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Youth Speak Forum at NUST

Youth Speak Forum at NUST

NUST hosted the second annual AIESEC Youth Speak Forum on Saturday, 23rd December 2017. The talks, held by 8 speakers from 6 different organizations, were pertaining to the forum’s theme of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The session’s first speaker, Ahmer Naqvi, Chief Operating Officer at Patari, based his talk on equal opportunity. “You have to lose a little sleep to get there” he said relating stories of cricketers Hassan Ali and Shadab Khan . He also spoke about the dedication and perseverance of Abid Brohi, the voice behind The Sibbi Song. “With dedication like Abid’s, you too can share the stage with Mahira Khan”, he said lightheartedly, referring to Brohi and Khan’s performance of Power Di Game for Verna’s promotion.

The forum also featured the multitalented sportswoman, photographer and student Noreena Shams. Noreena related her story of perseverance after her father’s death. “My mother, a disabled woman, took a stance for our family by taking over the family business and showed us that women and men are equal”, said Noreena referring to her ultimate role model. Proud of her achievements in the world of squash, she explained to the audience how she became a source of solace for the people of Lower Dir through her success. She uses that success to bridge the gap between the people of Dir and the authorities. She said, “It’s okay if I don’t have a high post; I have a racquet.”

The host then called on stage a teacher who does not believe a noisy classroom is a fish market. Umair Qureshi, the CEO of Leaders in Education and Learning Development, a company that trains teachers for their profession. “The Pakistani mindset dictates that whoever has done a Masters can become a teacher. Teaching is not treated as a profession”, he said when discussing the idea behind his company. Qureshi’s company has thus far trained 20,000 teachers all over Pakistan and aims to gradually change the whole education system. “Education should not work like an assembly line”, he said.

The next two talks were by representatives of Alif Ailaan; Aleena Khan and Hafiz ur Rehman. Aleena Khan stressed on holding educational authorities responsible for the promises they make prior to elections. She also had the audience tweet to their respective MNAs asking about their education related performance in their constituencies. “You all have agency” she told the audience, adding that through social media, anyone can set change into motion. Hafiz ur Rehman, a local from Kohistan, KPK talked about the difficulties he faces from opposing rich landlords in the region and the power of social media in gaining the authority’s attention.

Last speaker for the night was Yahya Ali, managing director for Project 50 kids. The project promotes technological literacy, creative and critical thinking amongst underprivileged children. He explained how teaching children simple things like using a laptop or using Google empowers them and helps create equal opportunities. Yahya shared his personal ideologies for happiness and success by literally having the audience write down, tear and throw away their expectations. Although it made a mess in the hall, it was a point well made.

Although the event attracted lesser number of people than initially expected, the host, Mubashir Tareen was not discouraged. “I’m extremely happy with the turnout and the audience response,” said Mubashir when speaking to Papercrush, “This is the first time we’re (AIESEC) hosting an event of this scale in NUST so I’m pleased with the reaction that we got.”

The audience members seemed to share Mubashir’s energy. “The speakers were really knowledgeable. They seemed to pass on their motivation and energy to us”, said Zoha Jamshaid, a student of NUST.

The forum wrapped up by distributing shields amongst the speakers and the host as a token of appreciation and AIESEC promised to return with a bigger and better Youth Speak Forum next year.

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