ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN: At the opening of the International Summer Workshop (ISW) on August 19, 2022, speakers highlighted the importance of regional connectivity, stability, and peace for sustainable development in the Pakistan-Afghanistan and the broader South and Central Asia region. The event marked the inauguration of the 10-day long exchange and dialogue program, organized by Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Pakistan and the National Dialogue Forum (NDF), for young students from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Ms. Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Special Assistant of the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Youth Affairs, in her keynote address said A peaceful, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan will be in benefit of the region and advantageous for Pakistan. For all this to happen, it is important for both Afghanistan and Pakistan to support each other and develop a relationship that will benefit the people on each side, Mr. Alfred Grannas, the German Ambassador-Designate to Pakistan, in his first informal public appearance, remarked: The European Union (EU) is an excellent example of regional integration’s importance and potential.
For me, youth plays an important role in shaping the relationships between countries Mr. Thomas Seiler, Chargé d’Affaires of the EU Delegation to Pakistan saw a link between the ISW and the EU’s own efforts for Indo-Pacific cooperation. He pointed out the potential of regional connectivity – also in areas that are often forgotten such as vocational training.
Mr. Sheharyar Khan, Executive Director, NDF, welcomed all participants on behalf of the NDF and said: We hope that these seeds of cooperation that we are planting today, will develop into cultural and civic relationships that will serve as the foundation for stronger people-to-people relations in the region.
Dr. Steffen Kudella, the Resident Representative of HSF Pakistan, said: Sustainable development is a form of intergenerational ethics, and therefore it is a choice. Dear students, this makes you the most precious resource of the Pakistan-Afghanistan region! Because you own the future. There is no sustainable political development of this region without you.
The event aims to bring together diverse group of young socio-political multipliers from the South and Central Asian region (including Afghan refugee students) and to provide them with the opportunity to exchange political, economic, social and cultural perspectives on regional challenges, and to understand the effects of new developments on their countries.
This year, 27 young leaders from Afghanistan and Pakistan are attending the immersive and interactive ISW with a
thematic focus on peace and stability through regional connectivity. The interactive workshop will feature key
policymakers, academics, journalists, and subject specialists for an engaging session and intensive intellectual
The opening ceremony was attended by a diverse audience including diplomats, professors, civil society activists,
journalists, and representatives of different national and international organizations.