Young leaders for prioritising peace initiatives


Participants of a two-day conference of the India-Pakistan Regional Young Leaders Forum (IPRYLF) on Sunday called for mentorship in cultivating a new generation of South Asian leaders and prioritising peace initiatives in India and Pakistan.

They were speaking at the concluding session of the conference that was divided into six sessions focusing on leadership, social media, opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pak relationship, violence against women and empowering the civil society.

Eleven Pakistani and Indian young leaders, selected through a rigorous process over the last year and belonging to diverse professional backgrounds, served as panelists at the session.

The panelists explored new areas of cooperation between Indian and Pakistan, especially with regard to how young leaders could inject fresh ideas and energy in mitigating the political impasse and called for increased people-to-people contact between the two countries.

It was recommended that the two countries cooperate in sectors of healthcare, education, gender rights and cultural exchange.

The efforts made through Track 2 diplomacy and the work of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), trade bodies and educational institutions to facilitate cross border collaboration and exchange were appreciated.

However, it was recognised that cross border collaborations were constrained by a restrictive visa policy.

The panelists also discussed desirable attributes for South Asian leaders and acknowledged that the South Asian political leadership was dynastic.

They said constraints within the system had stopped the emergence of new leaders but agreed that the realm of politics should not be seen as the “end game of leadership”.

They expressed reservations over the social media’s impact on politics but it was also viewed as a catalyst for political change.

Based on their discussions, the panelists conceived a cross-border project aimed at creating meaningful peace messages for the public in both countries and maximising their dissemination.

The group agreed to create multimedia products over the next one year to reset political narratives through a creative media strategy.

The forum was organised by the Jinnah Institute in collaboration with the New York-based Asia Society.

The Class of 2013 Asia 21 Fellows included Donya Aziz, Mehmal Sarfaraz, Saba Shaikh, Sara Hussain, Yasser Latif Hamdani from Pakistan and Tridivesh Singh Maini, Aaysha Amaan, Priti Radhakrishnan, Satchit Balsari, Rohit Kumar from India.