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The Emerging Leaders of Pakistan Fellowship Program seeks to empower the next generation of Pakistan’s leaders. The program identifies, cultivates, and supports young people in Pakistan who have the potential of becoming future leaders by providing resources to strengthen their engagement within civil society. Each year, fifteen young leaders from Pakistan visit the United States to meet with policymakers, community leaders, diaspora communities, entrepreneurs, and regional experts, among others.  An online forum facilitates continued idea exchange among participants and with the broader community in Pakistan, the region, and the world.

The program aims to:

  • Build a network of young Pakistani leaders to facilitate idea exchange and forge long-term collaborative relationships.
  • Develop Fellows’ leadership and practical skills through meetings with policymakers, civil society leaders, entrepreneurs, and others, and learn best practices to adapt to their own context in Pakistan.
  • Share experiences, knowledge, and recommendations with stakeholders on the future of Pakistan and key issues affecting young people in the country.
  • Strengthen ties between the United States and Pakistan by addressing misperceptions on both sides of the bilateral relationship

About the Fellows

Each year, we select fifteen dynamic civil society leaders through a highly competitive application process. The fifteen embody Pakistan’s ethnic, religious, and geographic diversity.  They are social entrepreneurs, artists, educators, storytellers, minority rights activists, interfaith interlocutors, aspiring politicians, and tech innovators who are working to solve some of Pakistan’s most pressing challenges. They are committed to their communities and country, and represent a broad cross-section of Pakistani society.  Fellows must be between the ages of 18-30 with no previous travel to the West (North America or Europe).

Meet our 2012 Fellows.

Meet our 2013 Fellows.

Meet our 2014 Fellows.

Meet our 2015 Fellows.

About the Fellowship

The ELP Fellowship is a long-term engagement with the ELP cohort and the Atlantic Council, which launches with a 3-week study visit to the United States and continues with collaboration between fellows and annual events in Pakistan. The Fellowship blends opportunities for personal development while providing young Pakistani leaders the chance to build collaborative relationships with each other and the individuals they meet while in the United States. ELP Fellows also receive long-term mentoring and support from the Atlantic Council and partner organizations based in Pakistan.

During the US visit, Fellowship classes visit four parts of the country: New York City, Washington DC, the San Francisco Bay Area, and one city in the Midwest region.

New York City
Fellows visit media agencies, philanthropic and grassroots organizations. Past meetings have included:

• New York Taxi Workers Alliance
• DoSomething.org
• New York Times
• NBC / Rockefeller Center
• Buzzfeed
• Open Society Foundations
• United Nations Development Fund
• Princeton University
• Metropolitan Museum of Art
• Acumen Fund
• Broadway Show

Washington DC
Fellows met with government agencies and think tanks to discuss US policy, US-Pakistan relations, and various US efforts on Pakistan. Past meetings have included:

• US Department of Defense / Pentagon
• US Department of State
• US Capitol Hill Staffers / US Capitol
• National Security Council
• Embassy of Pakistan
• US Agency for International Development
• Library of Congress
• National Endowment of Democracy
• United States Institute of Peace
• DC Parks and People and Green Corps
• National Public Radio / Steve Inskeep
• Former US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

Fellows experience home hospitality and American life by staying with a host family. Previous cities included: Kansas City, Missouri; Atlanta, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan; and Austin, Texas.

San Francisco Bay
Fellows engage with entrepreneurs from the tech and startup industry, as well as members of the arts and academic community. Past meetings have included:

• Former Secretary of State George Schultz / Stanford University
• Synagogue: Congregation Emanu-El
• KIPP Charter Schools
• Skoll Foundation
• Ploughshares Fund
• San Francisco LGBT Community Center
• Uber
• Facebook
• Pinterest
• Storify
• Social Imprints
• Square

Following the US visit, fellows utilize their new networks and resources expand their own movements in Pakistan. Fellows are expected to participate in post-US visit activities in Pakistan, including, but not limited to, speaking at public events, writing articles/blogs, and mentoring future ELP participants.

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This project is funded by the US Embassy Islamabad’s Community Engagement Office and executed by the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center.  Youth Engagement Services (YES) Network Pakistan is an on-the-ground partner in Pakistan and the Hashoo Group provides in-kind support.

Our sincerest thanks to the Carnegie Corporation of New York for their initial support of this program and Meridian International Center for previously serving as an implementing partner.

To explore partnership opportunities, contact Nazia Khan at nkhan@atlanticcouncil.org