Alumni Events & Outreach

Launch of Fulbright Heroes 2016

“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” -Maya Angelou

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Haya capturing a shot of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur while filming Fulbright alumnus, Najam Ahmed Shah’s documentary. Najam was CEO of the solar park, considered one of the largest solar energy plants in the world. The pilot project is Pakistan’s first 100 MW solar power plant and its success has paved the way for private investment in Pakistan’s solar energy sector, an essential contribution in addressing the country’s chronic power shortage. A career civil servant, Najam now serves as Secretary, Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education with the Government of Punjab.

As you read this, over 33,000 people are still “talking” about #FulbrightHeroes on Facebook! Undoubtedly the documentary series has found an eager audience on social media and beyond. Launched on September 30, 2016, the series are a poignant reminder of how the Fulbright grant is helping ordinary people lead extraordinary lives by shaping the world around them.

Produced by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan in collaboration with filmmaker (and Fulbright alumna), Haya Fatima Iqbal, the series is a collection of short video documentaries, which tell the inspirational stories of 14 Fulbright alumni who have found impactful ways to improve the lives of ordinary Pakistani citizens. Alumni, like Neha Mankani, public health professional, midwife, and the founder of the Mama Baby Fund; Umer Adnan, inventor of Cowlar – a smart, wearable device for dairy animals; Muhammad Shehryar, founder of Harness Energy, a renewable energy start-up focused on improving energy access to rural communities; and artists like metal smith Amina Rizwan and comedian Shehzad Ghias, highlight important role alumni are playing in bringing peace and prosperity to Pakistan.

The series is a culmination of 6 months of semi-grueling shoots in varying Pakistani cities and landscapes, amidst unpredictable weather.

“We visited cities in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and spent hours in sweltering heat and chapping cold, reviewing film, eating stale biscuits and spending time with some of the most interesting people around,” said Shahram Niazi, USEFP Program Officer and Production Lead on the series.

In total, the videos tell the stories of 14 Fulbright Master’s and PhD alumni resulting in 28 videos produced, of which 14 were short, four to five minute documentaries, coupled with 14 sixty-second versions for social media. Series director, Haya, who is the backbone of the series, used her keen eye and unique storytelling style to weave together the inspirational stories that are capturing audience attention.

We couldn’t be prouder of the alumni featured! For a quick rundown on the videos produced, click on the individual links below or visit our playlist on YouTube for a recap of the series. Our Fulbright Heroes are:

Happy viewing!

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