International Youth Conference and Festival: Saving lives and solving global issues

Published: December 8, 2010
Stephanie Rudat participates in a panel discussion. PHOTO: EXPRESS TRIBUNE

Stephanie Rudat participates in a panel discussion. PHOTO: EXPRESS TRIBUNE

ISLAMABAD: ‘Saving Lives through Innovation,’ a keynote speech by Marc Koska of SafePoint, a global charity that aims to improve basic healthcare, kick-started the second day of the International Youth Conference and Festival.

Koska, in his speech, talked about his campaign to introduce the B-Point syringe in Pakistani hospitals. Such a syringe has the unique feature of being truly disposable – it cannot be used after one use.

Featuring K Safety Technology, these syringes employ a special mechanism to prevent reuse, according to Star Syringe’s website – a syringe manufacturer. Such a syringe contains “a small ring etched on the inside of the barrel [that] allows the specially-adapted plunger to move in one direction and not the other.” The ring thus is locked in one place after a single use and breaks if forced, thereby preventing reuse.

Koska then opened the floor for the main panel discussions that focused on democracy-building through social movements, social investments in harnessing youth potential and the role of volunteers in literary promotion. About 200 youth from 35 countries, including Pakistan, participated in the discussions. They argued with great fervour.

The panellists included Stephanie Rudat of Alliance of Youth Movements, Rab Nawaz, executive committee member of Khudi, Amin Hashwani, entrepreneur and social activist, and Daniel Teweles of Personal Democracy Forum. These educated and well-accomplished individuals addressed issues on social activism and the role youth could play in solving global issues.

Hashwani commented, “Globally it is non-sensical to see what we are doing because we have compartmentalised ourselves in systems. We are communists, capitalists, socialists or nationalists. These systems are not compassionate and as a result we have lost compassion in our lives. It is the duty of the youth belonging to the elite schools and universities to make a difference because they are the only ones that can.”

The day concluded with another keynote speech “Reinventing Philanthropy” by Joe Marchese of Social Vibe. This was followed by a dinner and Folk and Cultural Show in Ibex Club.

The four-day youth festival in Islamabad is fashioned after The International Ankara Youth Festival. Abdul Rahman Malik-one of the organisers – started a Facebook initiative to host a similar conference in Pakistan. The response was immediate and tremendous, paving way for this festival.

The event also marks the first time that Google has sent a team of eight people to Pakistan for technical support, as Youtube (owned by Google) is an official partner of the festival.

Over the next two days, the conference will have further panel discussions and workshops. The conference will also have concerts and performances during the nights, in order to give foreign guests a taste of Pakistani nightlife, according to the organisers.

Abdul Rahman is very hopeful that the venture will be successful and will help change the image of Pakistan.

Adeel Ahmed, another organiser, said, “We want the world to see Pakistan for what it is. We want them to see the educated, talented side of the country so that their perception of the country
can change.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Dec 9, 2010 - 6:13AM

    Superb initiative, watching/reading closely here in the UK!
    Well done to the organisers!

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