US Embassy, UAJK ink MoU to renew partnership

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Mubashar Naqvi

MUZAFFARABAD: The US Embassy in Islamabad and the University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (UAJK) on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) renewing their partnership overseeing the Lincoln Corner in Muzaffarabad for another two years.
Minister Counselor for Public Affairs of US Embassy Raymond Castillo and UAJK Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Muhammad Kaleem Abbasi signed the MoU.
First established in 2007, the Lincoln Corner is a partnership project between the US Embassy Islamabad and UAJK. Alongside the MoU signing, the Lincoln Corner celebrated its 11th anniversary.
In collaboration with the US Embassy, the Corner organizes various programs for UAJK students and the local community in Muzaffarabad, focusing on English language learning, American education resources, science and technology, and entrepreneurship.
“As we mark this 15-year anniversary celebration, we have many activities also to look forward to in the future. Today I have the pleasure of announcing the launch of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) training for Lincoln Corner Muzaffarabad starting June 11. AWE Pakistan is a competitive, fully-funded program offered by the U.S. Mission to Pakistan to help women entrepreneurs with the skills, resources, and networks needed to establish and grow their businesses, through facilitated, online learning,” Castillo said in his remarks.
“The 15th year anniversary celebration is also part of a larger 75th anniversary celebration of U.S.-Pakistan bilateral relations. Our partnership has grown in many areas, and we look forward to building on our successes and expanding further on the ties between the American and Pakistani people,” noted Minister-Counselor Castillo.
The Lincoln Corner at the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s City Campus includes a Maker Space with a 3-D printer and virtual reality headsets, a comprehensive collection of books, magazines, scholarly databases, and an Americana-themed public events space.
In his welcome address, Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr. Muhammad Kaleem Abbasi his deep gratitude to US Embassy officials for choosing UAJK to establish Lincoln Corner, which is an important initiative to facilitate the students and faculty members to learn about America, its history, culture, educational system, and the institutions of higher learning there.
He acknowledged with thanks the support of US Embassy in Islamabad for joining hands with the administration of the university to launch this corner and connecting our youth and teachers to the United States through educational programs.
Highlighting the achievements of the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the Vice-Chancellor said this institution of higher learning has made great progress over the last 40 years by providing quality education to the students and conducting research of the highest standard across a broad spectrum of disciplines.
“Since its inception in 1980, the University has not only grown to become one of the largest seats of learning but also has secured its place as one of AJK’s leading research institutions by achieving a number of ambitious goals in research, teaching, and learning, and infrastructure development”, he said.
Abbasi said the university provides students and faculty access to higher education by establishing collaborative linkages with reputed national and international institutions. The facilities like Lincoln Corner will further help our students to remain in touch with the changes in the contemporary world and would also facilitate various kinds of practical training to mold them into useful citizens of the country.
Earlier the US delegation headed by Minister Counselor for Public Affairs of US Embassy Raymond Castillo and comprising Regional Public Engagement Specialist, Monica Davis, American Spaces Manager, Maqsood Shaheen, and Coordinator Lincoln Corner Muzaffarabad, Amna Gilani called on Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr. Muhammad Kaleem Abbasi and discussed the importance of effectively utilizing the platform of Lincoln Corner to enhance linkages between UAJK and US educational institutions.
While in Muzaffarabad, Castillo also met with officials from the AJK Government’s Department of Education and visited students from English Works, a U.S. Embassy program that improves the English language skills of unemployed or under-employed youth ages 17 to 25, while also enhancing entrepreneurial and technical skills to increase employability. He also engaged with more than 40 alumni of the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network.