Peshawar, Pakistan – January 07, 2024: The Peace and Education Foundation (PEF) conducted a phenomenal four-day workshop on the capacity building of youth hailing from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s different districts. These young participants hailed from various backgrounds including, religio-political parties, madrassas, social work, and media. This dedicated cohort has been equipped with the essential knowledge and values of democracy, enabling them to comprehend their pivotal role in shaping the democratic landscape of Pakistan.

The workshop’s inaugurated warmly by Ms. Irsa Shafiq, the project manager, share the project’s objectives and scope, providing a comprehensive overview of key terminologies. She also led sessions on developing seed projects aimed at increasing youth’s political participation in Pakistan. Dr. Muhamad Hussain, author of the recently launched book “Democracy and Pakistani Youth,” facilitated engaging reading circles, discussions, and experiential activities to explore different aspects of democracy.

Distinguished subject matter experts from academia delivered sessions which included Dr. Amir Raza delivered a session on Islam, Democracy, and the Muslim World: Case Studies, Dr. Sikandar Khan commenced a session on State, Government and Governance. Advocate Qaiser Shah concluded a session on Constitution of Pakistan: Fundamental Human Rights and our responsibilities as citizens, and Mr. Sameer Ali Khan delivered a session on Democracy and Role of Technology.

One of the highlights of the workshop was a mock election exercise, which actively engaged participants in the democratic voting process, further reinforcing their understanding of it. The culmination of the three-day workshop was marked by PEF’s strategic move to organize these young democracy advocates into clusters, empowering them to champion democratic values within their respective communities through community engagement projects, social media campaigns, and print media publications.

Notable figures, including Dr. Qibla Ayaz, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology, Beenish Asmatullah, Coordinator Lincoln Corner at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar, Fida-ur-Rehman, Professor FAST University Peshawar Campus, and Dr. Ayaz Khan, Chief Coordination Officer (CCO) Centre of Excellence, Countering Violent Extremism graced the closing ceremony with their insights on the workshop’s significance and the crucial role of youth in advancing democracy in Pakistan.

The activity yielded a remarkable breakthrough: Dr. Ayaz Khan, Chief Coordination Officer (CCO) at the Centre of Excellence, extended internship offers to the youth advocates. His urged the participants to seize the chance to join the Centre of Excellence. Emphasizing that this opportunity would not only immerse them in the state’s institutional framework but will also allow them to apply the invaluable lessons acquired during the workshop.

The training received resounding endorsements from both participants and trainers alike, it served as a pivotal gateway into understanding the democratic rights and duties of citizens. One participant highlighted the impact saying,

“Participating in the workshop was truly transformative. Before, I was unaware of the complexities of the electoral process, despite my active involvement in district elections. The enlightening experience made me realize the profound significance of my involvement, reshaping my perspective on civic engagement.”