Talented students at a Northumberland
school are preparing to become young ambassadors for Britain thanks
to success in a national competition to win a trip to Pakistan.
Five pupils from Ponteland Community
High School will be setting off in April on a 10-day expedition as
part of a project to counteract Pakistan's negative image as a
country plagued by terrorism and assassinations.
The school is one of a number of
across the UK which will be sending students to Pakistan after
impressing judges with their work in this year's annual Experience
Pakistan Project, which was launched in 2001.
Ponteland High year 10 geography
students Charles Dickinson, Michael Skelly, Martin Spurr, Philip
Overbury and David Hindle researched the issue of diversity and
unity in Pakistan and outlined their findings to a panel of judges
in a 15-minute multi-media presentation.
On Thursday they, and the five other
winning school teams, travelled to London for a tour of the Houses
of Parliament and gave a presentation of their work to Lord
Weatherall in the House of Lords.
The trip to Pakistan, which starts on
April 1, will take in Islamabad, the historic Khyber Pass and scenic
Swat Valley, the Himalayas, Lahore, a number of architectural sites
and visits to local schools.
The Experience Pakistan Project aims
to generate interest in the country and improve understanding,
tolerance and harmony among the youth of multi-ethnic Britain
towards the land and its people.
The project is sponsored by the Akhter
Education Trust, a subsidiary of the Akhter Computers company.
Students who win the trip to Pakistan
are regarded as ambassadors for Britain when they head out and as
ambassadors for Pakistan when they return.
Yesterday Michael Skelly said: "The
trip to Pakistan will be fantastic because we will be doing things
like meeting the PM and President and taking a flight in a Hercules,
which you could not do if you had £1m to spend.
"There are lots of popular
misconceptions about what sort of country Pakistan is, and we are
looking forward to helping change a lot of people's views when we