Ken LeBlond

Ken LeBlond

The author is the marketing communications manager at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. He tweets at @kleblond (twitter.com/kleblond).

A tale from a state of COVID-19 emergency

It was the day before our departure from Boston, Massachusetts to Islamabad. Local, regional and national concerns about international travel and COVID-19 had been increased for a few weeks but we were doing our due diligence. Our travel group leader had checked with his contact at the Unites States (US) Department of State and we received the go-ahead. Next, he checked with the US Embassy Islamabad and got the “green light” for our arrival. Lastly, all of our travellers’ immediate family members, while having predictable reservations about long distance travel to what they considered an ‘unstable region’, approved of ...

Read Full Post

Connecting bridges and spreading the colours of Pakistan to America

When I first invited Karachi-based truck art group ‘Phool Patti’ to my small, New England town, my intentions were clear: to introduce my community to a softer side of Pakistan, which was still unfamiliar to many. However, the ensuing art project also became a liaison between overseas Pakistanis and their native home. Back in early 2017, through an introductory meet up arranged by the US Consulate General Karachi, I met the Phool Patti artists during a visit to Pakistan. I learnt that although Phool Patti is primarily a commercial truck art business, they are also dedicated cultural diplomats of that sort. They ...

Read Full Post