‘‘Do we have safe spaces where people from all walks of life come together and have a very open discussion of all kind freely, Is it safe to discuss religion, culture, politics, business and taboo topics and is there a guarantee you won’t be judged and discriminated?’’
The questions were raised by Syed Farhan Agha in a Youth Round Table Dialogue arranged by The Enlight Lab in Peshawar on International Youth Day.
The Enlight Lab with the collaboration of Youth Directorate, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa organized a Youth Round Table Dialogue session for young men and women of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to celebrate International Youth Day, 2018.
Globally, International Youth’s Day is celebrated on 12th of August and likely this year it is celebrated with the theme of safe spaces for youth. Enlight Lab marked the day by organizing a youth dialogue session on “Finding strategies for youth empowerment in public and civic spaces and creating more safe spaces for youth to assemble and express” which focused spaces for youth as civic, political, physical, digital recreational spaces.
Youth from different districts Khyber Pakhtunkhwa participated in the event. The ‘‘Panel Dialogue’’ broadly talked about creating civic sense and civic culture for youth, providing recreational and entrepreneurial opportunities for youth, activism and safe space for youth. The speakers emphasised needs and challenges in creating safe spaces for youth.
During the discussion the participants stressed the need for youth integration and inclusion in social, economic and political development of the region and ensuring safe online, virtual and physical spaces for opinion expression
One of the session’s participant Murad Ali, student of musicology at National College of Arts shared his views that he studies musicology that but he rarely find good platforms to exhibit his art or work. He further added that ‘‘youth of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa don’t have safe spaces where they can exhibit the form of art I am studying, we need to have more spaces where we can display and practice musicology’’.
Sulaiman Yousafzai, political and civil rights activist, highlighted that student unions should be revived in educational institutes in order to provide a platform for students to get trained on democratic values and acceptance for difference of opinion and defend their rights at the same time.
Shafeeq Gigyani, Co-founder Enlight Lab and rights activist shared his views that setting up policies for youth, giving decision making positions to youth and engaging them in healthy competition in order to face the modern day challenges is one of the prime responsibilities of state .
“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is holding the highest youth bulge of Pakistan, thus having strategic importance in country, we should come up with contemporary approach to enhance the critical thinking in youth by providing them safe spaces where they can engage in productive activities according to their diverse needs,” the view was shared by Ms Tahira Kaleem, Lead of The Enlight Lab.