Impressed by the vibrancy of the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN), Khayam M. Beg led the leadership of the PUAN Gilgit Chapter and voyaged for almost 20 hours amidst the intense weather on ragged roads to arrive in Islamabad for the eighth annual meeting of the PUAN National Executive Committee (NEC).
Khayam Beg along with 58 elected alumni leadership of PUAN’s 13 chapters collectively represent the National Executive Committee (NEC). They spearheaded planning, implementation and facilitation of a diverse range of activities, campaigns and events on a grassroots level across Pakistan.
From January 27-28, 2018, the alumni were invited to Islamabad to attend the eighth annual NEC meeting to build their abilities through interactive skills-based sessions; collectively brainstorm ideas to design chapter activities; and discuss the best practices and case studies.
As an informal tradition, at the start of each year, PUAN hosts the National Executive Committee to provide them an opportunity to:
- Highlight the achievements of the past year
- Elaborate on their chapters’ plan for 2018
- Discuss the best practices, challenges and solutions
- Finalize the theme for the Country Project
- Discover new avenues to engage the alumni for community service
Following the session, the representatives of PUAN Secretariat delivered detailed presentations on applying for small grants, preparing chapter plans, financial reporting, monitoring projects, branding guidelines, and communication tools and resources for chapter leaderships.
Moreover, the U.S. Embassy Islamabad’s Regional Public Engagement Specialist, Holly Murten, spoke with the alumni about American Spaces and how the spaces are an excellent source of information, resources and services beneficial for chapter activities and outreach projects.
The U.S. Embassy Islamabad’s Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, Kathryn Crockart hosted a networking reception for the PUAN Leadership. The reception provided ample opportunities for PUAN leaders to interact and share their ideas for building the community; volunteer work and exchange experiences with the representatives of the U.S. Mission in Pakistan.
Speaking at the reception, the American Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale thanked the leadership for its volunteer work and further added, “Your involvement with PUAN is an extension of the work we [at the Embassy] do to share American culture with Pakistan. You are now best placed to explain America – its people, its values, and its character – to your colleagues, and to use the skills and knowledge you gained while on your program to advance whatever goals and dreams you hold.”
Interactive Session by Umair Jaliawala:
This year, an exclusive session was designed by the PUAN Secretariat for the alumni. The session by the leading trainer, Umair Jaliawala, engaged the alumni in several recreational activities to practically reveal the key qualities of a leader and an enabler.
The provoking session – composed of a variation of activities – turned out to be a roller-coaster journey of realizations, and simulations that indulged the alumni to celebrate and connect.
The 2018 Country Project:
Following a half an hour open-mic discussion on the theme for the 2018 Country Project, the alumni collectively voted for each nominated idea. The idea ‘Meet Pakistan’ received the majority of votes through an open poll and was announced as the country project by the Country President of Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network, Khawaja Muddassar.
Muddassar furthermore elaborated that the country project will locally and internationally present Pakistani culture and diversity for the promotion of tourism. This will help further the effort to bridge the people-to-people ties amongst diverse communities.
As the alumni return to their respective chapter with renewed enthusiasm, they are set to lead, engage and inspire the alumni of their chapters to strengthen people-to-people ties through a variety of chapter activities.