ISLAMABAD: As many as 17 Pakistani female university students successfully completed the four-week United States Pakistan Women’s Council (USPWC) Future of Women in Energy Scholar’s pilot programme.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Reed Aeschliman presided over a graduation ceremony for the participants at the US Embassy in Islamabad.

According to a statement released on Sunday, the inaugural four-week programme was designed to encourage women to consider careers in the energy sector. All of the participants were female Pakistani students pursuing their undergraduate degrees in the sciences.

The programme is a product of the US’s commitment towards promoting women’s educational and economic participation in Pakistan’s energy sector, it added.

Scholars developed projects related to energy economy

“As we celebrate 75 years of relations with Pakistan this year, today’s milestone shows the scope of this amazing partnership. This programme supports women’s empowerment, education, and job opportunities. It shows the depth and breadth of our mutual commitment and the opportunities for further cooperation,” Mr Reed said.

The programme, a cooperative effort between USPWC, US Mission Pakistan, the US Department of State, the US Department of Energy, USAID, Texas A&M University, and Texas A&M University (Qatar), kicked off with a two-week study programme at Texas A&M University’s campus in Qatar on June 3. Scholars learned about energy infrastructure, energy security, and the role of women in the energy sector, and developed independent projects on different facets of the energy economy.

The students returned to Pakistan for a two-week career immersion programme in Islamabad and Lahore, visiting public and private sector companies and agencies involved in Pakistan’s energy sector.

They developed a practical understanding of the multifaceted challenges faced by Pakistan’s energy sector.

Many Pakistani and international companies, and public-sector employers contributed in the programme. The US-Pakistan Women’s Council is a public-private partnership that seeks to increase women’s economic participation in Pakistan by catalysing commitments from the private sector, civil society, and government leaders in both countries to advance women’s economic empowerment in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2022

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