This Summer 2010 course was developed and delivered jointly by Margaret Ronkin, Fayyaz Baqir, and Nadeem Akbar.
Summer students who enrolled in Justice and Peace in Pakistan participated in videoconferences with development practitioners in Islamabad, Pakistan. Video lectures featured guest leaders, working to reconstruct the frayed Pakistani society.
Trained in research and interviewing, Georgetown students interviewed the guest leaders. Students later used the information to collaborate on projects that move beyond conventional stereotypes. The students, in addition, worked on projects that profiled guest leaders and their involvement in efforts to catalyze human potential in a way that promotes development.
The single most important learning outcome confronted the present-day stereotypes of the Pakistani culture and society. The students found the course informative and thought provoking, while humanizing the region. The students particularly enjoyed the course content, structure, and organization.
Students, in addition, came to learn of the challenges faced by ordinary citizens, in the wake of democratic development. The course content captured Pakistan through a unique lens, providing views that are rarely portrayed in modern media. The course explicitly deconstructed present-day stereotypes with regards to Pakistan.
The course satisfaction and impacts of experience were captured through student feedback. Excerpts of the student feedbackare given below:
“The most meaningful part has been speaking about everyday aspects of life that matter to Pakistanis as much as they do to us. It has been important to experience how everyday things put politics in perspective.”
“My insight into Pakistan was limited to narrow coverage of American media outlets, which almost exclusively concentrate on the region as it relates to U.S. security interests.”
School of Foreign Service Student
In light of the student feedback, a Summer 2011 program on social development in Pakistan is designed and offered by Harvard University, which comprises students from the United States and Pakistan, to encourage a healthy, lively debate. The course will be offered simultaneously at Islamabad and Harvard.
A similar collaboration is also under discussion between Wellesley College, an elite all women institution in United States, and AHKRC.
The Georgetown University Summer program has been publicized and promoted through the joint efforts of the AHKRC and American Institute of Pakistan Studies.