Alumni News Reunions

200 Alumni from GB Reconnect at FongKhar, The Palace on the Rocks

200 Alumni from GB Reconnect at FongKhar, The Palace on the Rocks

By Rimsha Ali Shah

Arfa Mohib, Naureen Akhter, and Rubina Bano stood admiring the 300-year-old fort perched on a gigantic old rock.  A few steps ahead, a group of alumni was appreciating the old-age artifacts preserved in the fort, while another cluster posed against the backdrop of the famous Shigar Rock that held the ruins of the 11th Century fort Karu Dong.

This year, the reconnect event was held at the unique heritage site of 17th Century FongKhar, the palace on the rock, popularly known as the Shigar Fort.  The excitement of going through old architecture and reconnecting with friends amid the backdrop of such historic richness had lifted the spirits of all 200 alumni who were present at the Shigar Fort for the reunion.

They had traveled from Ghanche, Gilgit, Ghizer, Hunza, Nagar, and Skardu to attend the sixth annual reunion of Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network’s (PUAN) Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Chapter on October 22, 2016. 

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Alumni News Grants Reunions

6th Anniversary of PUAN ISB/RWP Chapter Celebrates Achievements of Alumni

6th Anniversary of PUAN ISB/RWP Chapter Celebrates Achievements of Alumni

By Rimsha Ali Shah

Aleenah Masud stood at the back of the hall with a bird’s eye view of the event before her.  She could see the hall filling up, with a lot of new faces, and a lot of old ones.  Since her participation in the Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders (SUSI) in 2011, she had been actively organizing the annual reunions, but this one had a special significance for her.  With this reunion, she was completing her four-year term as the Finance Secretary of the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) Islamabad/Rawalpindi Chapter.

“PUAN is my second home, and I feel absolutely honored to have served as the Finance Secretary for the Islamabad/Rawalpindi Chapter.  To be honest, I never knew I would be able to handle grants and their accounts for these incredible four years.  It has been an upward learning curve for me.”

The 6th Annual Reunion of PUAN Islamabad/Rawalpindi Chapter was held on October 22, 2016, in Islamabad with the participation of more than 700 alumni of State Department-sponsored exchange programs from the twin cities.  The reunion acknowledged the chapter’s progress over the past one year through the Emerging Leaders Award, the Distinguished Leaders Award, appreciation certificates for the PUAN Mentorship Program 2015, and celebrated the contribution of alumni to the cause of community development.  This year, for the first time, the reunion featured a job fair with noted names from the industry present.  The reunion also marked the term completion of the current chapter leadership and executive board.

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Alumni News Reunions

Alumni Gear Up to Bring their Exchange Experience Home

Alumni Gear Up to Bring their Exchange Experience Home

By Rimsha Ali Shah.

Ten months with experiences that last a lifetime – that’s how the latest cohort of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (KL-YES) program summed up their year in the U.S.   Be it Dur-e-Nayab’s cultural exchange with her Tunisian, Mexican, and Lebanese friends, or Nayab Ali’s intensive four-month preparation to speak at Tedx Ann Arbor, or Moiz Khan’s excellent understanding of cultural shock and reverse cultural shock, the alumni had experiences that transformed them into global citizens, pumped with energy to change the world.

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Alumni News Reunions

Lahore Hosts Over 400 Alumni from Punjab for Sangat 2016

Lahore Hosts Over 400 Alumni from Punjab for Sangat 2016

By Rimsha Ali Shah.

“Lahore, Lahore, Ae!” (Lahore is Lahore) sums up the colorful cultural vistas of this historic city.  Lahore, also known as the “Walled City,” holds vestiges from the Mughal Era, including 6 of the original 13 gates, historic mosques, and magnificent forts.  The city’s rich cultural heritage has earned Lahore the title of the “heart of Pakistan.”  On May 22, 2016 this incredible city hosted alumni from across Punjab for the first-ever reunion of Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) – Punjab Chapter.  Aptly called “Sangat” or “companionship,” the two-day reunion provided over 400 alumni of various U.S. State Department exchange programs the environment to connect, explore, and celebrate the cultural diversity this city holds through breakout sessions, dialogues, networking activities, and a city tour.

To nurture this companionship, U.S. Consulate General Lahore Public Affairs Officer Rachael Chen, encouraged all alumni to connect with at least 10 new alumni. “Access students, this is a great opportunity for you to learn how to apply for exchange programs like Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES), Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (UGRAD), Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) and Fulbright, straight from the exchange alumni themselves,” she added.  

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Alumni News Reunions

Sinder Alumni Reunion: Exchange Alumni from Sindh and Gwadar Convene

Sinder Alumni Reunion: Exchange Alumni from Sindh and Gwadar Convene

By Rimsha Ali Shah

Decorated with smiles, chatter, and giggles, the Pakistan-American Cultural Center was alive and full of pleasant nostalgia on the evening of April 16, 2016.  Despite the humidity encapsulating Karachi that evening, alumni from across Sindh and Gwadar decided that “the show must go on!”  The Sinder (Sindh – Gwadar) Reunion brought together over 500 alumni from Jamshoro, Karachi, Gwadar and Sukkur.

Faisal Malik, Country President of the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) applauded his team of volunteer alumni who had tirelessly worked to make the reunion happen.  From success stories of alumni who had commendably completed their alumni small grants supported projects, to unearthing the hidden talent through a game of tongue twisters, to a super energetic musical performance by renowned pop musician Salim Javed, Sinder enabled reconnections and new connections to form amongst the alumni present.

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Alumni News Reunions

Connect and Reconnect: KP-FATA Chapter Celebrates 1300 Exchange Alumni

Connect and Reconnect: KP-FATA Chapter Celebrates 1300 Exchange Alumni

By Rimsha Ali Shah

Twinkling eyes, hearty hugs, and insatiable enthusiasm aptly characterize the tenor of the annual reunion of the KP – FATA chapter.  Sounds of ‘So glad to see you!’ resonated throughout the hall, but the clicks of the cameras and amused laughter rang loudest in one corner: the photo-booth that was stacked with top of the line props in vibrant colors and a young man with a selfie stick.  Move ahead, and a group of actors dressed as the stereotypical image of a Pushton family rehearsed for their skit that was going to be performed later.  Amid all this hustle and bustle sat the newbies – eager, but shy to mingle with the exchange alumni from across the province.  They sat twisting the registration cards they had received at the reception.  At that time, the newest cohort of the exchange alumni were unaware of the significance of the red, blue and green color on the cards that were part of the ice-breaker that was designed to break the silence and push alumni as old as those who joined PUAN in 2006 to the fresh additions from 2015 to connect and exchange.

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Alumni News Regional Cooperation Reunions Thematic Conference

Peace and Conflict Resolution: Building bridges of peace

Peace and Conflict Resolution: Building bridges of peace

By Rimsha Ali Shah.

A footballer, an interfaith harmony expert, an artist, a banker, a corporate trainer, an author and a blogger all sat together on a table.  While one was from Sindh, the other was from Dhaka.  One understood numbers and the other words.  Seemingly disparate in every manner, what pulled them together as a group?  Peace!

Exploring avenues of peace-building in all walks of life is what 160 participants from across Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India and Bangladesh set out to do over the three-day Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) International Conference: Peace and Conflict Resolution held in Islamabad from November 27 – 29, 2015. 

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Alumni News Reunions Thematic Conference

PUAN International Peace and Conflict Resolution Conference 2015

PUAN International Peace and Conflict Resolution Conference 2015
Planning Team

The Planning Team

After months of preparation, hundreds of applications, numerous hours of planning and streamlining, the day is finally here!  Today we kick off the PUAN International Peace and Conflict Resolution Conference 2015 with 160 participants from 6 South Asian nations, 32 international speakers, 18 workshops, two panel sessions and six community outreach projects.  We have speakers from India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan; 12 peace projects by our talented alumni from across Pakistan, sessions on peace through arts, music, dance, blogging, sports, media, diplomacy, economic integration and edutainment, theater performance, a concert with Arieb Azhar and much more!

The Social Media Team

Here is how you can also be a part of #PUAN4PEACE over the next three days (November 27 – 29, 2015):

  1. Follow us on Twitter: @PakUSAlumni and @PUAN4PEACE
  2. Join us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/PakAlumni and www.facebook.com/puan4peace
  3. Tweet your questions and comments on peace and conflict resolution using the hashtag #PUAN4PEACE
  4. Join us for our live stream on @periscope by following @PakUSAlumni
  5. Share your peace selfies and help us spread the message of peace and solidarity.
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Alumni News Reunions

AJK Annual Reunion: A Celebration of Active Community Service

AJK Annual Reunion: A Celebration of Active Community Service

By Rimsha Ali Shah

The stage was set for the 5th annual Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) chapter Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) reunion.   Over a hundred attendees filled the room from all over AJK, including Mirpur, Bhimber, Neelum and beyond, all gathered in the chilly November weather in Muzaffarabad.

Lubna, a Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (KL-YES) alumna and Tayyaba, an International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) alumna kicked off the event-packed reunion by official welcoming their fellow PUAN members and acknowledging their achievements and continued commitment to community service in the region.

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Alumni News Alumni Success Story Mentor Program PUAN POST Reunions

Islamabad Annual Reunion: An Evening of Inspiration, Passion and Leadership

  • Islamabad Annual Reunion: An Evening of Inspiration, Passion and Leadership

By: Rimsha Ali Shah

The tweets were pouring in by the minute from all over the world, each accompanied by #PUANISB15. For many alumni, the PUAN Islamabad-Rawalpindi Chapter’s annual reunion was their debut at the largest gathering of exchange alumni from across the twin cities.  For others, the evening brought forward memories made in a bygone era.  It was for everyone, an evening to connect with the newly returned cohort of alumni, buzzing with the energy and passion to work for their community; an evening to reconnect and recharge by learning about the fantastic projects that were being undertaken by the senior alumni; and an evening to engage and get inspired by the enthusiasm of 600 exchange alumni.

What makes this meet-up a must-attend is the versatile group of people in the PUAN Islamabad-Rawalpindi Chapter…

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