Published Date: Nov 24, 2013
SDPI, SFCG arrange ‘National Peace Summit’
In a national show of unity and commitment for bringing sustainable
peace in Pakistan, youth activists, local leaders, politicians and
journalists across Pakistan gathered here on Saturday at a day-long
"National Peace Summit", organised by Search for Common Ground (SFCG)
Pakistan in partnership with Sustainable Development Policy Institute
Senior politicians of mainstream political parties,
inspirational youth leaders, social entrepreneurs, media professionals,
representatives of the civil society, government, international
development community and academia attended the Summit, which showcased
grassroots peace building and conflict transformation initiatives and
experiences undertaken over two years by youth, local leaders and
journalists in all corners of Pakistan under SFCG Pakistan’s Pakistan
Peace Initiative (PPI) and its national peace campaign under the project
entitled "Promoting Dialogue for Peace-building through Media and Youth
Mobilisation in Pakistan," financially supported by the Government of
Guest of honour Ambassador of Denmark to Pakistan, Jesper M
Sorensen, and the chief guest Federal Secretary Information,
Broadcasting and National Heritage, Dr Nazir Saeed, inaugurated the
Summit and also spoke on the occasion.
Ambassador Sorensen stated in his remarks that Denmark fully
supported the Pakistan Peace Initiative and termed it a step in the
right direction. The PPI programme has been a great platform to
sensitise media, youth and local leaders on how to seek the common
ground between one’s own group and another group of people and thereby
build empathy and tolerance and lessen polarisation in society, he said.
Ambassador Sorensen also termed peace as more than the absence
of war. "Peace can only thrive if you have an environment, where there
is coexistence, social justice, hope, imagination and creativity.
Ambassador Sorensen concluded his remarks by emphasising that continued
efforts were necessary to ensure that communities are empowered to
recover and reconcile from the devastating effects of violent conflicts
and to ensure that the effects we see today can be prevented from
becoming tomorrow’s cause of conflicts.
Chief guest Federal Secretary Information, Broadcasting and
National Heritage, Dr Nazir Saeed in his remarks said the government has
launched six youth oriented welfare schemes aimed at channelising and
unleashing the huge potential of our youth for the progress and
development of the country. One of these schemes devised for the
reimbursement of tuition fee of graduates and PhD students from the
areas falling in conflict zones specifically aimed at addressing the
problem of poverty and ignorance.
There is no denying the fact that peace and stability is
directly linked to sustained progress of a nation, the Federal Secretary
remarked. The Summit featured a robust panel discussion with senior
politicians on "2013 Election Manifestos of Major Political Parties and
Focus on Youth", which was participated by Qamar Zaman Kaira (PPP);
Ahmad Jawad (PTI); Senator Haji Adeel (ANP); Ajmal Wazir (PML-Q); Jan
Achakzai (JUI-F) and Dr Shama Ishaque (NP Balochistan), and moderated by
an anchorperson Masood Raza. Later, these leaders also joined Summit
activities to promote peace along with youth, grassroots leaders and
The Summit also featured an interactive session entitled
"Learning by Doing: Inspirational Role Models of Social Entrepreneurship
and Peace-building" with social role models and entrepreneurs, Ali
Moeen Nawazish, Youth Ambassador; senior journalists and Anchorpersons
of private TV Badami; Farah Hussain; Sarmad Tariq, Motivational Speaker;
and Sohaila Muhammadi, young marshal arts star from Balochistan who
actively engaged participants in a lively discussion.
The Summit also featured presentation and signing of the PPI
Petition for Peace and screening of PPI project documentary. Guest of
honour Ambassador Sorensen and the chief guest Federal Secretary Dr
Saeed also put their signatures on the petition displayed on a huge
board at the venue.
SFCG Pakistan Executive Director Ammara Durrani and SDPI Deputy
Director Dr Waqar Ahmed also spoke on the occasion. Ms Durrani said the
PPI Project took a number of initiatives geared towards building the
capacity of youth activists, media and local leaders by way of creating
multiple platforms for constructive and collaborative dialogue in order
to resolve local conflicts through common interests and co-operation.
The core objective of today’s Summit is to raise local heroic
voices and stories of personal initiative for peace at the local level
and connect them with the national mainstream actors in order to foster a
strategic shift in the national discourse towards social cohesion,
resilience and reconciliation, Ms Durrani said.
The beneficiaries of the Project also shared their inspirational
success stories with the audience during the session entitled "Dialogue
and Peace: Reflections from District Dialogue Forums. In the evening,
the Summit participants also flew Peace Lanterns in the sky and watched
an interactive theatre play "Plan B".
Earlier during the day, the Summit also held a poster drawing
competition "Defining Peace" participated by students from different
schools in Islamabad. Artist Mobeena Zuberi distributed awards among the
winners of the poster competition. SFCG Pakistan’s PPI project has been
implemented in 25 districts in all four provinces of Pakistan as well
as Gilgit-Baltistan, Fata and Azad Jammu and Kashmir regions, in
partnership with SDPI, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Pakistan Press
Foundation, and UKs Resource Centre.
The overall objective of the project is to shift people’s
attitudes and behaviours towards a tolerant and constructive
solutions-oriented approach by engaging and building the capacity of
youth leaders, journalists and local leaders through training and
workshop activities in building peace in their communities.