LAHORE: The Punjab government will hold a ceremony on September 10 at Alhamra to celebrate the International Youth and Minorities Day. Around 1,000 youths from across the country are expected to participate in the event.
The day-long events will be held in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund, Bargad Organisation for Youth Development – a youth-led organisation and other non-government organisations.
The event on Wednesday will also be co-organised by Umeed Jawan, an initiative to promote opportunities for youth in southern Punjab.
The announcement was made by the provincial Minister for Education and Youth Affairs Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan during a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Sunday.
He said that the day would be marked every year.
The press conference was attended by a representative of Bargad.
The theme of International Youth Day for this year is Youth and Mental Health.
The minister said that there was a need to promote the youth and the minorities across the country by providing them a platform to enhance their talent. “No nation can progress without peace, tolerance and diversity,” he said. He said that the activities arranged throughout the day would help bring different sections of the society closer. “This will provide every segment of the society an opportunity to understand one another and bridge gaps to work towards the betterment of the society,” the minister said.
Bargad has arranged several events to engage the youth for the day. These activities include speech competitions, theatrical and cultural dance performances, and educating youth about global selfie campaign.
Addressing the press conference, Sabiha Shaheen, the Bargad executive director, said that similar celebrations would be arranged every year to commemorate and highlight the role of Pakistani minorities and youth. “The aim here is to include youth and minorities in activities that would help shape a better future for Pakistan. The society should appreciate heroes hailing from these segments of the society,” he said.
She said such activities would help the government and youth organisations in promoting peace, while bridging gaps through dialogue.
Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Kamran Michael, Education and Law Minister Rana Mashood, Secretary for Youth Affairs Muhamad Khan Khichi would also be attending the event on Wednesday.
Around 1,000 youth from different cities, colleges and universities of Pakistan including Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and the FATA will be participating in the celebrations.
According to Shaheen, the event will also provide the youth from all over Pakistan a platform to showcase their talent through various competitions.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2014.