It has been nearly four years since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. It was history made; the country’s first African-American President. Millions of people in the U.S. supported the now President, but some of the key voters in the 2008 Presidential Election were the young voters.
Back in November 2008, a day after the election, Melissa Dahl of msnbc.com wrote about how the youth turnout may have been the key to Obama’s win; Check out her piece. Most of the 18 to 29 year-old voters elected to go Democratic. The youth voters helped create history in front of our eyes.
The youth have been key players and organizers in majority of the Arab Spring demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa. It was with the youth’s vigor and desire to change the way things were, and their smart phones and social media accounts, that they helped bring down decades-old regimes in their respective countries.
Three years ago, in another region of the world, a peace initiative was started by many young people, and is still going strong, one small stepping stone at a time.
It is called “Aman ki Asha” or “Hope for Peace”; an Indo-Pak Peace Initiative.
What is Aman ki Asha, who initiated it, and why?
Aman ki Asha is a campaign for peace between India and Pakistan, jointly initiated by the Jang Group of Pakistan and The Times of India Group.
The words Aman ki Asha mean ‘hope for peace’. Aman is an Urdu word, meaning peace. Asha is a Hindi word, meaning hope. The combination of the two languages reflects the collaborative spirit of this initiative.
The objective of Aman ki Asha is to create an enabling environment to facilitate dialogue between the governments, encourage people-to-people contacts and thus contribute to bringing about peace between India and Pakistan.
The two leading media groups of the two countries decided to launch this initiative. The first video is of the anthem, sung by Indian singer Shankar Mahadevan and Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
This video is set somewhere on the India-Pakistan border. It shows an elderly Pakistani gentleman, signaling to the person on the India side (playing charades), a specific radio request. At the end, the request is fulfilled and both sides are cheering joyfully.
Just recently, on Tuesday, February 14, 2012, students from Pakistan and India met together in New Delhi, India, discussing the Aman Ki Asha initiative (which brought them together), and how they can bring youth from both countries together to start forming solutions on a unified platform. “After for than an hour of free-flowing conversation it was clear that minds uncluttered with the baggage of the past are our best bet for our collective future.”
The student came up with a charter and presented it to the media groups that initiated Aman Ki Asha:
> Accurate portrayal of each other in the media
> Visa on arrival for students
> Student exchange programs
> More admission facilities for Pakistani students in Indian institutions
> Revival of cricketing ties
> Exchange of musicians, artists and other cultural ambassadors
> Creation of a permanent platform where students from both countries can interact
Youth are a driving force behind many of the world’s changes. Many experienced groups of people think that the youth are “slackers” and can’t present any helpful nor useful ideas that could “move” their country…or the world. This entry is a stepping stone to show how youth have changed, and are still changing the way the world works.