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Impressions from Pakistan

Posted By Guy Pfeffermann, Monday, November 02, 2009
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013

GBSN CEO Guy Pfeffermann recently returned from a trip to Pakistan, meeting with program partners and exploring new opportunities. His impressions:

Guy PfeffermannI returned to Pakistan after 6 years' absence, staying in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. I met many Pakistani friends and also officials, Pakistani and American. I read all major daily newspapers.

What has changed? On the positive side of the ledger, roads are far better now. A lot of investment has taken place and the results are visible, both between major cities and in and around cities. There are also far more cars, suggesting a healthy growth of the middle class, as well as a source of industrial development. I also believe that local civil society is much stronger than it used to be, and operating in far more areas of need, including for example combating child abuse.

On the negative side, the obvious. The country is in a state of war. The day after I arrived in the capital, Islamabad, suicide bombers attacked an Islamic university there, killing several women students. Later that week and the next a top general was assassinated and another barely escaped the same fate. All schools and universities were shut down for a week throughout the country.

There may be a silver lining. While the political leadership seemed to carry on in a "life-as-usual" mode, none of the the top politicians being seen comforting families of victims, I got a sense that middle classes are finally facing up to the seriousness of the situation, backing the government in its drive against extremists.

I also picked up a consensus view that over these past 20 or 30 years leadership had eroded across the board, and that high-quality leadership training was of the utmost importance in moving forward. Therefore a potentially very positive development is that foreign aid has become available for higher education, when for at least twenty years or so, universities received little support.

Thanks to its strong relationships with relevant Pakistani educational institutions and field experience, GBSN stands ready to do its part in helping rekindle excellence in leadership and management education.

 

A photo sample from the trip: 

 

 

Guy Pfeffermann is the CEO and founder of the Global Business School Network.

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