Mock presidential debate and election here at the US Consulate on Tuesday afternoon, with Barack Obama winning re-election by just four votes.
Two students representing Republican candidate Mitt Romney and President Obama debated US foreign policy, relations with Pakistan, the war on terror, and domestic health and tax policies for over half an hour, not long after the American presidential candidates squared off in their final debate many thousands of miles away.
Forty-four students in the consulate’s English Access Microscholarship Programme then cast votes. Mahnoor Sarfaraz, representing Obama, beat Faraz, representing Romney, with 24 of the 44 votes. Lydia Barraza, the information attaché at the US consulate, said the idea of the activity was to expose underprivileged students to the US democratic process.
She said two students from Garhi Shahu were being trained by Cultural Affairs Officer Emilia Adams for the mock presidential debate and election for about a month.
The English Access Microscholarship Programme has 44 students, most of them teenagers in NGO-run schools or government schools in Lahore.
The students are trained in spoken American English after school to give them greater education and career options.
The programme is being conducted by the public affairs section of the US consulate in six cities across Punjab.
Seventeen hundred students are enrolled in the programme.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2012.