Nineteen Pakistani teachers are spending a month at Plymouth State University learning about innovations in American education and how to translate them for use in schools at home.
In Pakistan, the teachers are divided by geography, ethnicity, and professional hierarchies – not to mention 17 languages – making it unlikely they would ever meet or work together. But on this small college campus, they are colleagues and friends.
Authorized by the Fulbright-Hayes Act, funded through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and hosted by Plymouth State University, it is very much a dual Pakistan-U.S. program. It encompasses an ever-expanding community of practice – and spirit – that transcends boundaries, demonstrating the power of citizen diplomacy in a very complex world.
During the Project’s one-month intensive Institute and Study Tour Pakistani educators will use New England and Washington, D.C., as diverse learning labs. In the process they explore dynamic initiatives and institutions from rural New Hampshire to urban Boston and points south. They also share their own powerful work with underprivileged students: the faces and future of Pakistan’s vibrant civil society.
There is also an American reciprocal program that brings together U.S. and Pakistani educators in Pakistan or an alternate geographic site.
According to Blakeman Allen, director of the program, “This is very much a real time, tightly connected Project, with alumni living and working in Pakistan’s most vulnerable and marginalized areas.”
At the end of last year’s institute, the delegation shared their hopes and dreams: “peace and freedom from fear.”
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