Ms. Kanwal Ali's Profile
Kanwal Ali is a very accomplished officer from the Pakistan Customs Service. She has qualified the CSS exam and holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from University of Punjab and an MBA from Institute of Business Administration, Karachi. In 2012, she was nominated as an exchange visitor on International Visitors Leadership Program by the US Department of State. Later, she was awarded the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship for the year 2014-15. She successfully completed her fellowship in public policy analysis at the University of Washington.
In 2013, she was recognized as the ‘The Best Customs Officer’ for her outstanding performance. She has also administered key assignments in KPK as the first female officer from Pakistan Customs. She has volunteered at orphanages and child protection centers in Pakistan and with the International Rescue Committee (U.S.). She has a passion for community development through the spirit of volunteerism.
She will share an inspiring story of how she became a bridge between Pakistanis and Americans. Her story begins on Valentine’s Day in America, when lonely and depressed, she ended up helping a homeless American sell Pakistani jewelry and earn an air ticket to San Francisco. Her mentor and Professor at University of Washington, Dorothy greatly appreciated her gesture and encouraged her to share her initiative with other students at the campus. In the days to follow, Dorothy and Kanwal’s friendship brought about a small change in many impoverished Pakistanis.
During a massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan, leaving hundreds poor and homeless, Dorothy’s philanthropy and obvious affection for Kanwal compelled her to send money to victims of the earthquake. Kanwal distributed the envelopes of cash that Dorothy sent to victims in far flung areas of Pakistan. To this day, Dorothy continues to support treatment of two earthquake victims. This is a story of how the Fulbright program creates human bridges, to bring people together in this beautiful way.
Building Bridges: Breaking Out of the Box
Bureaucracy is often termed as rigid, inefficient, insensitive and anti-democratic. It is a giant mechanism that requires many days of work to change a light bulb, let alone change the system. Kanwal and Zainab belong to this bureaucratic world, which has inherited its steel frame from the British Raj’s fabled Indian Service, and were trained for the same. The Fulbright experience was a breakthrough in their personal and professional lives and taught them much to learn, adopt and share not only from the academic life, but also from human interaction and implement the same in their respective departments.
This abstract is a joint submission by panelists, Ms. Kanwal Ali and Ms. Zainab Mahmood.
Ms. Kanwal Ali
Directorate of Training & Research, Lahore
Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship
University of Washington