Pak-Afghan Youth Forum Conducts a 3 Day Workshop for Thought Multipliers in Islamabad


Islamabad; 31st January 2021: The “Multiplying Thoughts: Narratives and Storytelling in a Digital World” workshop by Pak Afghan Youth Forum commenced on 29th January. It was hosted by Pak Afghan Youth Forum, a youth-based think tank aiming to improve people to people contact between Pakistan and Afghanistan and work towards regional peace.

The whole purpose of this media workshop was to bring together Pakistani digital media influencers and have them interact while learning about the importance of narratives and the risks of exploitation. The initiative hopes to enable deeper understanding and responsibility when it comes to popular young influencers and digital journalists. The 3-day media workshop involved activities like lectures and various hands-on exercises, as well as a hike, and bonfire nights for the participants to enjoy and learn from.

The event boasts the inclusion of some very well-known media personalities and influencers. Some important policymakers and academicians also participated in the event as well as Senators, and national assembly members as guests. The sessions of the workshops were led by diplomats, academics, researchers, digital media producers, and more. There was even a discussion with a former army official.

Day 1 of the workshop started with a session by a former diplomat, Ambassador Ghalib Iqbal who spoke on the role that digital media influencers can play in presenting Pakistan’s narrative in the global sphere. There was then a session with Ms. Mishaal Mariam Moin, a researcher and master trainer with Digital Institute Pakistan, on distinguishing facts from fake news. Following Jummah prayers and a lunch break, Mr. Ehtisham Abbas, Director of CCP Pakistan, held a session on the 10 Cs of Strategic Communication. The event was followed by an opening dinner honoured by Senator Faisal Javed and Senator Sitara Ayaz.

Day 2 started with a hike in the Margallas to explore nature and went on to include a session with Umer Shiraz on Exploring Narratives Using Foresight. Then, Qaiser Ali, the CEO of Nashpati Prime, a leading digital content platform, led a session about the differences between traditional and digital media, and how any opinion can be presented and any critique can be given as long as it is given tactfully, such as through satire. Then there was a session by Ahsan Hamid Durrani, a policymaker and advocate for youth inclusion, about ideas, and identities and how to question the narratives presented to us. The day ended with an informal bonfire night with a live barbecue.

Day 3 began with an informal activity-based with Salman Javed, Director PAYF, on non-traditional security threats and how exploitation is done through propaganda and misinformation. Then, Khurram Ellahi, PTV host, writer, and motivational speaker spoke about how narratives are shaped by poetry and storytelling. Afterwards, some of the participants, especially the journalists amongst them, such as Arif Khattak, Razia Mahsud, Faizullah Khan, and Ali Zai had a detailed panel discussion about their experiences for the benefit of social media marketing influencers. The former Defence Minister and Former Defence Secretary Lt. Gen ( R) Naeem Khalid Lodhi then had an open, and detailed discussion with the participants on civil-military relations.

The workshop ended with a formal closing dinner in which the participants were presented with certificates by the Chief Guest, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Qasim Suri. Pak Afghan Youth Forum hopes that the digital influencers learnt a lot and networked, and will be responsible, honest, and careful with their content and the content they share.


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