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Pakistan Exchange Program for Female Scholars

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Program Description

In collaboration with the United States Consulate General in Lahore, Pakistan, the Visiting International Professional Program at Michigan State University (MSU), U.S. is offering a two-week exchange program for female ulemas from Punjab to learn about best practices on inter-faith harmony for community and peace building. The goal of the exchange program is to forge deep understanding of the role of faith centers in the U.S. society and the role as a leader in religious institutions and communities, which shall encourage the participants to reflect on their own leadership in their community. The selected candidates are expected to take back some of the best practices of peace and community building through inter-faith initiatives to their organization and community.

The two-week program will take the selected ulemas scholars to Michigan, Houston, and Washington D.C. The trip is tentatively planned to take place in April 2022 (final dates to be determined depending on the global pandemic situation.)

Read about the scholars' experiences during the exchange program

Meet the Scholars

After receiving over seventy applications and many interviews, we were excited to select excellent candidates who will bring richness and diversity of expertise and experiences from Punjab. Learn about the scholars below. We hope to feature more about their stories when they arrive in the U.S. in April 2022.

Sultan.pngSarwat Sultan

Chairperson of the Department of Applied Psychology at Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan

Dr. Sarwat Sultan is currently working as Chairperson and Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Punjab, Pakistan. She earned her PhD in Applied Psychology in 2009, completed one post doctorate from Curtin University, Perth, Australia in 2013 and is pursuing a second from Essex University UK. Dr. Sultan has served in the Department of Applied Psychology, Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan-Pakistan for the last 20 years. She has contributed more than 100 research papers in national and international journals, presented more than 100 papers in national and international conferences, and has supervised over 300 dissertations. Dr. Sultan has a book published in Germany to her credit, and is a regular member of American Psychological Association. At present she is also working as the Vice President of the Pakistan Psychological Association.


Sagila Kousor

Associate Professor of Department of Islamic Studies at the Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Pakistan

Dr. Sagila Kousor is from Bahawalpur, Punjab, Pakistan. She is currently the Associate Professor in the Department of Islamic Studies at the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB). She has published 31 research papers in HEC recognized National and International journals. Additionally, Dr. Kousor has been ISA (In charge Students Affairs) of her department since 2006, and she has also been co-coordinator and in charge of examinations of BS, MPhil & PhD Programs. Dr. Kousor completed her BA in 2003, MA in Islamic Studies in 2005, MPhil in Islamic Studies in 2010 and PhD in Islamic Studies in 2016 from the Islamia University of Bahawalpur. She was awarded HEC Indigenous scholarship for PhD.

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Maria Abbas

Teacher at Madrasah Khair-ul-Huda, Multan, Pakistan

Ms. Maria Abbas is a Madrasah (Islamic Seminary) teacher and Islamic Scholar from Multan, Punjab, Pakistan. She was selected as a teacher in the Government Education Sector. Ms. Abbas is also an active member of World Council of Religions (WCR) and the coordinator of its Women wing. WCR is an interfaith peace-building organization working to promote intra/inter-faith tolerance, peace, harmony and justice for all. She is actively involved in various intra & inter-faith peace-building activities at the grassroots level in Multan. Ms. Abbas has a Master’s degree in Islamic Studies from Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Bachelor in Education – B.Ed. from Education University Lahore, and Master in Education – M.Ed. from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad. She later received an M.Phil. degree from Women University Multan. She is currently a Ph.D. scholar at Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan at its Islamic Studies Department.


Sidra Rasool

Lecturer at Lahore College for Women University, and Chairperson of Serving Spirits, Lahore, Pakistan

Dr. Sidra Rasool is a Lecturer at the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Dr. Rasool is also running an organization, Serving Spirits, which aims to serve humanity for issues in women rights, children's rights, and on environment and climate. Before joining LCWU, Dr. Rasool had worked as Lecturer at the University of Management and Technology, the University of Lahore, and University of the Punjab in the Department of Geology, College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Applied Psychology. She also worked as a Principal at Dar-e-Arqam School. Dr. Rasool received her PhD in Islamic Studies from the Institute of Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre at University of the Punjab.

Program Contact Information

Lynn Zhou, Program Coordinator

Visiting International Professional Program (VIPP)

Michigan State University                                                                                                          




Download the Program Flyer(PDF)

Click Here for Urdu Translation (PDF)


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This exchange program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State 
and administered by Michigan State University.