KARACHI: U.S. Consul General JoAnne Wagner interacted with youth at a forum organized by the Karachi Rotaract Club and highlighted the role that youth can play for the welfare of society by promoting peace and harmony.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Mission Director for Sindh and Balochistan, John Smith-Screen also accompanied the Consul General on this visit. Dr. Anum Akram, Rotaract Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan provided an overview of Rotaract while Hassan Naviwala, Member Rotaract, outlined Rotaract’s programs and the Club’s role in the community.
With one of the highest youth populations in the world, Pakistan has a unique opportunity for social, political and economic progress. However, the challenge of keeping youth productively engaged is also enormous. Therefore the U.S. government is supporting the Government of Pakistan as well as private youth fora across the country and holds interactive sessions between youth and policy-makers, and provides grants to organizations that seek to promote social tolerance and community cohesion among young people.
“I’m pleased to see youth, like those gathered in this room tonight, taking steps and creating organizations and public spaces which are an essential platform for development,” said Consul General Wagner. “Many U.S. government assistance activities in Pakistan focus on education, training, employment opportunities, and more inclusive communities for youth.”
Consul General Wagner also highlighted some USAID programs supporting youth such as the Centers for Advanced Studies in various disciplines which send students and faculty on exchange programs to partnering U.S. universities. She also spoke of the support for building 118 schools and improving education in Sindh to allow millions of children to have a brighter future, as well as focused job-readiness training to youth and helping them find jobs or become entrepreneurs. Within Karachi, USAID has partnered with UNDP and Aman Foundation to provide job skills training to 21,500 young people. About 65% of those trained so far have found employment.