IAF Gummersbach Alumni Network
Informed Citizenship and Digitalization

Understanding Citizenship in Digital Age

Understanding Citizenship in Digital Age, FNF IAF Alumni Workshop, Lahore September 2021

© FNF Pakistan

"A responsible citizenry is the foundation stone of a healthy society. Citizens are owners of society and who are citizens? You and me!" as shared by Dr. Faheem ul Islam, Rector of GIFT University, Gujranwala as key note speker at the closing ceremony of the two days workshop with youth in Lahore.

"Only informed and law-abiding citizens can play a role in policymaking by holding their leaders accountable. Knowing your role as a citizen will transform your interaction with community and political leadership. Citizens should broaden their participation in the community which will eventually lead to their participation in decision-making. Digital advancement has made communication faster and easier. In order to make use of technology we need to know its challenges as well," he emphasised. 

Professor Sumaira Noreen,  IAF Gummersbach Alumnus, encouraged participants to play a positive role in society by having confidence in their ability to be change makers. She emphasised that youth can easily perform simple but powerful activities to make a difference in society. "Youth must realise their strengths and explore ways to become useful for society at large," she stressed.“

Before attending this workshop I did not ever think about citizenship vs nationality

Ms.Ramna Saeed, 23, university student, Pakistan

Democracies thrive on active citizenship. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how important it is that citizens are active in order to protect and promote their community’s interests,” said Tahira Habib, emphasising the importance of active citizenship. “Communication methods have become diverse in the digital world, and the digital space is now an important platform for citizens to actively communicate with each other and interact with their local authorities. But the principles of citizenship remain the same as before. Digital communication methods and platforms have made communication much easier across the world, but at times more challenging for effective engagement. How we participate in local decision-making may be changing but our participation as active citizens’ is key for a sustainable  democracy. "

Sharing the work and efforts of FNF Pakistan on training and educating the youth in a progressive manner , Mr. Muhammad Anwar , Head of Programs and Administration shared, "FNF puts premium on creating awareness of responsible citizenship in the context of a rapidly changing society!"

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Asma Pervez explained about the key principles of  human rights i.e. unalienability, universality and indivisibility along with the challenge to get these implemented. Further she explained the dynamics of digital citizenship and talked about different aspects of safe and secure digital life including digital footprint, digital rights and obligations, downloads and password security etc.

The main themes discussed during the two days included the concept of citizenship and its history, cyber security challenges and tools to deal with them, state of citizens’ rights and role of youth. Ramna Saeed, a university student , observed that the insights she gathered during the workshop and her newly acquired skills will surely improve her performance and productivity in future. "Before attending this workshop I did not ever think about citizenship vs nationality," she told the participants.

The two-day workshop on "Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age", organised with the Alumni Network of IAF Gummersbach from Pakistan as moderators and key note speakers was conducted in Lahore in September 2021. Ms Tahira Habib and Ms. Asma Pervez (both IAF Alumni) were moderating the session with a vibrant group of participants hailing from different cities and factions of society.

 The participants prepared and presented an action plan to improve state of women rights, children rights, transgender rights and men's rights in Pakistan. Several participants pledged to replicate the workshop in their communities.