The Embassy of Pakistan Washington DC has launched a major public diplomacy initiative named 'Pakistan Embassy Forum'. The inaugural session of the Forum was hosted by the Embassy today that deliberated upon the 'Energy Situation in Pakistan'. The session was attended by participants from think tanks, academia, U.S. Government departments, World Bank, IMF, private sector energy companies and notables of Pakistani-American diaspora.
Mr. Ziad Alahdad, leading energy expert and the former Director of World Bank and Mr. Shahid Javed Burki, the eminent economist, who is currently associated with Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC, led the discussion. Mr. Ziad Alahdad presented a paper highlighting various dimensions of Pakistan's energy sector and its challenges.
In his opening remarks Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani described the objective of the establishment of the Forum. He said that instead of a defensive or reactive approach the Embassy was adopting a proactive approach to provide avenues of engagement on public policy matters in the national and regional context. He expressed hope that the debates held under the Forum would help counter negative portrayal of Pakistan in the public domain through sustained engagement with experts and policy community with a veracity of perspectives.
Ambassador Jilani also noted that the Embassy Forum would also build up a resource base in the form of pools of experts to project and promote our policies in the positive light. It also expected to expand the circle of friends of Pakistan by adopting an inclusive approach, through listening to sane voices and blunting the negative stream of information. Through this initiative the Embassy intends to institutionalize linkages between experts, academicians, and scholars in Pakistan and the U.S.
The Embassy plans to host a series of events under the umbrella of Pakistan Embassy Forum on different issues including economy, health, education, water, extremism, etc. in which experts from both United States and Pakistan would be invited to participate.
The initiative would help initiate and sustain a Pakistan-specific positive discourse in the United States. It is also geared to conveying and building Pakistan's image as a country open to debate and constructive engagement on issues of interest and import.
The participants of the Forum took keen interest in the discussion and appreciated the Embassy's openness to debate, that highlighted the transparency in governance policies.
The initiative is part of Embassy's efforts to enhance people-to-people ties between Pakistan and the United States, as agreed between the leadership of two countries at the highest level.
Pakistan Embassy plans to host the next session of the Forum in January, 2017.
Source: The Embassy of Pakistan Washington DC