500 young people from across Pakistan gathered in September for the country’s first ever National Youth Peace Festival. With the theme, ‘Together, we are the solution’, the event’s purpose was to give young Pakistanis an opportunity to discuss ways towards peace, to look at other issues facing the nation, to create a far reaching dialogue, and to celebrate the diverse culture of the country.
A range of speakers including tennis star, Aisam ul Haq, and the general secretary of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, I.A. Rehman, discussed pathways to peace and processes for achieving conflict resolution.
Organised by Chanan Development Association (CDA) – a non-profit organisation working to improve the status of youth, enabling them to participate in creating a healthy, just, peaceful, and democratic society – the festival was also an interfaith dialogue, with scholars from 6 major religions speaking.
Addressing the event, executive director of CDA, Muhammad Shahzad Khan, said: “Young people posses the great ability to provide innovative solutions to the old problems, and their potential needs to be channelled in a positive and constructive manner.” The event concluded the first phase of a national campaign, through which CDA has already engaged more than 2,000 young people, training them as peace builders, the organisation says.
A number of representatives from civil society activism groups and the media also attended, alongside parliamentary members, including 10 ministers from across Pakistan.
Workshops were run at the festival to give young participants the necessary skills to create peace in their own lives. Chanan Theatre Group staged a play about security threats to educational institutions and role of young people as peace builders, alongside various musical performances. Several competitions were run just before the festival, for photos, posters and short films based on the festival theme, which was chosen to create a sense of national integrity and group wisdom in the young people involved.
Contact: Chanan Development Association
Link Road # 4,
near Mohammadi Masjid Nishat Colony,
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