ISLAMABAD: A resounding call for youth empowerment and sustainable action echoed through the halls of Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) as UNFPA Pakistan, School of Leadership Foundation (SoLF) and Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) joined forces to commemorate International Youth Day 2023.
The event aimed to celebrate the potential of the youth, acknowledge their challenges, and inspire innovative approaches towards a greener and more sustainable future.
The event opened with a welcome address by Latika Maskey Pradhan, Deputy Representative of UNFPA Pakistan, and Dr Raja Muhammad Qaiser, Registrar of Quaid-e-Azam University. Addressing the audience, Ms. Pradhan emphasized the urgency of addressing sustainable development challenges in the current global landscape.
“If we nurture innovation and leadership among young people, we can yield a more conscionable generation that has the power and grit and repair the planet” said Ms. Pradhan. “Together, we can unlock their immense potential, harness their creativity and innovation, and build a world that offers equal opportunities for all.”
Recognizing the importance of green skills for youth, the event featured interactive presentations, dialogues, and a theater performance that captured the essence of the day.
The collaboration between UNFPA, QAU and SoLF resonated strongly throughout the event, as their joint projects were highlighted as essential steps toward nurturing young leaders for sustainable change.
“Theater is a powerful medium for conveying messages of change and empowerment. By including a theatre performance in today’s event, our aim was to awaken the hearts and minds of our youth, encouraging thoughtful discussions on our collective role in shaping a greener future,” remarked Mariyam Irfan, the Managing Director of SoLF.
Empowering youth for social entrepreneurship and green development is the focus of innovative projects like the Health & Well-being Innovation Challenge and Generation Unlimited Challenge. This has led to remarkable ventures such as She-Guard, crafting eco-friendly sanitary pads; Siachen Sherpa, building an artificial glacier for sustainable water in Khaplu, Gilgit Baltistan; and Zamurd Enterprise, replacing plastics with degradable organic Bio Plastic within three to six months. These initiatives were spotlighted at the event, showcasing inspiring models for best practices.