Pakistan is a young country. 64 percent of the country’s population is under the age of 29, with some 30 percent between the ages of 15 and 29. The recently launched National Human Development Report 2017 concluded that if we are serious about using youth’s potential as a positive force for transformation and for human development then we must provide youth with meaningful engagement opportunities in both social and political spheres.
With a view to provide such a platform for positive engagement and in the spirit of inspiring and innovative ideas worth spreading; UNDP's Youth Empowerment Programme partnered with Tedx Islamabad on the theme 'The Future is Young'. The talk featured dynamic young speakers who have triumphed in their respective fields because of their sheer determination.
Kabeer Naqvi, youngest Chief Operating Officer at Ubank, (a fast growing player in Pakistan’s microfinance ecosystem), kickstarted the talks by sharing the seven rules on becoming a dynamic leader. with the ‘hidden rules of young leadership’. Asra Nadeem the first female venture capitalist in Pakistan further motivated the audience by sharing her story and instilling in them the belief that the best thing that can happen to you is you while Shaheer Niazi, the budding scientist and youngest speaker at the event at only 17 passionately advocated for more emphasis on science subjects in the education system in his talk ‘what science can do for you’.
In a first for TedX Islamabad, Asad Malik, an immersive artist, joined the event from New York using augmented reality and explained his work on cultural augmentation; a displacement of holograms that allows viewers to access what their environment would regard as contentious, controversial opinions and demonstrated how the future is digital. Especially for the budding entrepreneurs in the audience, Nabeel Qadeer, the driving force behind the Pakistan’s first business reality show, enlightened the attendees about ‘what makes a million-dollar idea’.
The voices of young Pakistani women were also heard. Shameem Akhtar, a teacher and strong advocate for women’s education, inspired everyone present with her story and her talk, ‘to learn is to be free’, which highlighted the importance of education. Shazia Batool, a young female artist from Quetta living with disabilities, gave a motivational talk on how your adversity is your opportunity and how she did not let any hurdle stop her from achieving her dreams.
To end the event, Faheem Azam, the acclaimed artist and comedian, brought the house down with his humorous yet very enlightening talk on how humor is a serious business, highlighting how humor can be used to promote tolerance in societies .
The audience ranged from ambassadors, private sector CEOs to young students and aspiring entrepreneurs. Such a diverse audience provided the participants with fruitful networking opportunities and a chance to engage in a stimulating conversation around the role and involvement of youth is broader development issues in Pakistan.
Inspired by the success of this event, key stakeholders agreed to continue the momentum and hold future positive youth engagement events to keep the conversations going and ensure that Pakistan’s young heroes are celebrated and can continue to inspire the youthof Pakistan, who are the architects of our tomorrow.