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Students turn ambassadors

Feb 14 2004

By Dave Black, The Journal


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 return."


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- It seems barely credible that crematoria could - in just a few years if we do nothing about it - become a bigger source of heavy metal pollution than some industrial processes.

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