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Pakistani Vice Chancellors visit UK to Build Upon Partnership

Two vice chancellors from Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province recently visited UK to build upon the success of the three-year “University Partnership in Business Administration” project.

The project is funded by a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of State to partner with a consortium of five universities in the KP Province of Pakistan to improve their MBA programs through curriculum revision, pedagogy and collaborative faculty research. The Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and the U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar are facilitating the program.

The KP Province borders both Afghanistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan.  Both KP Province and FATA are centers of activity for the Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-i-Taliban) and Al Qaeda, and are sites of frequent terrorist attacks on government officials, aid workers, teachers and others.

Mohammed Rasul Jan, vice chancellor of the University of Peshawar, and Abdur Rahim Khan, vice chancellor of University of Science and Technology Bannu, visited UK in mid-October.

“We are very impressed with the time that is committed by the professors here, with our visiting scholars,” said Rasul Jan.  “And the visiting scholars speak very highly of the program itself, the commitment of our partners and the commitment of the mentors to whom these faculty are assigned.”

The vice chancellors were also impressed with the pedagogical training the Pakistani scholars received during their stay at UK.

“This kind of training and exposure to a country like the U.S. changes behavior and attitudes. We believe this will improve the quality of education in Pakistan,” said Rahim Khan.

There were several discussions about continuing the partnership beyond the scope of the project by sending Pakistani scholars and faculty members to UK in order to improve the quality of their research and to stay updated with the latest trends in their fields.

When the situation improves in Pakistan, Rasul Jan would also like UK faculty members to visit his university and the consortium universities to develop collaborative work and gain a deeper understanding of Pakistan.

The vice chancellors were also able to meet with Pakistani students studying at UK and advised them to work hard.

Hamid Khan, a sophomore studying accounting in the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics, is also from the KP Province. Before coming to the U.S. Khan studied at the University of Peshawar, where Rasul Jan is currently the vice chancellor.

Meeting Hamid Khan was very meaningful to the vice chancellors because his relative, Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan, was the first chief minister of the KP Province and founder of the University of Peshawar. Khan was a well-known politician who devoted his life to promoting education in KP province and tribal areas.

According to Gary Gaffield, assistant provost for international partnerships at UK, the visit was a confirmation from the consortium universities of their commitment to sustaining the partnership beyond the term and scope of this grant.

“I think this kind of collaborative work is having an immediate and direct impact in Pakistan, and I think it is also self-evident that the partnership has provided benefits to UK for the faculty members and staff who have been involved in the project,” said Gaffield. “I think it is profoundly important for us, it is a partnership that we value and look forward to continuing.”