US announces 500 new scholarships for Pakistani flood-affectees

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WASHINGTON: The United States government announced 500 new scholarships for university students from the flood-affected districts in Pakistan to assist them in completing their degrees.

Pakistan suffered from the historic monsoon rains and flooding last year that claimed over 1,700 lives, displaced over eight million people and dented the country’s economy.

The scholarships were announced by US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome at an event celebrating the achievements of female scholars in honour of International Women’s Day at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in Islamabad. This was confirmed by State Department spokesperson Ned Price today.

Federal Minister of Planning Ahsan Iqbal, HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, National Disaster Management Authority Chairman Lieutenant General Inam Haider Malik, HEC Executive Director Dr Shaista Sohail, USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman, university vice-chancellors, students, and alumni also attended the event.

“The United States, through USAID, has supported scholarships for meritorious yet financially disadvantaged students to pursue higher education at top Pakistani universities,” Price shared in his press briefing.

He detailed that in partnership with the HEC, the US government has awarded over 6,000 scholarships through a merit and needs-based scholarship programme.

Around 60% of those scholarships have been awarded to women.

“International Women’s Day not only serves as a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements made by our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and daughters. It is also a call to action to accelerate gender parity and to dismantle gender stereotypes,” Ambassador Blome said during his announcement of the scholarships.

International Women’s Day is being celebrated today around the world. It is an annual event marked across the globe every year on March 8 to celebrate the achievements of women and push for their rights to progress.

“Pakistan has suffered from catastrophic floods where millions of people lost their homes and livelihoods. The humanitarian response by the United States and other donors is commendable. We welcome US support for flood-affected students,” commented the federal planning minister.

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