Friend or Foe: Establishing a Relationship with Pakistan Through Education

“People in the United States like to view countries as either friends or enemies, such as England being a friend and Russia being an enemy. This is a black-and-white type of thinking. England is a friend; we get along with them. Russia is an enemy because they invade Ukraine. It is simple and easy for Americans to categorize relationships this way. ”- Dr. Steven Hall 

Dr. Steven Hall Staff Portrait

A Golden Opportunity

Dr. Hall was sponsored by the US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan to speak at a conference titled, “Seventy-Five Years of U.S.-Pakistan Relations.” This five-day conference focused on the United States’ (U.S.) and Pakistan’s mutual relationship. The trip to Pakistan started on September 15 with a long 24 hours of airport hopping and flight time. Upon arrival in Islamabad, Dr. Hall could not go out without being cautious of his safety. Pakistan is a level 3 country, which means to reconsider travel, due to terrorism and sectarian violence.

The Culture of U.S. Foreign Aid to Pakistan

The U.S. and Pakistan currently have a bilateral relationship. that has experienced ebbs and flows for many reasons, one of which being a territorial dispute between Pakistan and India. Throughout that dispute, the U.S. has taken different stances, leading to an ambiguous understanding of U.S. foreign policy on this issue. Dr. Hall claims, “You have subgroups that question U.S. foreign policy and at the same time also desperately want to come to America to study.” It is an exceedingly tricky situation. Therefore Dr. Hall says, “The people of Pakistan desperately seek to understand U.S. foreign policy. They are confused about whether the U.S. is a friend or foe.” Through exchange student programs and conferences like this one, Dr. Hall hopes to create a positive view of Ball State University and, by extension, the U.S.

“The purpose of this trip is to establish long-lasting connections,” says Dr. Hall

Taking the time to focus on the commonalities between both countries and an appreciation for each other’s cultures will improve the relationship. By participating in this conference and continuing this relationship, Dr. Hall is helping to create a dialogue between academics in the two countries, that could potentially strengthen international relations.

Dr. Hall joined the Political Science Department in the Fall of 2005. His teaching focuses on international relations and methods. His research focuses primarily on international political economy, economic development, and capital flows.

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