Investing in Gen2PK, the second generation of Pakistani Americans was the topic for the online event hosted by the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, DC at the first virtual Pakistani American Youth Convention 2021.
It seems to be a perfect strategy given the current turn of events that are taking place in the world today.
As the Biden Administration takes three Pakistani Americans into its fold, there seems to be positive news all around for us as we now see the Pakistani American Diaspora highlighted very much in the media.
The online event saw a huge gathering of the Pakistani-American Diaspora from across the United States especially of the young population settled there.
The focus of the convention was to host different viewpoints from various subject-based areas focusing on connecting the potential of the Pakistani-American youth.
Officials have perceived the need to highlight the importance of engaging in dialogue with Gen2PK as they feel it does hold a key role in the success of the emerging US-Pakistan relations.
The convention was live-streamed and included panelists such as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Dr. Asad Khan, Dr. Rizwan Khalid, President of APPNA (Association of Pakistani Physicians in North America); Moazzam Chaudry, President of OPEN Global (Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs); Dr. M Nasar Qureshi, Chairman of APF (American Pakistan Foundation); Ms. Sabina Zafar, Council Member, City of San Ramon and Professor Adil Najam from Boston University. Prof Najam spoke of Pakistani Americans in the US from a historical perspective.
It was he who formulated the concept of “Investing in Gen2PK”. Prof Najam emphasized on unleashing the potential of the youth by utilizing the ‘levers of change’.
He classified these as the 3Es which were namely: (1) education (2) employment and (3) engagement.
Ambassador Khan explained that the Youth Convention would aim to provide a platform to connect the Pakistani-American youths to the high-achieving members of the community across various fields.
He further said that “the Youth Convention would also foster linkages with their heritage”.
A sector-specific Youth Convention was concluded as being hosted regularly as well as organizing an in-person youth convention in the near future. Dr. Rizwan Khalid spoke on the theme of “Mentoring Medical Professionals from Pakistan.”
APPNA is an organization that has advocated for promoting educational and professional exchanges in Pakistan.
Mr. Chaudry urged the Pakistani American youth to identify their passion and work hard to achieve their goals.
He spoke about the promotion of entrepreneurship, professional development and advancement of leadership skills.
Dr. Qureshi shared ideas on how the Pakistani American community could be a great start to building stronger Pak-US ties.
While highlighting the efforts of APF, he also emphasized the importance of taking measures to strengthen the trust of second-generation American-Pakistanis in our institutions.
APF is known as an organization dedicated to empowering the Pakistani-American community and building bridges between the U.S. and Pakistan.
Sabina Zafar highlighted the importance of young Pakistani-Americans getting involved in US domestic politics. Her talk focused on “Public Service and Civic Engagement”.
It must be noted that she is currently the only Pakistani-American woman Council Member from California.
Such aspirations from the Pakistani-American Diaspora are truly commendable and must be given prominence.
One key point taken from the talks, which is predominant in current affairs, is the engagement of the American-Pakistani community at large. The younger generation, GEN2PK, has been born into a wealth of resources.
They have seen their own parents’ hard work, giving to the community with a great variety of principles and the willingness to engage with the greater population of America.
They bring with them talent, education, intelligence, and grooming as well as innovative ideas for their community at large.
If this is tapped into at an earlier stage, it would be something that has never really been considered by previous officials. Perhaps this is the right time for this.
They are considered All American in every sense of the word and may just be the ‘connect’ we are looking for in terms of the Pakistani narrative.
A very wise step taken from the officials to connect the Diaspora to the center from official grounds.
Creating a network of resources will certainly facilitate success not just in terms of dialogue but a continuity of strategic bonds formed as seen in other Asian American populations.
Perhaps this is the step that will not only connect people of Pakistani descent across America but also set the foundations to connect the Global Pakistani Diaspora.
However, the integration of a community must be formed on the ground. There is much to be considered for implementation.
Even establishing a network of community centers across the US connecting with each other could mean life-changing resources for so many settled abroad.
Future dialogue must be set with goal-oriented discussion and the promotion of economic empowerment which must also be given serious consideration.
Empowerment and opportunity must arise within the Pakistani American Diaspora, where the population will see the fair opportunity being given, it will gravitate willingly with trust and give back into the community.
Pakistanis no matter where they are in the world will set new strides in unison towards progression.
The writer is known for her articles on cultural impact.
This article first appeared in Pakistan Observer. Click here to go to the original.
The virtual convention was held on March 12. – Editor