LINCOLN — Three Pakistani scholars are visiting the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus this week to learn about UNO's community engagement initiatives.
The visit results from UNO's partnership with Pakistan as part of the U.S.-Pakistan Higher Education Initiative on Civic Engagement. UNO was one of five U.S. universities chosen to work with five Pakistani universities in the partnership, which was announced in October.
A grant from the U.S. Embassy-Islamabad Office of Public Affairs enables UNO to bring representatives from Pakistani universities to campus. UNO professors will travel to Pakistan this summer to learn about its education system. The civic engagement partnership lasts one year, said Shane Pekny of UNO's International Studies and Programs office, but it is expected to generate long-term connections between UNO and its partner university, Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad.
“This project gives UNO an opportunity to share what we have learned about the importance of community engagement,” said Tom Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs at UNO. “Equally important, these new people-to-people ties between the United States and Pakistan will support cultural understanding during a challenging time in the relationship between our two countries.”
The visitors are Eatzaz Ahmad, dean of the faculty of social sciences and an economist who holds a doctorate from McMaster University in Canada; Rao Nadeem Alam, an assistant professor who holds a doctorate in social and cultural anthropology from the University of Vienna in Austria; and Waheed Chaudry, an assistant professor of anthropology.
This week's visit, which began Monday and continues through Thursday, involves Quaid-i-Azam University scholars who want to launch community partnerships between their institution and businesses, nonprofit organizations, local governments and schools. They hope to better connect their university with Pakistani citizens and support the development of civil society.
The scholars will meet with UNO leaders and faculty who have been involved in similar community engagement efforts, such as the Center for Public Affairs Research, the Service Learning Academy and the new Community Engagement Center, currently under construction on UNO's Dodge Campus.
The visitors were to make a presentation to the Omaha World Affairs Council Monday; travel to West Point, Neb., today for a “Nebraska Neighbors” rural outreach trip; and visit Habit for Humanity in Omaha, where many UNO students volunteer, on Thursday.
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