Unity in Diversity – Celebrating International Peace Day
The Youth Alumni of Hyderabad, Pakistan, organized an event titled “Muktalif Magar Muttahid” (different but united) in celebration of International Peace Day. Aqsa Rajput, a senior member of the Alumni, while welcoming the guests spoke about the value peace, dignity and respect holds as a basic human need irrespective of one’s beliefs or thoughts.
Celebrating the idea of peace among people of different faiths, alumni speakers shared their thoughts and views. Some highlighted issues of racial and religious discrimination prevalent in societies globally while others shared possible ideas to overcome these issues and maintain interfaith harmony.
Aqsa Rajput, among many other Youth Alumni members, has participated in various trainings on governance, democracy, constitutional rights and other such themes in the last three years. This unique event on Peace Day, where all panelists were youth members themselves, was organized by her as a way of sharing her learnings with her peers and other youth members. Aqsa shared that organizing and taking part in such activities also helps youth members like herself in enhancing their leadership and communication skills. Being the first speaker at the event, Aqsa underscored the many types of discrimination that is practiced in various countries, religions and societies and how the most vulnerable suffer the most in such circumstances. With that, she also highlighted the importance of education and how that plays a key role in empowering communities, specially girls. Aqsa had recently visited Nepal as part of a youth exposure and exchange visit, of which she gave an example of how people of completely different faiths and religions live peacefully and happily in one county.
As part of her address, Aqsa focused on the need for building more peace and establishing frequent interfaith dialogues among people of varying religions to develop a relationship of mutual respect and dignity.
Participants, representing various universities in Sindh, shared other similar examples. One youth member, Salman Chattha, used Canada as a good example of a country where people of many faiths live together peacefully. He highlighted how the Canadian government provides equal opportunities to their own people, as well immigrants and minorities, recognizing them as an asset of the country and celebrating religious diversity, rather then seeing it as a liability. Salman also referred to Quaid-e-Azam’s address at the first constituent Assembly on11th August, 1947, in which he shared his vision of Pakistan, being a country that would celebrate and ensure “equality of all citizens”
Another youth activist, Mahrukh Parvez, shed light on the international theme of this year’s Peace Day – Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All. She reiterated that,
She further added,
the world needs to come forward for fostering peace.
I strongly condemn the human rights violations in Myanmar of the Rohingya community.
The panel sessions then followed a question answer exercise, where participants shared their views and experiences on discrimination, if any, that they had faced. Some girls among the participants, quoted experiences of gender discrimination faced by them. Another youth member shared his own experience of practicing religious discrimination towards people of other faiths, and acknowledged how the panel and speaking sessions at the event made him realize that all citizens are equal irrespective of their belief, caste or creed. Queries on other similar issues were put forward to the speakers and were discussed in detail. Many participants claimed that their understanding on accepting and celebrating diversity has fairly improved since participating at the Peace Day event.
Towards the end of the day, a theatre performance on the theme of religious discrimination by youth group members was held. The event concluded with participants coming together to share messages of peace in solidarity with the Myanmar’s Rohingya community.
Shazia, a participant at the event expressed,
Many other participants, after the event, committed to being more determined and active in promoting and enhancing peace and tolerance among their communities.
I am now taking a positive message of peace being the only solution for a country’s development and progress.