Young Leaders Conference: Empowering youth to speak

Sunday, April 29th, 2012 5:00:37 by


Students from various member universities of the National Union of Pakistani Students and Alumni (NUPSA) got their day in the sun to posit real concerns with the people who matter. On the first day of the Young Leaders Conference held at Kuch Khaas here on Saturday, participants discussed pressing issues with government representatives.

In the event that was aired live on TV, NUPSA Vice President Farhad Shafqat Qayyum pointed out that while the large youth majority are called “assets”, there are no educational or vocational opportunities afforded to the them to provide much value to the country. Maria Toru, a student of NUST, while speaking with The Express Tribune said that though the government representatives exalted youth involvement in bringing about change, their arguments were little more than rhetoric.

Over 200 youth from Pakistan attended the first day of the three-day conference. Aqeel Khakar from Quetta was moved to tears while speaking about missing persons before composing himself. “I’ve had the opportunity that I wouldn’t have otherwise to talk about my firsthand experiences in Balochistan with other government officials and students,” he said adding that the platform was a friendly and welcoming one.

A Yemeni student, Haitham, who recently transferred to UET Lahore commended the conference, saying that “it is courageous of students to come together, creating a platform that their government hasn’t provided them with.” Haitham added that he was part of the “Media and IT committee” and felt it was a perfect fit. “Before coming to Pakistan, I researched the country online and read only news of terrorism, but once I arrived here those initial fears were disproved. Instead, I found Pakistanis to be friendly and interesting people,” he said.

NUPSA Public Relations Manager Aliya Khalid added that the organisation is in no way a political one. “Its a a platform where youngsters can come together to discuss ideas regarding themselves and others in the country and find solutions,” she said. Khalid added that her organisation was not funded by anybody. We pool together our funds which isn’t easy but it’s worth it,” she said.

The conference is an annual initiative taken by NUPSA which is a joint project of the student bodies of over 25 Pakistani societies at UK universities including University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, London School of Economics and the University College London in addition to universities across Pakistan.

Committees that have been formed at the event cover various topics, including Foreign Affairs, Interior Affairs, Women Empowerment, Youth Empowerment, Economics and Finance, Legal Affairs and Education.

The second day will include additional committee sessions and a trip to Lok Virsa. The third day will be held at the Jinnah Convention Centre where resolutions will first be discussed and then be debated in the Joint Assembly Session. The final document will then be presented on live television to policymakers in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.

Quetta News Sources -2

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