Dr. Arshad Bashir's Profile

Dr. Arshad Bashir was the first Fulbright Scholar in doctoral program in Reich College of Education, Appalachian State University. He has successfully completed his degree in 2013, and was awarded the ASU Outstanding Graduate Student Service Award, the highest university recognition of graduate student service. One of the major aims of the Fulbright Program is to enhance international understanding. Dr. Bashir, a native of Pakistan, has addressed and achieved that aim with the highest distinction during his four years at Appalachian. Dr. Bashir propelled by the support and welcome the experienced in doing his work, led an effort to seek funding for a live exchange for students and teachers between schools in the U.S. and Pakistan. The result was the U.S.-Pakistan Educational and Cultural Exchange Program that received an award of about one million U.S. dollars from the U.S. Department of State. To date over 100 students and faculty from both countries have participated in these exchanges. The response to these trips and exchanges by the participants and the hundreds of others whom they met both U.S. and in Pakistan has been overwhelmingly positive. Dr. Bashir is currently developing programs of International Collaborations & Academic Linkages at University of Central Asia and Pakistan, Higher Education Commission, Islamabad.

Abstract

Mending the Trust: Friendships That Change Lives

I was very tentative to go to the U.S. when I received a Fulbright scholarship, primarily because I have never been abroad for such a long time and secondly because of negative perceptions that we have in our society about the western world. Despite all these perceptions I challenged myself and decided to go. In a very short period, I learned that most of the things I read in newspapers, and watched on media were incorrect. I learned that there is no right or wrong, it’s a different way of doing the same thing in a different culture. I decided to extend my learning experience to the younger people in the U.S. and Pakistan. Being an educator, I always believe that school children and young people are the best age group to help them address their stereotypes and improve perceptions about each other. We started with an online collaboration, and later it was transformed into a face-to-face interaction when we received multiple grants from the U.S. Embassy. The project has created a deep impact in both communities, recognized by the U.S. Department of States, the U.S. Embassy, and the Appalachian community. The project resulted in narrowing the gap between peoples living in two different geographical areas of the world.

The bilateral exchange of more than 130 people resulted in strengthening relationship between communities in both countries. Participants stayed with the U.S. and Pakistani families, resulted in deeper understanding of each other’s culture. Inclusion of FATA/Baluchistan students brought a unique diversity in the project. Participants experienced the rich cultures as a virtue of which they developed better understanding of people. These visits changed the way people think about each other and improve their perception on issues of mutual interest, and dispel or clarify stereotypes and myths about each other.


Dr. Arshad Bashir
Assistant Professor
COMSATS Institute of Information Technology

Fulbright PhD
2009-2013
Appalachian State University

 

 

 

 
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