U.S. Embassy Islamabad and the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) hosted the premiere of the short film “Art for Social Change,” which documents the experiences of 14 Pakistani artists on an exchange program to the United States, on January 24 at the Serena Hotel in Islamabad. The 14 artists represent a larger group of emerging artists whose work appeared in the “Pakistani Voices” exhibit at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.
“The artists used a silent yet powerful medium to share their culture with an American audience, to engage in a cultural dialogue,” said U.S. Embassy Minister Counselor for Public Affairs Peter Brennan at the premiere. “All the artists whose work was selected for this exhibit are to be commended for their fearlessness in calling attention to the struggles of everyday people, and highlighting critical new ways of thinking.”
While in the United States, the participants collaborated with U.S. art activists, engaged in community art projects, and explored ways to use their art to promote key social issues in their communities.
“Not only did the artists have the chance to learn about U.S. arts culture, they also met with local counterparts to learn how to transform an idea for social change into a community art project,” explained Assistant Cultural Affairs Attaché Jen McAndrew. “We hope this exchange will give the artists the tools to use their art to make a positive impact in their communities back in Pakistan.”
The U.S. government invests nearly $40 million annually on exchange programs for Pakistani citizens. More than 1,200 Pakistanis participate in the various high school, undergraduate, graduate, and professional U.S.-sponsored exchange programs each year. As a result, the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network is one of the largest U.S. alumni networks in the world. Consisting of more than 13,0000 students and professionals who have participated in U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs, PUAN organizes a number of events in Pakistan, including community service projects, leadership trainings, roundtable discussions, and community engagement activities.