Indian students initiate an exchange visit with Pakistan
A ground breaking initiative of Rotary International and Aman ki Asha got underway this week as five Indian students along with their team leader arrived in Pakistan on Dec 18th as part of the first Youth Exchange programme aimed at promoting better understanding between the two countries.
All the hospitality and expenses of the ten-day visit are being taken care of by Rotarians, with the visiting students being provided home hospitality by Pakistani Rotarians and their families. This immersion and exposure into the lives of Pakistanis will give them a unique insider's perspective into the hearts and minds of people here. They will also have the opportunity to learn about business and professional achievements in various fields.
Next year, a group of Pakistani students is expected to visit India and similarly experience home hospitality by Rotarians there.
The arrival of the Indian students and the forthcoming visit of the Pakistani students to India is the beginning of a programme agreed upon during a meeting in July this year of the Joint Working Group of Rotary and Aman ki Asha of India and Pakistan.
The meeting, held on the sidelines of the Aman ki Asha Health Committee meeting in New Delhi, had reviewed progress on ongoing programmes like Heart to Heart (providing medical care to needy Pakistani and Indian children). Members also discussed how to take forward other ideas, particularly those related to health and youth.
The Working Group agreed that such a youth exchange would contribute towards building better understanding, developing goodwill and building peace in the region.
The Working Group also agreed to facilitate family exchange programmes to enable families from both sides of the border to have a two-week exchange programme in which they will stay at each other's homes. Such exchanges will also help building the bonds of friendship and goodwill.
"Few people get this opportunity to go to Pakistan and learn about their culture, understand their beliefs and values. I would not want to miss this opportunity. I want to maintain good relations with our neighbouring country" - Parth Singhania, a student of chartered accountancy, Ryan International School, Haryana.
"I want to explore Pakistan and get to know the real picture via first hand experience" - Sachi Bhuttani, 11th grade, Modern School, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi.
"My urge to propagate 'Aman ki Asha' motivates me to regularly interact with people across the border and understand their perspectives. I have played host to the Pakistani delegation from Lord's International school, Lahore, who visited Agra (my hometown). We had earlier co-participated at the Geo-Fest International organised by City Montessori School, Lucknow in 2005 and 2006. We have been exchanging gifts and greetings since then. I look forward to a great learning experience and to again to make friends with some of the most hospitable and awesome people" - Karan Raghav, a student of finance, Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, University of Delhi.
"I consider myself an ambassador of peace and love from India. I want to help establish friendship, trust and harmony between the people of the two countries" - Tanima Narang, 11th grade, Modern School, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi (she is also a national level badminton player and ikebana artist).
"As a responsible citizen of India, it is an honour for me to participate in a programme which aims to improve the strained relations between the two countries" - Bhavya Mahajan, 11th grade, Modern School, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi."
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
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