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AIESEC’s Third Annual Youth Speak Forum

AIESEC’s third annual Youth Speak Forum was held at CIPS, on the 20th of October, 2018.

The main agenda of the forum was the “Agenda of 2030” – achieving of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, making it fitting for NUST to host the event, being an SDG-focused university.

The event formally started with the President of AIESEC Islamabad, Ahmed Haseef Shakeel, officially welcoming the speakers and delegates, giving an overview of Pakistan’s situation, and explaining why achieving SDGs were crucial for all of us.

Alishan Samdani – NUST-alumnus and also the chairperson for the forum – invited Muzamil Hasan and Humna Raza as the first speakers of the event. Famous Pakistani lifestyle influencer, Humna Raza, emphasized on how social media today influenced a person’s mental health. She added that “We end up doing things that are socially accepted, and in that process we lose ourselves,” declaring that we must give ourselves time to think about our own well-being.

Syed Muzamil Hasan Zaidi – content engineer and digital influencer – highlighted the power of today’s digital media. He referred to the term digital hygiene, and explained it by entertaining the audience with an anecdote of when he once tackled a cyber bully simply by searching for their name, and getting their contact info on Google.

German Ambassador to Pakistan, Martin Kobler, talked about the worldwide climate change, and its disastrous effects. Global warming had been predicted to rise about 4-5% by the end of this century if no radical change was brought to current human practices, so Kobler addressed Pakistan’s economical issue, asking that if Pakistan could invest in nuclear bombs and control a nuclear cycle in the power plants, why couldn’t it innovate in cheap renewable energy? He concluded by saying “Many say the youth are the future of the country, I believe they’re the present of the country.”

Following Martin Kobler was Haroon Yasin, one of the three Pakistanis to receive the Queen’s Young Leaders Award 2018. Haroon disagreed with the attitude of stopping children from taking risks in their early years, as well as the idea of grading children during their early education. “Learning is no different than the art of creation itself”, said Haroon. He informed his audience of how he started a new system of learning, where children’s academic report is given in the form of musical chords instead of grades.

The most awaited speaker was Pakistani cricketer, Saeed Ajmal, who reviewed the story of his life. Cricket was always his passion, but somehow something always stood in his way. He refused to give up, and was determined to make it into the national team, which in the end paid off. Ajmal was then part of a chair panel discussion, where he was asked several questions related to his career.

Affan Javed of AIESEC described the role of UN saying that “The biggest power of the UN is its convening power”, and explained the 17 Sustainable Development goals adopted by 193 countries in 2015, emphasizing on the importance of achieving these goals by 2030. He said that the youth was the defining factor of the country, and whatever the youth did today would change the course of this country. He said:

Travel-vlogger Eva Zu Beck started by praising the beauty of the country, saying that “you have got the most badass mountains here in Pakistan”. She also complimented the hospitality of the Pakistani people she got to witness during the last four months here.

Despite the beauty, Eva admitted she hated travel-vlogging in Pakistan due to the garbage discarded everywhere by locals, as well as tourists. She gave tips on how to reduce plastic, and pledged to go plastic free – urging everyone else to do the same for the country.

The event was met with positive feedback by all who came to attend it. A student from The City School remarked “this event was very informative and I learnt about the SDGs today”. Furthermore, everyone was impressed by the beauty of the H-12 campus, with a student even going as far as saying “I feel like I am in Shalimar Bagh.”

(Written by Hassan Ali and Shanzeh Nauman)


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