MUMBAI | There is an essential need for understanding and communication on the most critical issues perpetuating conflict and preventing reconciliation within and across borders in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In order to embolden a citizen-led movement for peace, there needs to be well-coordinated people-to-people initiatives that create opportunities for Indians, Pakistanis and Afghans to encounter each other in positive humanizing ways; build trust and understanding of each other’s perspectives; and foster cooperative efforts to address shared issues of concern. In utilizing a new media approach to this issue, an interactive online educational site was created under the project title “Voices of the People.”
Thirty-one Seeds from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan came together for a week-long conference in Mumbai, India in April 2011 order to develop multi-media online content that would generate awareness and understanding of varying perspectives and views on core divisive issues. The video, visual and written interviews conducted during Voices of the People has been organized and featured in a user-friendly way that humanizes the most critical issues to reconciliation.
“Our countries are not inherent enemies and I believe if we interact with each other, we will find that we can co-operate and be friends,” said Noorzadeh, a Pakistani Seed whose group chose to study the disparities in Mumbai’s education system.
“My Pakistani and Afghani friends have been fascinated by the way religious communities co-exist in Mumbai,” said Sridhar, and Indian Seed who believes Seeds of Peace is a great opportunity for the youth to rid themselves of prejudices.