As part of the US-Pakistan educational cooperation, 139 Pakistanis received prestigious Fulbright scholarships to pursue graduate studies and research at leading universities in the United States. Funded by the United States government, the departing students attended a virtual pre-departure orientation organized by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) to learn about the Fulbright Program, life on university campuses, and American culture, a press release on Thursday said. The 2021 Fulbright cohort hails from 52 universities across Pakistan, with women representing 71 percent of the group. This year, 93 Master’s and 39 Ph.D. students and seven Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant (FLTA) fellows were selected for these awards. They will attend 78 US universities and pursue a wide variety of academic disciplines, including engineering, energy management, and social sciences. “For over 70 years, Pakistan and the United States have been sending people to each other’s shores, enriching our communities and creating lasting bonds between tens of thousands of Americans and Pakistanis,” noted the US embassy’s Acting Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, Julia Fendrick. “Through this experience, you will become envoys and bridge builders. You will connect and deepen the relationship between the United States and Pakistan.” Fulbright is the flagship academic exchange program of the US Department of State that covers travel, living stipends, health insurance, and tuition for the entire period of study. Since 2005, 2,401 Pakistanis have received the Fulbright award to study, conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Earlier this year, the Higher Education Commission and USEFP signed an extension to a Memorandum of Understanding to support 125 Pakistanis to pursue Ph.D. studies in the United States, 25 per year for five years. This extends an agreement that already funded 125 Fulbright-HEC Ph.D. scholarships between 2021 and 2025.