The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center will hold a discussion on “Channeling Progress through Pakistan’s Youth,” with its Emerging Leaders of Pakistan (ELP) 2012 Fellows.

With the majority of its population under the age of thirty, Pakistan’s future trajectory will greatly depend on its ability to engage its young and growing demographic.  To help empower these young people in Pakistan, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center launched the Emerging Leaders of Pakistan fellowship program, which seeks to identify and support the country’s brightest young civil society leaders through the creation of collaborative and proactive network.

Fifteen fellows from diverse backgrounds in Pakistan are serving as the ELP inaugural fellowship class. Having just returned from the United States, where they met with policymakers, diaspora leaders, and civil society activists from across the country, the ELP fellows will share their experiences and lessons learned with the Lahore community. They will highlight their ongoing work and vision for the engagement of Pakistan’s youth.  The participants will also address key issues, such as the role of youth lead initiatives in improving local communities, and opportunities and challenges of youth participation in the country’s policy dialogues. The panel will provide a platform to explore these issues and offer prescriptions for a more prosperous Pakistan.

Imran Khan
Youth and Gender Development Network

Shahid Rehmat
Founder and Director
Interfaith Youth in Action, Pakistan

Saba Shaikh
Director, Advocacy and Networking

Moderated by
Adil Najam
Vice Chancellor
Lahore University of Management Sciences 

This series is generously sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Imran Khan was born and raised in Nawa Killi, Quetta, in Balochistan. Imran remains a leader in his community, most recently leading the creation of the “Youth and Gender Development Network,” a youth led initiative that creates a plate for debates and assesses the gaps in the province in the areas of youth and gender development. As part of this role, he worked with the provincial government of Balochistan to implement a youth policy to further meaningful engagement of youth and youth engagement in the province. Imran also previously served as General Secretary of the Youth Advocacy Network Pakistan and participated in the Youth Professional Network (YPN), an initiative of the Friederich Ebert Stiftung (FES). He also represented Pakistan, as a youth speaker, at the International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal in 2011 and presented a paper at the World Youth Confere nce in Mexico, where he conducted a session on “Gender Equality and Change in Young People’s Mindsets.”

Shahid Rehmat belongs to the minority Christian community in Lahore, and is a strong advocate for the rights of minorities and women. For the past seven years, he has volunteered with a number of community groups, including, but not limited to, the Catholic Youth Commission of Pakistan, National Commission for Inter-religious Dialogues and Ecumenism (NCIDE), and the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP). Having faced discrimination for being Christian throughout his life, he helped found Interfaith Youth in Action in 2009, an organization committed to building bridges among faiths, especially between Muslims and Christians in Pakistan. In addition to his extracurricular activities, Shahid serves as a Youth Coordinator for the Catholic Youth Ministry in Lahore, a nd is pursuing his Masters degree in Political Science from Punjab University. After completing his education, he wishes to continue his advocacy work on behalf of minorities in Pakistan. 

Saba Sheikh is currently working as Director Advocacy and Networking of Dastak, a charitable trust running a shelter for women in Lahore, Pakistan. She is extensively involved in expanding the network base of Dastak and advocating for the protection needs of women suffering from gender based violence in the country. Previously she worked as the coordinator for a child rights project at AGHS Legal Aid Cell, a human rights and legal aid organization operating in Pakistan since 1980 – the first established in the country. The major focus of the organization has been the rights of women, children and minorities in Pakistan. She joined the organization at a time when the child rights project was in need of organizational restructuring and helped build and develop the project towards a wider institutional base, ensuring timely execution of the project, both independently and in collaboration with o ther team members. Saba has also worked as a research associate at Lahore University of Management Sciences where she undertook research on international law issues. She started her career as an apprentice at a corporate law firm in Lahore. She has also been undertaking independent consultations/projects. More recently she was part of the team conducting Child Protection Mapping and Assessment Exercise (a UNICEF project) in Punjab. She regularly writes the child rights chapter of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Annual Report on the State of Human Rights in Pakistan. Saba is also a member of South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional human rights organization, and has conducted two research studies for the organization on minority rights and emergency laws of Pakistan. Saba has a University of London LLB degree (international program) and Masters in Public Policy from Forman Christian College, Pakistan.

Adil Najam is the third vice chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He is also director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and professor of international relations and geography & the environment at Boston University, USA. Dr. Najam is an authority on international diplomacy and development. His research interests include sustainable development, Muslim and South Asian politics, environmental politics in developing countries, and philanthropy among immigrant communities in the United States. Through his work he has laid special emphasis on longer-term global policy problems, especially those related to human well-being and sustainable development. He contributed to Pakistan’s first environmental policy document and a report presented at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. He has collaborated with governments and civil society in both industrialised and developing countries, and regularl y collaborates with the United Nations. In 2008 he was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General to serve on the UN Committee on Development (CDP). In 2010 he was awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence), one of Pakistan’s highest civil awards by the president of Pakistan.