islamabad - Two hundred students and young professionals from across Pakistan gathered yesterday at the “Good for Youth—Good For Pakistan” festival, sponsored by USAID Pakistan.

The festival brought together some of the brightest members of Pakistan’s next generation to exchange ideas about the country’s future and their role in shaping it.

Ambassador Paul Jones, Chargé d’Affaires recognized these young people for their exemplary civil leadership at the festival’s closing ceremony.

 The event featured a mix of fun interactive activities, motivational speeches, music, and a competition of live presentations and video messages from a geographically and economically diverse slate of young people about the opportunities they seek, the challenges they face, and the solutions they propose.

 During the closing ceremony, Ambassador Jones handed out awards to several participants in honor of their active role in Pakistani society and their contributions to the festival.

 Ambassador Jones told festival participants, “I’m delighted that the United States is able to partner with Pakistan to support priorities identified by youth at this festival: quality education, training for jobs in today’s economy, and gender parity. These are priorities our countries share.”

 Three short films were also premiered.  The films highlighted the achievements of young people who, with a little help from the United States Mission to Pakistan, have overcome significant challenges to realize better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities. The videos will air on television throughout October.

Meanwhile, on the eve of World Teachers’ Day, 28 educators from across Pakistan were honored yesterday with “Best Teacher Awards” by the Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Training and the U.S. Mission Pakistan for the improvements they have made inside their classrooms. 

The teachers implemented new methodologies of teaching reading to students and gauging how well their students were progressing, with an aim toward improving literacy in Pakistan.

 The Best Teacher Award recipients were nominated by their provincial education departments based on their participation in professional development workshops, the degree to which they improved their teaching methods in their classrooms, and, most importantly, on their students’ ability to achieve.

 Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training, lauded the efforts of the thousands of early grade reading teachers who play an integral role in improving the overall quality of primary education in the country.

Speaking for US Mission Pakistan, US AID Mission Director Jerry Bisson noted that the program enhanced more than just the students’ ability to read. “When we improve the quality of education and broaden access to it, we improve many other aspects of students’ and the nation’s well-being,” he stated.

 The US government-funded Pakistan Reading Project has already trained over 23,600 public school teachers, who, in turn, have used the techniques learned to teach reading to over 1.3 million first and second grade students.