IAF Gummersbach Alumni Network
Linking empathy with public policy making

Syed Yawar Abbas Bukhari, Minister Social Welfare and Baitul-Mal, Punjab , giving concluding remarks to youth participants in Lahore.
Syed Yawar Abbas Bukhari, Minister Social Welfare and Baitul-Mal, Punjab , giving concluding remarks to youth participants in Lahore. © Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Pakistan

The linkage of empathy and public policy can give some unprecedented and creative ideas to policy developers. The example given by Syed Yawar Abbas Bukhari, Minister Social Welfare and Baitul-Mal, Punjab (TW @SYABukhari) of shelter home for transgender shows this thought process in action:  "When we were working on shelter homes for transgenders people would ask us 'Why go for a shelter home for transgenders?!!' They are our brothers and sisters; they are a creature of God. Here we need to have empathy. We need to think like a transgender: 'if I am a transgender, what will I go through! How will the society react to me!' ” he shared, underscoring the need and benefits of engaging Youth in intellectual conversations.

He was talking to a group of youth in Lahore who took part in “Youth for Social Development and Integration” and sharing examples of what current Govt is doing to promote Peace through curricula and Empathy in the society. This workshop aimed to develop link between peace education in curriculum and practice of empathy. Talking about the emphasis on youth in Pakistan “65% of our population is youth, involving them in policy making is extremely important for us especially in an ever evolving world that we are experiencing after COVID-19”  

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“Policy making becomes powerful when it’s basis is on both empathy and facts. In-depth understanding of empathy can help you start a meaningful dialogue with policy makers and opinion leaders!” as shared by Dr. Rakhshinda Perveen (TW @dr_rakhshinda)  moderating the 2 day workshop. While giving participants instructions to complete a group work she said, “Don’t forget the policy owners, think like one when you are developing your ideas and recommendations”

The session was comoderated by Ms. Zeeba Hashmi (TW @zeebahashmi) and focused on peace education. While talking about benefits of Peace Education especially for youth she explained that conflict resolution without violence can only be done if our youth is trained to handle such scenarios from a young age. She also discussed peace education from the lens of education depravity.

Policy making becomes powerful when it’s basis is on both empathy and facts.

Dr. Rakhshinda Perveen

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The participants who are aspiring to contribute towards different domains of national development through the power of purpose and knowledge blended with empathy and tolerance took great interest in all components of this workshop. This exercise was seen as the creation of a new platform to the active development players where they can share the alternate perspectives and some practical strategies for the political parties, civil society and media.

“The youth of Pakistan is a driving force for ironing out the creases that are hindering the bright future of Pakistan. They dream of a Pakistan where there is zero tolerance towards extremism, where neither marginalized segments are persecuted, nor deprived of their civil and moral rights.” Ms. Sobia Majeed a participant explained what she learned during the 2 days workshop.

 

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FNF Pakistan organized a 2-day workshop with 23 youth in Lahore on 15-16 July 2021. The knowledge-awareness-skill based workshop evolved through combining two different ideas pitched  by two women alumnae Dr. Rakshinda Perveen(Kafe Kaam) and Ms. Zeeba Hashmi (Ibtidah) of IAF-Gummersbach from Pakistan, during the alumni meeting in 2020.