Islamabad: Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dr. Javaid Laghari, Chairman of the Higher Education Commission to create three Centers for Advanced Studies at Pakistani universities. With U.S. support, these centers will promote the development of Pakistan’s water, energy, and agriculture sectors through applied research, training for specialists, university linkages, and the contributions towards policy formulation.
“U.S.-Pakistan cooperation in higher education spans more than six decades. This new program presents a new milestone in our joint efforts to strengthen Pakistan’s university system to support the growth of the country’s economy,” said Dr. Rajiv Shah at the signing ceremony.
The Centers for Advanced Studies is a five-year $127 million program sponsored by USAID. The Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security will be established with U.S. support at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Punjab.
The Center for Advanced Studies in Water will be created at the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology in Jamshoro. Meanwhile the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad will open the Center for Advanced Studies in Energy. A satellite center for energy will be established at the University of Engineering and Technology in Peshawar.
A key component of the Center for Advanced Studies Program is linking Pakistani universities to universities in the United States. These linkages will help engender, support, and fund joint applied research, student and faculty exchanges, pedagogical improvement, and development of new courses according to the needs of industry. It is expected that other universities will use these centers as a model for future growth and improvements.
The signing ceremony for the launch of the Centers for Advanced Studies Program was attended by the Vice Chancellors from the four participating universities, representatives from the Higher Education Commission, members of the Ministry of Science and Technology, other officials, and students.
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