ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN: A delegation of students from Pakistan and Afghanistan visited Islamabad to discuss matters of regional connectivity and dialogue measures through bilateral exchanges. The visit was arranged by the Department of Political Science (PSUP) of the University of Peshawar and supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Pakistan as part of the 8th International Summer School on “The Importance of Regional Connectivity in the Pakistan-Afghan Border Region with a Focus on Bilateral Dialogue & Challenges”.
The exposure trip included visits to important institutions such as the Parliament of Pakistan, the Institute of Policy Studies, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad and the Council of Islamic Ideology. The participants interacted with multiple relevant stakeholders working in the field of Pak-Afghan bilateral and wider regional cooperation and gained first-hand knowledge. They also visited cultural and heritage sites including the Lok Virsa Museum and the National Monument.
Dr. Steffen Kudella, Resident Representative of HSF Pakistan, welcomed the delegation at HSF’s office where they were briefed about the work of the German political foundation and its multiple youth-focused activities and scholarship programs. He stressed:
HSF gladly supports stability in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region. The goal of our regional work is to create win-win scenarios; that means mutually beneficial outcomes for several parties. Through research grants at Pakistani universities, Germany scholarships for Pakistani and Afghan students, and refugee scholarships for registered Afghan students studying in Pakistan, HSF promotes the world's most important stakeholders of sustainability: the youth who are the leaders of tomorrow.
The participants considered the exposure trip a valuable learning experience and appreciated the efforts of the organizers to arrange such activities. Ms. Mahnoor Dilawar from Pakistan said:
The visit to the political institutions of Pakistan added a fruitful taste to the summer school. The sessions by the intellectual and expert speakers sown the seeds of regional connectivity. The participation in different activities grew the roots and will go a long way in promoting harmony and peaceful discourse among the youth of two countries.
Ms. Batool Gholami from Afghanistan opined:
The International summer school 2021 is a wonderful and informative program, powerful sessions by incredible professors and mentors. It has taught us the real meaning of regional connectivity and accepting the realities and it is an ideal opportunity to the youth to come together and build stronger networks in the region.
The International Summer School is a joint initiative by the PSUP and HSF Pakistan aiming to bring together young scholars and students from across the region to foster political and academic exchange. At the 10-day event with the University of Peshawar, experts from different fields discuss a range of relevant topics with the 13 Pakistani and 11 Afghan students. These topics include regional dialogue, trade, migration and the role of media and religion. The students also receive trainings on conflict resolution, effective communication and digital literacy skills.