Fostering Youth Empowerment Straight from Gujranwala Medical CollegeJanuary 26th, 2024
by Monica Islam
Not too long ago, two institutions—Gujranwala Medical College Welfare Society (GWS) and Red Crescent Gujranwala—collaborated to organize the Commonwealth Youth Empowerment Seminar 2023, with a view to nurturing youth development, empowerment and leadership in Gujranwala, a large industrial city in Pakistan which is also known as the “City of Wrestlers” and is famous for its food.
An eminent panel of Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) officers and doctors of Pakistan spoke at this event. Sehar Bano, Professor Dr. Syed Asif, Taqwa Ahmad, Dr. Irfan Qayum, Dr. Imran Baloch, Bilal Butt, Shabir Hussain and Sajjad Masood Chisti spoke to about 200 attendees, on themes of leadership qualities, infaq fee sabil lillah (spending in the cause of God), youth motivation, mental health, crisis management, personality development, etc.
The key organizers were Mohsin Ali Khan and Amna Azhar, then 3rd year MBBS students. The GWS team was guided by Usama Shafique and Maham Shehbaz, both final year MBBS students. They worked diligently to deliver an astounding event for the youths of Gujranwala.
With all my gratitude to advanced digital technology that bridged our geographical divide, I caught up with one of the organizers—Mohsin Ali Khan—to reminisce on the event and to project his aspirations for a seminar of similar kind. Here is a transcript of what transpired between us:
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your co-organizers.
I currently study 4th Year MBBS in Gujranwala Medical College (GMC), a government institute of Punjab province. I spend most of my free time in sports, hiking, hunting and fishing. GMC Welfare Society (GWS) is a non-profit society of medical students and doctors of Gujranwala which works for humanity in Gujranwala, Lahore, Jhelum and Sialkot. This society arranges medicines for poor patients, organizes events for youths of Gujranwala and works for empowerment of youths of Gujranwala. GWS and Red Crescent Gujranwala have achieved many milestones. One of them is Commonwealth Youth Empowerment Seminar 2023.
What inspired you to organize the Commonwealth Youth Empowerment Seminar?
I saw on website of the Commonwealth that 2023 is designated as Year of Youth by the Commonwealth and that it encourages young people to arrange youth activities according to the objectives of the Commonwealth. Also, I thought awareness about the Commonwealth in Gujranwala is the need of the hour because many people were not aware of the Commonwealth.
Describe the kind of response you have received from the participants. What ideals and solutions did they take back home after attending the Commonwealth Youth Empowerment Seminar?
Participants were very impressed by speakers and enjoyed the atmosphere. The speakers shared their struggles. They narrated many success stories. The participants were introduced to problem-solving strategies to control and combat natural crises like flood, earthquake, fire, etc.
Do you wish to host an event of a similar nature in the near future? What kind of support are you striving for from the local, regional and international community?
Yes, because hosting social events improves leadership and management skills. I learned a lot of things from this seminar. I would love to arrange events that bring fruitful changes to the lives of young people. The local community is very cooperative because of its respect towards the medical profession, one of the most respectable fields in Pakistan. The international community is enriched with resources so I must request that it sponsor such events which are organized by students because in developing countries there are few opportunities for students.
What do the themes “Youth Empowerment” and “Global Community” mean for the Commonwealth?
The Commonwealth is an international organization working across 56 countries. The Commonwealth makes youth immune from present challenges. This organization believes in youth independency and prosperity. Empowered and democratic youth play constructive roles for the betterment of the “Global Community” across 56 countries.
What general advice do you have for the youths of the Commonwealth with regard to managing an event of this stature?
Formulate an energetic team. Ensure two to three persons who will always remain ready during preparation. Check and rehearse systems, like sound system, one day before the event.
Any parting words for your expectant Commonwealth friends?
Invest your time and energy in activities which benefit the global community.