SAYC 2012

South Asian Youth Conference   2012


Youth from South Asia will gather in Islamabad next month to promote peace and development in the region.

The South Asian Youth Conference (SAYC) 2012, hosted by National University of Science and Technology, will be held between November 5 and 10, said a press release issued by organisers. The conference aims to empower the youth of the region and utilise their potential to erase the gaps between the countries to progress together. SAYC was formed when a group of South Asian youth joined hands at the fifth World Youth Congress in Turkey. Having deep cultural and historical connections, the group felt the need for a space where young leaders can discuss and collaborate to improve relations, said the statement. This led to the Blue Ribbon Movement organising the first SAYC in Bangalore. It managed to get every country in the SAARC region represented and became synonymous with the idea of peace. This year, the conference moves from its country of origin to Pakistan. SAYC 2012 is primarily being lead by Hila, a youth-oriented organisation with a sole purpose to gather the youth under a platform for global issues.

The South Asian Youth Conference 2012, which features 120 delegates from eight countries belonging to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), kicked off with an opening ceremony at the Pak-China Friendship Centre on Monday.

“I believe the only way forward is peace, and for that we need to initiate a dialogue within and across societies, between governments as well as nations,” Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told delegates at the opening ceremony. It is unfortunate that the South Asian region has been hijacked by the relationship between Pakistan and India, he said but added that the two governments have entered a process of dialogue for cooperation in the fields of education, trade and sports.

Activities in the other days of Summit

The third day of the South Asian Youth Conference revolved around education, with delegates engaging in thematic sessions, workshops and various interactive activities.

As delegates waited patiently for keynote speaker Member National Assembly Dr Nafisa Shah to arrive, some of them came up on stage to perform songs, with one delegate giving background music with his guitar. As the MNA arrived, students handling social media were quick to pop up their laptops for twitter updates and arrange for her speech’s live streaming on the internet. Shah discussed the challenges faced by South Asian countries, focusing mainly on the economy and natural disasters. “According to a UNESCO study, over half of the world’s illiterate people live in four countries, three of which are in South Asia,” she said. The MNA also paid tribute to Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old Pakistani activist who was injured in an assassination attempt by the Taliban last month for raising her voice for education.

“Without education, we cannot develop a peaceful, tolerant society that respects diverse opinions and promotes multiculturalism,” she remarked. She also discussed the effect of terrorism on the state of education in the country. “With over 700 schools damaged in militancy-hit areas, we face a huge challenge in rebuilding the education sector.” As the social media team furiously typed every word she spoke, the compère announced that the conference’s live updates had become the most discussed topic on twitter in Pakistan. The announcement was received with a round of applause and cheer from the delegates.

“It has been an amazing experience so far. It feels as if one has come back home after a long time. Such interactive sessions should be held regularly to clear the misconceptions we have about each other,” said an Indian delegate as he stood up to thank Shah. The delegates also enjoyed a rock concert by underground bands in the evening. The six-day conference is being organized by HILA, a non-partisan Pakistani organisation working towards developing leadership skills among the youth. As many as 120 delegates from eight countries are attending the event. All the entertainment events are taking place at Ibex Club, while the discussions and other activities are being held at the National University of Science and Technology. The conference will end on November 10.

Kaira asked the younger generation to take the lead in improving regional relations. “I believe peace will come through the youth,” he added. “No country, no institutions can stop you from bridging the gap and making the region peaceful and prosperous.”

Chief organiser Naseem Khan Achakzai said the conference was unique because on November 9, which is being called ‘Action Day,’ the delegates will actually implement the action plans they devised during the first three days.

One of the Indian delegates, Abhishek Thakur said that while they connected deeply and had fun in Turkey, they also faced the grim reality that their countries had tight borders and difficult relations at the socioeconomic level.

“I thought that’s a reality we need to change,” Thakur said, speaking at the opening ceremony.

  • Networking
  • Youth Talks
  • Activities


Mr. Awais Raoof
Chairman BOG, University of Lahore & CSRP

We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.

Jehangir Khanzada
Minister for Youth and Sports Punjab

Youth is the best time to be rich, and the best time to be poor. .

Mr Shehbaz Sharif
Former Chief Minister of Punjab

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Sana Jamali
Member of Senate of Pakistan

The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.”

Mushahid Hussain
Member of Senate of Pakistan

If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.

Shibli Faraz
National assembly secretariat

To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.


Our Team

Naseem Khan Achakzai

Naseem is the Founding Director of Center for Sustainability Research and Practice, UOL and the Founder of the International Youth Summit Series. He holds a Masters degree in Public administration and is also a Commonwealth Scholar for MSc Poverty Reduction at SOAS, University of London.

Elyas Kakar

He started his career with Capital TV as Social Media Executive. Being an effective social media practitioner, Elyas has a service-oriented mindset and has organized several projects for various organizations. He has also conducted various non-profit fundraising projects; he has also worked on cordial ties with political mainstream and members of civil society. Youth empowerment and SDGs are his main area of focus.

Saddam Shah

Studying Defence and Strategic Studies at QAU, Islamabad. He writes in Balochistan Voices and CPSD and a member of National Youth Assembly, Pakistan. Social Activist, Writer and actively participates in youth events. “Contribute through all means of knowledge for the well-being of people around and on the earth”

Ume Kulsoom

Student of MBBS at BMC, Quetta and Graduate of kinnaired College, Lahore. Writer, Public Speaker, Social Activist. The motto of Ume Kulsoom: “The world gives the givers, and takes away from the takers. The sole purpose of my life is to just become a “giver” (inspired by Qaiser Abbas).

Sheeraz Ahmed

He has done B.E Civil Engineering. Recently, he is pursuing career-prep fellowship from Amal Academy. Besides, He participated in an International conference named as International Youth Summit Lahore that was themed as Sustainability, Peace and Education. His area of interests are Role of Pakistani Youth in Governance, Education and Water Crisis. Because of such interests, he works with local organizations and sensitization campaigns. “Young and efficient person believes in working for social, moral and systematic reforms, needed to make the society worth living”