On 10th March 2017, a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been inked between the two countries, Pakistan and USA, to establish Lahore and Austin as ‘Science Cities’. The Chairman of Punjab IT Board, Dr. Umar Saif and the Mayor of Austin, Mr. Steve Adler represented Pakistan and USA respectively at the time of signing the memorandum.
The collaboration between Lahore and Austin will enable both cities to work mutually for the formation and elevation of combined resources to empower and strengthen budding and aspiring entrepreneurs, both small and mid-sized companies to export to or import from the partner community. It is significant to mention here that from the platform of Plan9, a successful entrepreneur exchange programme ATX+PAK Launch is already in full swing.
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In addition, the agreement will also assist by forming B2B meetings or networks. It will include acceleration, exchanges of knowledge, high-quality practices in business incubation and video conferencing.
Dr. Umar Saif and his Official Visit to USA
Also the Vice Chancellor of Information Technology University (ITU) Punjab, Umar Saif is currently on an official tour to USA. He has met senior US officials, high dignitaries, academia besides meeting with the Mayor of Austin. During his visit, he discussed several flagship programs of PITB’s including:
- Digital Inclusion
- Smart Transport Solution
- Wi-Fi hotspots
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While presenting a brief overview of the agreement, Dr. Umar Saif stated:
“Under the MOU it is agreed to cooperate in the initiatives like organizing bi-lateral trade, economic development, and exchange missions to each city. Promotion of capital exchange and investment, development of joint educational programs and exchange opportunities between Austin universities and ITU will enable both sides to prepare students for the future”
Speaking about number of other salient features of the MOU, he included development of business-focused cultural exchange projects between the creative industry sub-sectors of both Lahore and Austin, broker international relationships between individuals and organizations within the areas of:
- Innovative high-technology
- Advanced manufacturing
- Creative industries
- Professional services
- Other industry sectors identified for economic development
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Dr. Umar further added:
“Linkage of the financial and investment sectors in an effort to promote foreign direct investment in both communities, expansion of workforce development and education opportunities for the next generation of employees in the high-technology, creative industry, and rapid growth employment sectors, including programs focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) are the other important aspects of the MOU”
Dr. Umar Saif has also extended an invitation to the Mayor of Austin, Steve Adler, to visit Lahore in near future.