Friends Beyond Borders: Eight-Week Virtual Peace Building Course
With the aim to facilitate people-to-people communication and create a culture of mutual respect and understanding, Aaghaz-e-Dosti has launched Friends Beyond Borders, an eight-week virtual peace building course to facilitate bonds of friendship and understanding between Indians and Pakistanis. Friends Beyond Borders is the first and only virtual peace building course in South Asia.
In Friends Beyond Border, an Indian and a Pakistani has been paired to be “Indo-Pak E-Pals”. Through this eight-week interactive course, the fellows or the Indo-Pak E-Pals are guided by a mentor who gives them weekly plans/activities based on a curriculum designed to familiarize them with the ‘other’, its culture, society, politics and the existence of divergent narratives. The interaction and exchange of knowledge between the fellows is assisted by trained mentors, peace resources prepared by Aaghaz-e-Dosti and lectures by academicians.
Friends Beyond Borders aims to develop critical thinking, acceptance and respect for differences in order to celebrate similarities with a belief in peace and dialogue as the sane way forward.
At the completion of the course, a certificate is awarded to the fellows.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti has successfully concluded the first season:
For the first session, Aaghaz-e-Dosti received a total of 80 applications from people of both countries. Applications came from different parts of India and Pakistan which included major as well as smaller cities and towns. The applicants varied in terms of their age and profession. The applicants also differ in terms of their motivation to join the course. While there were some for whom this would be the first attempt to reach out to people across the border, to know about the culture, many, Muhammad Zuhaib Arain from Hyderabad (Pakistan) being one of them applied because he carries an emotional bond as grandparents had migrated from Amritsar.
Preference was given to people who had no friends beyond the borders. The selected fellows were Akshay Mankar, Ankush Vats, Aasma Pratap Singh, Fayaz Shaikh, Jasmine Singh, Muddasir Hassan, Manish Harish Yadav, Preeti Kumari, Richard Joseph Salafia, Yashika Pahwa from India and Adil Ahmed Dayo, Awais Mumtaz, Ch Faisal Mehmood, Faisal Latif, Fatimah Shah, Madeeha Dogar, Mohammad Saad Farooqi, Mohammad Zuhaib Arain, Nihal Tabbussum, Rizwan Ali Shinwari, Sadaf Kashif and Salma Noureen from Pakistan.
The fellows come from Delhi, Kashmir, Chattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana, Vadodara, Mumbai and Pune in India and Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Karachi and Hyderabad in Pakistan. Their occupations include college students, research students, advocates, journalists, NGO workers, activists and businessmen.
The Indo-Pak E-Pals are guided by mentors. The mentors of the first session were Abdur Rauf Yousafzai, Imrana Qasim, Suraiya Islam and Syed Zeeshan Ali Shah from Pakistan and Devika Mittal, Ilma Iqbal, Madhuri Mittal, Madhavi Bansal, Madhulika Narasimhan, Sirish Agarwal and Shruti Achesh from India.
Read the reports:
Download/View Report of Friends Beyond Borders Season I
The first season of Friends Beyond Borders has been concluded. This initiative will be continue. The second season is expected to commence next year.