For the third year in a row, the Civic Initiative at the UMass Donohue Institute is hosting a month-long summer course designed to bring Pakistani students to the UMass Amherst campus to learn about US-Pakistan politics. The course, a joint Pakistan Embassy and US State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) program, is designed to explore the political, economic, historical, institutional, and cultural issues involved in policy-making in both countries.
According to Michael Hannahan, Director of the Civic Initiative and instructor in the Department of Political Science at UMass Amherst, “The course represents a unique opportunity for UMass students to study with peers from another nation–especially one whose geo-political situation is critical to world affairs.”
The summer workshops allow students “to examine commonly held stereotypes,” says Hannahan. The discussions move beyond the daily media reports that US students are used to and allow them to “gain a first-hand understanding of how the US is perceived in Pakistan, as well as the problems and opportunities facing Pakistani citizens…It is an incredible opportunity for our students.”
Sarah Moffat ’13 and Ronaldo Jose Carlos Choquette De Fraga ’11, both 2011 participants in the Pakistani program agree: “studying public policy with [the Pakistani students] brought an entirely new perspective into the classroom,” says Moffat. “It was more than an honor and privilege to have participated in such a positive engagement,” De Fraga adds.
In addition to the structured, academic lectures and discussions, students enrolled in the summer class will have voluntary, extra-curricular opportunities to interact and build relationships with the Pakistani students outside of the classroom. Last year, for instance, students were able to enjoy a Connecticut River boat tour, day trips to Boston, a giant Fourth of July celebration, and regular evening movie and discussion panels.
- Faculty News