A delegation comprising members of the California State Assembly visited Government College University (GCU) Lahore on Wednesday where they met with students and heads of universities in Punjab.
Led by California Legislative Assembly Appropriations Committee Head Chris R Holden, the delegation addressed a session on educational collaborations between universities in Punjab and California.
During the session, GCU Lahore Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Asghar Zaidi proposed the establishment of an American Studies Center at GCU Lahore for effective coordination with Californian universities and the initiation of Joint Undergraduate Degree Programs. The Undergraduate programs would involve completing the first two years of education at universities in Punjab, followed by travel and studies at universities in California.
Prof. Zaidi identified areas of mutual interest for collaboration and stressed the importance of initiating student exchange and faculty training programs. He explained that mutually beneficial educational exchanges would lead to a lasting and productive partnership between universities.
The VC informed the US delegation that Punjab has 51 public and 33 private universities with 500,000 students, and more than one million students are studying in 810 government and 1832 private colleges in the province.
During the session, California Legislative Assembly member Eloise Gomez Reyes appreciated the idea of joint degree programs and collaboration in oriental languages teaching for US students. She shared that the girl who has been running her office for the last six years is from Pakistan, and she is now her district director and often tries to teach her words in Urdu.
Dr. Asif Mahmood, a renowned pulmonologist and doctor of internal medicine of Pakistani origin residing in California, expressed happiness at the declaration of Punjab and California as "sister states," saying that they would strengthen this Punjab-California collaboration in every possible field. He also shared that it was his dream to study at GCU Lahore, which unfortunately couldn't be materialized.
The Californian delegation included Melanie Caldwell Holden, Wendy Carrillo, Anna Goddard, Willie Armstrong, Alice Gomez Reyes, Christopher Reyes, Michael Max, Mike A. Jepsen, Adriel Yang, and others who were accorded a warm welcome by students upon their arrival at GCU.