ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Day was organised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan and Campus France in Paris, France on Wednesday, with an intended aim to bring the French institutions of higher learning closer to the Pakistani universities, and to enhance the collaboration for developing human resource and strengthening research in Pakistan’s institutions. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC was the chief guest on the occasion. Representatives from more than 30 universities of France had participated in the event that was also attended by Mr Ghalib Iqbal, Ambassador of Pakistan to France and Ms Martine Dorance, Ambassador of France to Pakistan. The participants discussed issues related to bilateral cooperation in higher education, particularly identifying areas where Pakistani universities and academics could highly benefit from French institutions as well as pinpointing common disciplines for prospective joint research projects.Speaking at the occasion, Ahmed appreciated the French Government and higher education institutions for an academic collaboration with Pakistan in the shape of doctoral and post-doctoral opportunities. “France is providing a number of opportunities to Pakistani scholars and students. Both the countries are collaborating in the higher education sector but this needs to be enhanced and the best way is institution-to-institution joint initiatives and HEC is ready to provide all possible support for this purpose,” he added. The Chairman also referred to the plan of setting up a French university in Pakistan, further postulating that “France has remarkable achievement in industrial growth and HEC would like to launch industrial-based research projects with France so that Pakistan could also efficiently cope with its industrial challenges.” He also highlighted the concept of US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor and hoped that a similar initiative may take place between Pakistan and France. On the occasion, representatives of NUST Islamabad, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Information Technology University Lahore and Government College University Faisalabad also gave presentations on their achievements, focusing areas of research as well as identifying fields for a possible collaboration with the French institutions of higher learning. Wasim Hashmi, Adviser (HRD) HEC, also briefed the participants about various initiatives for faculty development, which included local and foreign Ph.D. scholarships and fellowships for post-doctoral research as well as other incentives, building a strong pool of academics in every discipline, particularly areas more relevant to national growth.The representatives of French institutions, which currently host Pakistani scholars, appreciated the competence and hard work of Pakistani students. They also appreciated the performance of HEC in the transformation of universities and the facilitation of the faculty, students, and research scholars to meet the international standards of higher education. They further expressed a keen interest in enhancing the academic linkages between the two countries.