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US academic all praise for Pakistani students

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By Zaheer Mahmood Siddiqui

LAHORE, An American professor has a dream to simultaneously hold journalism classes for Pakistani and the US students.

“Pakistani students are well informed, dedicated and hard working. I see proudly at young journalists of Pakistan. We should try to do some projects together. I don’t know how it is going to work but I have an idea of holding journalism classes through video conferencing,” Prof Sherry Ricchiardi of Indiana University School of Journalism told Dawn here.

Ms Sherry and her husband, Frank S. Folwell, director of photography at US Today, are on a visit to Pakistan to hold workshops and seminars on journalism in public and private universities.

“The Pakistani youths are very open and sharing. I met almost 60 to 80 in Islamabad; someone was covering human and women rights, someone was covering domestic violence, etc. A couple of guys asked credibly good questions. During that interaction and the one at Safma office in Lahore, I met many youth for five minutes or so, but it seemed we knew each other for ever. I am getting many e-mails from a couple of them. Wherever we go, there is a connection with us and it has been great here again,” said Ms Sherry who had been to Pakistan some three decades ago along with Frank.

“We were here as journalists as well as travellers during pre-Russia era. We just came here on our own as we wanted to see this part of the world. We had landed in Lahore, flew to Rawalpindi and then to Kabul,” recalled Frank and added they were fascinated by this part of the world after driving back from Kabul to Rawalpindi through Khyber Pass.

The couple found no change in the attitude of the general public here towards foreigners. “One day walking on a sideway, I felt dizzy and sat on the ground. A woman came out of nowhere, took us to her home and offered all sort of help. It was a nice moment,” said Sherry.

However, there were not much women in the profession of journalism or Sherry could not found them during her maiden visit to Pakistan. “Now, a number of young women I met told me that they are coming into mainstream journalism,” she said.

“New technology is amazing for journalists,” said Sherry but was interrupted by Frank: “She has been the last person to go for computer.”