Understand Each Other
Dialogue and culture were once an integral part of Pakistani society. Sadly, the tradition got lost. Pakistan's society is not a monolith, and the country is home to numerous ethnic and linguistic groups that differ from each other.
We facilitate these ethnic and linguistic groups and different social groups to hold dialogue and try to understand each other's points of view. We celebrate Pakistan's culture, which has been constantly hit by a wave of obscurantism for five decades.
We work with literati, artists, social groups, arts councils, and public, private, and development partners to promote dialogue and culture across the country. Understanding each other brings peace and opportunities.
United States Institute of Peace funded the first-ever Mardan Literary Festival in 2019. The LitFest aimed at creating safe spaces and held a series of activities that highlighted and mainstreamed the local history, arts, culture, literature, and artists.
The project partnered with Abdul Wali Khan University, Women University Mardan, the district government, and civil society organizations and leaders. The Mardan LitFest promoted progressive public intellectuals and provided them with platforms to present their narrative to a broad range of audiences, particularly youth.
The project also engaged and encouraged the literati among women, minorities, and youth.
After the success of the first Multan Literary Festival held in 2017 (mentioned below), DAI sponsored a more extensive project, and the LitFest-2018 broadened the activities' scope.
Instead of focusing on Multan city alone, this LitFest brought together intellectuals, historians, artists, and civil society leaders from South Punjab. The event held a series of activities, particularly with the government and business community, encouraging them to create local ownership of the festival. The lead partners were the Multan Tea House, Bahauddin Zakariya University, and the Women University, Multan.
In addition, civil society organizations also played an active role in the success of the second Multan LitFest.
With financial cooperation from DAI, CSED held the first-ever Multan Literary Festival in 2017 and mobilized the local stakeholders, particularly the local literati and civil society, to connect and work with local youth in the universities and communities.
The motive was to create ownership among the people about their local heritage that they had forgotten. The undercurrents of violent extremism had created fear and coerced the local population to shun their heritage.
Officials from the Punjab Higher Education Commission were mainly involved in providing leadership and helping institute the promotion of literature, arts, and other softer approaches to peacebuilding and social cohesion in the universities and communities.