A wide variety of competitions, exhibitions and an award ceremony recognising the accomplishments of Pakistani youngsters were the highlights of the Pakistan Youth Mela, which was organised at the Alhamra Hall on Friday.
The daylong fair marked the culmination of the International Youth Year, declared by the UN on August 12, 2010.
The event was organised by Bargad, a rights forum working towards the welfare of Pakistani youth, in collaboration with the Information, Culture and Youth Affair’s Department. MNA Hamza Shehbaz was the chief guest at the occasion. Information, Culture and Youth’s affairs Secretary, Mohiyuddin Ahmad Wani was the keynote speaker.
A documentary competition was hosted by Ayesha Tammy Haq, who also judged the entries along with Wajeeha Rizwan. Seven shortlisted documentaries were shown. Final rounds of the English and Urdu debates as well as a drama competition were also held. The finals were the culmination of the year long contests that had been taking place in various parts of the country.
Stalls had been set outside the hall by several NGOs, culture groups, and youth organizations from across Pakistan.
Most prominent among these were those of the Girl Guides Scout Association, The Youth Parliament, The Rescue 1122, The Struggle for Change, The Indus Research, Pehchaan and Heinrich Boll Stiftung
The award ceremony started late due to the heavy downpour.
Performances by young children, wearing regional dresses to represent the rich cultural diversity of the country were highlight of the opening ceremony.
The chief guest, Hamza Shehbaz was presented with a Sindhi ajrak and handicrafts by a representative of the Sindh department of Youth Affairs.
Hamza Shehbaz presented the High Achievers award to Aarifa Karim Randhawa, the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional in the world. Aarifa has recently received an invitation from Bill Gates to visit US as an appreciation of her accomplishment. US Consul General, Carmela Conroy, presented the High Achievers award’ to Nad-i-Ali Mir of Peshawarfounder of the Peshawar Youth Organisation (PYO), which works for better assimilation youth into the society
A brief history of Bargad was presented by Saqib Murtaza.
He said that over 800 volunteers were working for Bargad in several youth development initiatives.
He commended the overwhelming response of youngsters towards the international youth year celebrations. Bargad Executive Director, Sabeeha Shaheen, said that it was their aim to promote peace and cooperation amongst Pakistani youth.
United Nations Population Fund Pakistan, Youth Parliament, US Consulate General Lahore, Volunteer Service Organisation and Heinrich Boll Stiftung also collaborated with the organisation of the Youth Mela.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2011.