With the support of UNESCO and CKU, C2D organized a panel discussion/ dialogue on The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development in partnership with NCA, Rawalpindi. The dialogue was held at NCA, Rawalpindi Library, followed by a paintings exhibition of students at NCA, exhibition Gallery, on May 31, 2016. It was well attended dialogue and the participants showed a keen interest in the subject and speeches given by the panelists of the dialogue.
The audience included people from diverse walks of life including teachers, sociologists, CSOs representatives both national and international, social scientists, students and teachers of NCA, transgender community and people with special abilities and journalists.
Proceedings of the Dialogue
May 31st is marked and celebrated as World Cultural Diversity Day every year. Diversity means opening up new perspectives for sustainable development and promoting creative industries and cultural entrepreneurship. Key Cultural Stakeholders of twin cities join hands together at National College of Rawalpindi in a dialogue to address the Role of Diverse Groups in Cultural and Creative Industries and marked The World Cultural Diversity Day.
Mr. Salman Asif, the National Consultant of UNESCO facilitated the dialogue. The proceedings of the dialogue started with the recitation from the Holy Quran.
Dr. Nadeem Omar Tarar welcomed the audience and introduced them to the concept of Diversity. He said that diversity we see everywhere especially in languages and cultures across the world. However, we need to respect and learn people with different views, forms and cultures. The phobia of diversity and difference has leaded the world to many destructive conflicts and wars. Living with diversity would make this world more beautiful and livable.
He also introduced the participants to the role of NCA with respect to developing the potential of Youth for contemporary culture and creative industries. He also referred to the steps NCA has taken to respect and promote diversity by setting up an example. He told that NCA has enabled a group of transgender to become useful and active members of the society by engaging them in a meaningful employment both at NCA Canteen and in office work.
Dr. Nadeem was followed by Ms. Vebeke Jensen, the Country Director of UNESCO who highlighted that UNESCO was undertaking diverse and all out efforts to promote diversity world over. It holds cultural diversity very significant to promote peace and harmony and celebrates this day to mark the significance of diversity of cultures and people world over.
She also pointed that Pakistani society was quite diverse and dynamic and UNESCO has undertaken work and projects to promote peace, diversity and sustainable development through integrating this theme into learning and teaching.
Lok Virsa, Executive Director, Fouzia Saeed said Women should not be afraid of cultural diversity and should express themselves through creativity. She said that women are making strides to ensure a fair part in the national development and we were moving forward as a society given the enhanced role of the women in our society.
Fouzia said women were an integral part of the sustainable development, adding that women were repository of the culture as they hold the first place where the culture and diversity gets transferred to the next generation.
Mr. Atif Sheikh , the Executive Director of Special Challenge Exchange Program (STEP) emphasized on role of Persons with Disabilities in Creative Industry. He quoted examples of such talented people who were able to achieve economic independence despite of such physical challenges. He said that Persons with Disabilities need to be accepted as diversified human resource in present modern economic system. It is duty of policymakers to focus on creating enabling environment to mainstream people with diversified capabilities in the economic development.
Mr. Abbas Saleem Khan, Head of Operations, UNICORN BLACK discussed the success story of his media company with its two projects, “Burka Avenger” and Tazzi and their positive impact on youth development. He described how technology products revolutionize problem solving via digital mediation mechanisms. He also highlighted the inclusion of youth in our national life and the potential they offer to our national growth and development.
Executive Director of WAJOOD, Bubli Malik was next in line of speakers. She talked about the need of education, skillful knowledge, health facilities and provision of small loans under Government Schemes for Transgender community to encourage respectable livelihood and meaningful lives for transgender in Pakistan. She said that although transgender have their uniqueness and difference, yet, they were human beings and deserve a lot better treatment from the society and their own families.
The speeches by the panelists were followed by Q&A session where participants asked questions related to diversity and human phobia from diversity, disabilities and transgender. How the people can learn to respect diversity and how it can contribute to national life across the world.
There was a musical performance given by a musical band whose lead vocalist was mentally challenged whereas other members were also afflicted with disabilities like blindness and dumbness.
Ms. Vebeke of UNESCO offered the vote of thanks to the participants and emphasized upon the participants to respect and promote diversity for the overall good and development of the humanity. She appreciated the efforts NCA and C2D as partners to make this event a success.
The event was covered by a range of print and electronic media. The links to the media coverage are given as under: