British envoy calls for cordial bilateral ties

Islamabad-The British High Commissioner, Thomas Drew CMG Tuesday said that the youth will decide Pakistan’s future.

Speaking at a ceremony to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Pak-UK relations, the envoy said, “It will be up to the people who are here today – the future leaders – who will decide which direction Pakistan heads in the following decades.”

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The British High Commission earlier launched its campaign to celebrate the 70th anniversary of UK-Pakistan relations at the first ever ‘Future Leaders Conference’ at the British High Commissioner’s residence here. The High Commissioner said, “While we look back at 70 years and the incredible connections between our two countries, most of all we want to look forward to the next 70 years – to the future of our relationship.”

He said, “Over the coming year through our 70th anniversary celebrations we want to showcase the strength of the British-Pakistani partnership and how it will continue to develop in the coming years.”

Future Leaders Conference is the British High Commission’s first ever Conference in Pakistan that focuses on engaging young people in a dialogue on Pakistan’s foreign policy and its use of soft power. With the message of ‘Shared History, Shared Future’ and the hash tag of #UKPak70, the campaign will consist of a year-long series of activities and events that will celebrate the strength of the UK-Pakistan relationship over the last 70 years. The campaign will also seek to increase the bilateral trade and cultural links between the two countries.

The ‘Future Leaders Conference’ aims to engage inspirational young people on their ideas on Pakistan’s foreign policy and use of soft power. Over the course of five hours, the audience witnessed keynote addresses from the British High Commissioner and Chairman of Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sardar Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari.

The conference also had sessions chaired by prominent media personality, Fereeha Idrees and Director, Jinnah Institute, Syed Hassan Akbar. Other panellists included journalist Omar R Quraishi, Member of National Assembly Malik Uzair Khan, Yusra Askari and Chief Executive Officer Atlas Honda Saquib H Shirazi.

The audience included participants from British Council’s Active Citizens project, young Chevening Scholars, members of the High Commission’s Youth Advisory Group and students from some of Pakistan’s leading universities.

Meanwhile yesterday, the American embassy in Islamabad congratulated Lahore-based artist Imran Qureshi, winner of the 2017 ‘International Medal of Arts’.

Qureshi, along with contemporary artists Nick Cave, Jenny Holzer, and Wolf Kahn, Pat Steir, and Rachel Whitehead, was honoured at a biennial ceremony in Washington, DC on January 12. Qureshi joins Shahzia Sikander, who was honoured in 2013, as medal winners from Pakistan. The International Medal of Arts is awarded to artists who demonstrate an enduring commitment to the Art in Embassies mission of cultural diplomacy through the visual arts and international cultural exchange, said a US embassy statement.

Recipients have helped define America’s cultural legacy through their artistic excellence and diplomatic contributions. Their artwork serves as a bridge with other nations, encourages discussion and expression and highlights the communal experiences of people from countries, cultures, and backgrounds worldwide, it added.

Qureshi’s work is featured at the American Embassy, in the residence of American Ambassador David Hale. His work is part of Art in Embassies (AIE), a Museum of Modern Art-sponsored initiative that began in 1953 and formalized as part of the Department of State by the Kennedy Administration in 1963.

For more than 55 years, AIE’s global focus of cultural diplomacy through the visual arts has engaged more than 23,000 partnerships with individual and institutional participants in more than 200 venues in 189 countries worldwide.

Knowing how the arts engage, educate, and inspire, the American Embassy spends more than 100 million rupees annually to fund arts programming in Pakistan, introducing Pakistanis and Americans to each other’s artistic traditions.

AuthorThe Nation
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