I have a dream, a dream of CLEAN Pakistan, clean from all malice. Free from clutches of dirty politicians.
A quest for understanding quality education dynamics triggers a series of questions; What does it mean to have quality education and opportunities for all? What does the system look like? How does the complex system of education work well in some countries but not in others? Why do some countries fail to achieve their huge investment return in education while others succeed? And so on. It can easily be noted that an effective education system in developed countries is much more than school hours. Education goes beyond the four walls of a school, especially in top-ranked countries, which are the leaders in educational innovation and development. Among these countries, Finland is known for its innovation and development in the educational field and considered a champion in providing quality education and lifelong opportunities.
Do you remember your first day of school? I remember my first day of school in bursts: in Miami, Florida, where I went to my first day of preschool, we mixed paints; in Buffalo, New York, where, when looking around the room, I immediately knew there was not a single person who looked like me; in Rochester, New York, on my first day of college, I met some of my forever friends; and in Washington, DC, the first day of grad school, my peers all told stories about their aspirations, and I cracked a joke…and was forever known by it. Every time, it has been my peers who stood out the most to me. My first day at my placement school in Medellín was no different, but it was also so much more.
I have lived all my life in Pakistan which is not only a predominantly Muslim country but also a highly religious society. Though there are many traditional religious schools of thought being followed by Muslims in Pakistan (and elsewhere in the world) most of them are based on same principles and share same beliefs. So I never faced any difficulty in talking about my religious views publicly as these were aligned with those of the majority of population and people living around me.
Post 9/11 era brought a totally different image of Pakistan to us – the citizens of Pakistan. We used to be a Country that was a heaven for tourists but after 9/11 we turned into a heaven for terrorists. The seeds General Zia-ul-haq sowed were now grown trees who have produced several more terrorists through trainings they got through the ISI and the American support for war against Soviets. A Pakistani citizen who have no idea about the situation, learned names like Mullah Omar, Gulbudeen Hikmatyaar, Osama Bin Laden, Baitullah Mehsud and so on.. all this through the boom of social media platforms, by that the common citizens started knowing about – what is going on in Pakistan.
The Kashmir conflict is a territorial conflict primarily between India and Pakistan, having started just after the partition of India in 1947. There are several reasons involved including the interest of China, Water dispute – because Kashmir is the hub of water reservoir that is distributed among 4 Countries – 60% of the catchment areas with Pakistan, 20 percent with India, 5% Afghanistan, and 15% China (Tibet Region). The conflict remains between Pakistan and India that resulted in loss of several human beings.
Edhi is was a prominent Pakistani philanthropist,social activist, and above all a humanitarian. He was the founder and head of the Edhi Foundation in Pakistan and ran the organization for the better part of six decades. He was known as Angel of Mercy and was considered Pakistan’s “most respected” and legendary figure. In 2013, The Huffington Post said that he might be “the world’s greatest living humanitarian.
There is a saying in Pakistan that the people in the 1900’s and earlier lived longer lives because their diet was hygienic. People then were healthier and had less disease/sickness than people living now. To compare the generations, simply observe the drastic differences in the types of foods they consumed. Diets of the past consisted of fresh, home-grown, home-cooked, healthy choices and have evolved into packaged, preserved, unhealthy junk-foods. This change is also defined through the development of cities where people have less, or no access to farmer’s markets to buy fresh food; whereas, in villages, farmer’s markets are an integral part of local life. Interestingly, the U.S is no different than Pakistan as the people in counties are more attracted to healthy food than the urban areas where the concept of farmer’s markets is comparatively less.
A couple of months ago I attended a talk on ‘Today’s Peacebuilders…Tomorrow’s World Leaders’, hosted by Initiatives of Change USA. The underlying theme for the talk was how violent extremism in the world today could be addressed peacefully, and drew specifically on how leading thinkers and activists such as Gandhi, Mandela, and King would have countered violent extremism in today’s world.