Islamabad: (May 10, 2018): Oxfam in Pakistan, Project Jugnu, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Netherlands and the Embassy of France jointly organized a grand youth convention and festival to
celebrate the achievements of Pakistani youth. The convention was held at the Pakistan National
Council of Arts (PNCA) and featured panel discussions on youth and gender, theater performances,
talks by notable youth leaders and a documentary on youth by the French Embassy. Vibrant stalls with
cultural food, youth exhibits and souvenirs greeted the guests and the closing ceremony featured a
cyclothon lead by Abdur Rehman Palwa for youth solidarity.
During the welcoming speech, Oxfam in Pakistan’s Country Director, Mohammed Qazilbash remarked,
“With their energy, skills and creativity, the youth of Pakistan has the potential to be a driving force for social change, strong economies and vibrant democracies. Pakistan at present has the largest percentage of young people with 64% of its population below 30 years of age. Harnessing the energy and strength of these young people and encouraging them to become active citizens, is the goal of Oxfam’s transformational change.”
Panel discussions were held on the issues of marginalized youth and their role in meeting the national
agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Vision 2025. The convention also featured
inspirational talks by trans youth activist and anchor Marvia Malik and youth leader Ali Abbas of Sab
Rang. The edutainment based theatre performance was followed by young leaders sharing their
The French Embassy’s Head of Development and Cultural Affairs, André de Bussy, discussed the
French perspective on youth and gender. He stated, “Last year France elected a young 39-year- old
president. It was France’s message to the world that we support and encourage youth. We have
implemented new policies to address gender inequality and to encourage inclusiveness.”
The Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Netherlands Ms. Josephine Frantzen applauded the efforts of
Oxfam in Pakistan and said,
“Netherlands encourages inclusiveness and equality, and so we are happy to sponsor this convention that has brought together men, women and transgender youth on one platform. We hope to promote tolerance and peace through engaging and empowering the young generation and we look forward to such activities in the future”.
Pakistan has around 56 million youth and youth spaces are shrinking day by day. There is a dearth for
appropriate platforms where youth can express themselves and realize their potential in economic,
social and political and civic spheres. There are no better investments to make in Pakistan today than
investments in our youth. The three key investments of quality education, gainful employment and
meaningful engagement will make a significant difference in the lives of Pakistani youth. Provide these
and we will empower them to unleash their potential.
Oxfam aims to enable young people to fulfill this potential and to shape their own futures. We believe
youth have the right to voice their needs, to hold their governments to account, and to be listened to as
members of society and rights-holders; as active citizens. They can play a vital role in reducing poverty
and transforming their societies. Oxfam intends to bring about long term change in communities by
engaging and mobilizing the youth of Pakistan.