly, APPNA has announced the creation of the first American-Pakistani University to be located in Chicago. Second, during the past year, APPNA has provided health and financial support for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Finally, APPNA is helping us to take a role in mainstream American politics. Hopefully these efforts will yield far-reaching benefits for the Pakistani diaspora in America. APPNA is a leading American-Pakistani organisation playing a positive role in bridging the gap between two cultures. Published in Daily Times, July 11th 2018.