Sat, Aug

Fulbright scholarships for Afghans increased by 50pc


fullbrightThe United States on Tuesday announced increasing Fulbright scholarships for Afghanistan by 50 percent over the next five years.

The announcement in this regard was made by President Barack Obama during a meeting with his visiting Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani.

In a joint statement, Obama noted the significant impact that educational and cultural exchanges have had on Afghan and American society and reiterated US commitment to promoting such programmes.

"Obama announced the US intention to increase the number of Fulbright fellowships available to qualified Afghan students by 50 percent for the next five years, making this one of the largest programmes in the world," the joint statement said.

He also announced the establishment of a $18 million scholarship programme to support women attending universities throughout Afghanistan.

The presidents also welcomed the decision of the Smithsonian Institution to host a major exhibition of contemporary Afghan handicrafts in 2016.

Obama and Ghani acknowledged the significant challenges Afghanistan was facing in overcoming its current budgetary gap and becoming self-reliant.

Ghani admitted Afghanistan continued to face formidable challenges, including the need to root out corruption and strengthen good governance, build the foundation for sustainable and inclusive economic growth, increase regional connectivity, and address illicit drug production.

In support of these efforts, Obama and Ghani announced a New Development Partnership that would focus up to $D800 million in US economic assistance on urgent Afghan priorities tied to achievements of specific development results.

The presidents welcomed the decision to resume regular meetings of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council and the agreement to expand capacity-building cooperation.