The inaugural National Humphrey Alumni Reunion, held in October 2017 in Islamabad, saw participation from career civil service employees, and eminent private sector professionals, committed to public service. The event, which was organized by USEFP in collaboration with the Humphrey Alumni Association of Pakistan (HAAP), provided a welcome opportunity to Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship alumni to share their professional and personal experiences with their fellow alumni.
The Humphrey Fellowship is a ten-month, non-degree, academic study grant to the U.S., awarded to mid-career professionals with long-term potential to excel in their professional fields. Amongst its many objectives, the Humphrey program fosters a mutual exchange of knowledge and understanding about issues of common concern in the United States and the fellows’ home countries. Since 1980, over 200 Pakistanis have been awarded this prestigious grant.
The night before the official launch of the reunion, the alumni were treated to live music and dinner, in the scenic lawns overlooking Margalla Hills, at AQS in Islamabad. After a pleasant evening, the event formally commenced on October 7, 2017.
Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and former Federal Minister Foreign Affairs and Finance, was the chief guest at the reunion. Mr. Aziz is a towering statesman with over 50 years of public service. One of the highlights of the event was a special address by Mr. Aziz, in which he recollected how he had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Hubert H. Humphrey during one of his state visits to the United States in the early 1970s. Hubert H. Humphrey, after whom the fellowship is named, was a former U.S. Senator and former Vice President of the United States of America.
Ms. Kathryn A. Crockart, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy, was the guest of honor at the event. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ms. Crockart stated, “It is the people-to-people ties that individuals like you developed through programs like the Humphrey Fellowship that create a firm foundation we need to transform U.S. – Pakistan relations in the future.”
The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship program in Pakistan is administered by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP). Addressing the gathering, USEFP Executive Director, Ms. Rita Bruun Akhtar, applauded Humphrey alumni for their potential for leadership and commitment to public service in the public and private sector. Ms. Akhtar recognized the immensely challenging circumstances public sector officials in Pakistan go through to serve their country honorably. Ms. Akhtar further hoped the success of this first reunion would pave the way for the event to become an annual part of the USEFP roster of Alumni lead initiatives.
The one-day conference featured several presentations and talks by alumni on subjects including trade facilitation, police services, education, and youth affairs. Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship alumni include several federal secretaries, inspector generals of police, provincial secretaries, and heads of civil society organizations committed towards public service.