Islamabad, April 18, 2012: The Pul e Jawan Country Forum in Pakistan ended with a roaring success after trending two consecutive days on Twitterverse in Pakistan and much needed social media buzz on peace and security in Afghanistan-Pakistan-India region. Attended by 48 young journalists, youth leaders, social media enthusiasts, geeks and human rights defenders, the forum was organized by Bytes for All, Pakistan on 11-12 April 2012 in Islamabad.
Pakistan, India and Afghanistan have a complicated relationship with each other and this makes it complex for their youth to connect and share ideas and aspirations. Afghanistan, in particular, has been wracked with wars for the better part of three decades, while Pakistan has begun to feel the effects of a nightmarish era of terrorism and extremism for the past decade. These factors make it more important to have a common platform for the youth of all three countries to connect and conceptualize, why and how these countries should resolve their issues and make way for regional peace and socio-economic prosperity.
In current times, social media platforms present an excellent opportunity to realize above mentioned goals. Pul e Jawan aims to use social media & technology; to provide the much needed platform for the youth of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan and bring them together for regional peace and well being of common people.
Organization of this country forum was participatory and process led, which was dealt by leading social media enthusiasts and activists in Pakistan. This eminent group was responsible to help put this event together, by helping with the call for participation, selection of participants, developing an effective result oriented agenda, and logistical support.
The forum successfully provided a prominent group of activists, journalists, and social media influencers in the country, the opportunity to network, share ideas, and connect with each other's secondary network for the enhancement and progress of their own causes, initiatives, and projects. That said, with firm believe that social media is an enabling tool to organize people, but without on-ground action to create a physical bond and concrete steps towards peace with people of all three countries, none of the stated goals can be achieved. The Country Forum in Islamabad was the first step towards achieving that physical bond between the youth in the region.
While developing the agenda for the forum, the most important consideration was to keep all the sessions interactive and participatory. The distinguished speakers at the Country Forum (in order of sessions as per agenda) included Mosharraf Zaidi, Policy Advisor to the Foreign Minister, Government of Pakistan; Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa, Eminent Scholar and Academician; Nadia Naviwala, Country Representative, United States Institute of Peace; Danny Cutherall, Policy Analyst at the Center for Global Development; Awais Khan - President and CEO, American Pakistan Foundation; Nabiha Meher Sheikh, Scholar & Teacher on Critical Thinking & Bushra Gohar, Member National Assembly of Pakistan.
Forum participants shared multiple projects, campaigns and ideas to resolve security issues and conflicts, and to streamline outreach for prosperity in the region. A radically important outcome of the project has been its ability to present a unique regional platform and direction for several future development initiatives aimed towards resolution of many significant issues discussed and raised by Pul e Jawan participants.
This Country Forum was meant to celebrate the diversity in Pakistan and managed to gather a significant group of individuals from not only different fields of professional practices but also in terms of geography, ethnicity and religious divisions. A number of participants belonged to far flung and volatile war or affliction struck areas of the country such as Waziristan, Tharparkar, Buner, Gilgit, Diamer, Swat, Peshawar, and Quetta.
Pul e Jawan effectively helped these people amplify the voices of their communities to a larger group of influencers in an effective manner. Many current issues like Siachen tragedy, India-Pakistan peace process, Af-Pak relationship, Visa relaxation between India and Pakistan and importance of education to achieve peace and prosperity were discussed at the event.
The forum also managed to provide these leading social media enthusiasts in the country with much needed trainings on Critical Thinking and Digital Security; two most important circles of skills with which accomplishing human rights objectives can be made easier and more effective in complicated, repressive environments such as Pakistan.
The Country Forum ended with the resolve to continue working with hope for positive socio-economic developments and sustainable peace and security that future holds for all of us in the region.
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Pakistan Country Forum Website
Pul e Jawan Regional Website
Note to Editors:
About Bytes for All, Pakistan
Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan is a human rights organization and a network of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals and practitioners. It experiments and organizes debate on the relevance of ICTs for sustainable development and strengthening social justice movements in the country. Its mission is “ICTs for development, democracy and social justice”. www.bytesforall.pk
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