A new World erxists here, by Sara Hasan – where can you find a group of Indians singing a birthday song for a Pakistani girl, while Palestinian students voice their desire for peace, and a Sindhi girl talks about the impact of lack of water on her father’s sugarcane and wheat farms?
Where can you see an Australian student interacting with Pakistani locals, while a Sri Lankan youth group proclaims its need for better education and employment opportunities?
Where can you meet face to face with the Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik, chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front?
Unrealistic as it may sound, all this has been made possible by the World Social Forum, where a lot of young people are taking part – either as volunteers, participants, meetings organizers, or activists.
WSF has brought young people of diverse backgrounds together, young people who will be the leaders, writers, historians, farmers, policy devisors and politicians of tomorrow. Their opinions and mindsets matter greatly, because although what is done is past, young people are now seeking to make the coming generation aware of grassroots problems that many urban leaders are either unaware of or immune to.
“WSF is something unusual. I heard about the one held in Brazil, which was held on the roads, but I suppose our venue is good enough and I personally have been working for it since April last,” said Khalida Brohi, a student from Islamabad.
She and others are implementing true globalisation by interacting with young people from across the world.
“I’ve been here since 8.30, and I met a group of Palestinian students and it was embarrassing to see them just wandering about from one corner to another to get a stall for themselves,” said a Pakistani student.
“I’m doing a research paper on the Indo-Pak peace movement and youth involvement, and I thought there were significant gaps between the mindsets of youth and their parents but I’m amazed to find out that the parents are quite broad-minded,” said Marise, a cultural anthropology student from the Netherlands.
“I came with an opinion that I was a complete stranger but the people here are so friendly,” said Sky Croeser, an Australian student of political sciences who has recently spent three months in India.
But while some consider the forum to be an ideal one for their concerns, others feel there is a certain degree of disorganisation.
“WSF is good but it could have been awesome. There is a lack of organisation and I believe many people, especially local students, are fairly unaware about it,” remarked Tooba, a student in Karachi.
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