The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have wrapped up their first full day in Pakistan, focusing on girls and education as well as state matters and celebrating Pakistani culture
Their first full day of engagements was meant to champion “the importance of quality education” and highlight “how girls benefit from pursuing higher education and professional careers,” per Kensington Palace’s Instagram post.
William and Kate started their day at the Islamabad Model College for Girls, where they met with students from age four to 18 to highlight the importance of education for young girls. They also learned more about how the Teach for Pakistan programme is helping students.Embed from Getty Images
Teach for Pakistan aims to find “people with leadership potential and prepare them to build an education movement – starting with students, schools and communities, and growing to engage people and institutions across the social and economic systems,” per the programme’s official website.
An education officer named Mohammed Sohailkhan told reporters, “In recent years there has been gradual progress in understanding how important education is for girls and young women. There is a realization of what it can mean in terms of jobs and prospects.
“I can’t paint you an entirely rosy picture. It does still fluctuate wildly, particularly in rural regions, where there has traditionally been cultural barriers towards this, notably in terms of sending girls away to college. But these barriers are slowly being broken down.”Embed from Getty Images
Teach for Pakistan’s Instagram account posted, “The royal couple participated in our Fellow Pashmina Amjad’s fourth grade math lesson, and spent time talking with students about their experiences.”
One of those students was named Aima, and she told William that she and her classmates were big fans of his late mother Diana, to which the Prine replied, “You were, really? Oh, that’s very sweet of you. I was a big fan of my mother, too.
“She came here three times. I was very small. This is my first time, and it is very nice to be here and meet you all.”
Later, they travelled to the Margalla Hills at the foot of the Himalayas to join schoolchildren from four local schools to join in activities “designed to educate young people on environmental protection and wildlife conservation,” per Kensington Palace.Embed from Getty Images
“This included helping the children identify and remove species of plants that are threatening the natural environment, bird watching, and storytelling on local environment issues.”
The Duke and Duchess then attended meetings with the Prime Minister and President of Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan, a friend of the late Diana, hosted the couple for lunch, which the couple attended after meeting President Arif Alvi.Embed from Getty Images
President Alvi told the couple that he’d seen The Queen during her first visit to Pakistan in 1961, saying, “It was miraculous to see her.”
At their final engagement of the day, William and Kate attended a reception hosted by the British High Commissioner at the Pakistan Monument – a petal-shaped monument that “emphasises the importance of unity and togetherness of the people of Pakistan,” per Wikipedia. The couple arrived via auto-rickshaw.Embed from Getty Images
The reception, meant to honour Pakistani culture, was attended by a host of Pakistani people including prominent business people, artists, musicians, actors and filmmakers and members of the government.
In a speech, William thanked their hosts, saying, “Already, Catherine and I have been honoured by the hospitality you have shown us, and we have certainly managed to make our way through a record-breaking amount of food so generously offered by our hosts….”
“Stood here with this magnificent monument behind me, I am struck by the great strides Pakistan has made since its birth seventy-two years ago.
“The view from this hill would have been quite different when my grandmother, The Queen, first visited over half a century ago.
“Looking out, one would have seen the beginnings of a city under construction, yet to become the great capital that it is today.
“And with successive visits by my mother and my father, this view has continued to change, with the city constantly growing and with it my family’s affection for Pakistan.”Embed from Getty Images
William revealed that, on Wednesday, he and Kate would be visiting places and projects that deal with climate change to see “some of these impacts first hand and meeting some of the communities adjusting to the new realities and new challenges that climate change has brought to their towns and villages. I hope to learn what more we all can do to help prevent and mitigate this impending global catastrophe.”
He wrapped up his speech, saying: “Ladies and gentlemen, given the scale and complexities of the challenges that future generations will face, it is clear that we all need to work together. And whether it’s this generation or the next, I know that the UK and Pakistan will continue to exemplify the very best in international cooperation.
“Yes, the challenges ahead are great. But we cannot be daunted, nor distracted. Instead, we should draw strength from our shared bonds and heed the words of Muhammed Ali Jinnah as we do so, ‘My message to you all’ he said ‘is of hope, courage, and confidence.’”
William’s full speech can be found here.