The Ambassador to Pakistan, Ayesha Ali, emphasized the importance of relations between Pakistan and Czechia while visiting AAU, highlighting that students are a vital part of this process, from student exchanges to tourism. 

Photo via: AAU Flickr

Ali advocated for her country and the need for increased trade, business relations, and cultural ties with the West and Europe, specifically the Czech Republic.

“The relationship with the West was crucial for Pakistan,” said Ali when discussing the history of Pakistan and their efforts to help the US with the war on terror. 

Exemplifying how Czechia and Pakistan have long been linked, Ali reminisces about how she would walk to school wearing Bata shoes: “I never knew one day I would come to this country as the ambassador.” 

Ali pointed to the positive relationship between the Czech Republic and Pakistan while acknowledging the need to enhance mutual understanding of their respective cultures and ways of life. With differing cuisines, art, music, and religions, both countries have much to learn and appreciate about each other.

Photo via: AAU Flickr

“This is an opportunity to inform people about the potential of education, tourism, and diplomatic relations between the West and Pakistan,” said intermediary Gerald Power when discussing the importance of the visit from Ali.

Ali explained the pivotal role of study abroad programs in fostering appreciation and understanding of other countries. 

Power emphasized this by saying: “A lot of us might have a superficial idea about what the country is and what it is all about…Pakistan is a mature democracy which is open to exchanges and is a contributing, positive member of the international community.”

Nestled in a geopolitically locked location, Pakistan, bordered by countries like India, Iran, and Afghanistan has successfully fostered trade and economic relations that extend beyond politics into cultural exchanges in the West.

“Pakistan has stood up for the principles of democracy and human rights,” said Ali, again mentioning their allyship in the War on Terror, “Our policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all of the world.” 

Ali’s visit to AAU went beyond informing students about relations between Pakistan and Europe; it also allowed students to experience international relations on a first-hand basis. Power, who made this event possible, spoke of the importance of taking international relations away from the textbook to watch it play out in front of you.

Photo via: AAU Flickr

“The conditions when we meet an ambassador are different from when we have a free discussion about any country’s foreign policy or place in the world with our instructor or with a group of colleagues in the café,” said Power.

Ali’s visit wasn’t the first of its kind, and, according to Power, it will not be the last. With aspirations to possibly welcome an ambassador from Africa in the next semester, AAU students can anticipate another chance to engage with a diplomat, enhancing their political skills.

Ali ended by advocating for her country by featuring the richness Pakistan has to offer: “culture and tourism and the wonderful hospitality”—that can bridge gaps and strengthen connections between nations.