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Showing posts from January 10, 2016

My Soul Sister From Across the Border

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It is rare to meet in one’s lifetime a person with whom you can connect intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. It is even more difficult when the country to which they belong is an ‘enemy’ of your country! However, I was lucky enough to find my soul sister and would like to share such a phenomenal story with Beyond Violence readers.

It was early 2014 and I was a participant in the Building Peace Project (2014-15) pioneered by the Red Elephant Foundation in Chennai. I was paired with Sehr Nisar, a first year student of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), to talk, build bonds, share cultures, and cement friendships through virtual connections on Skype, Facebook, and WhatsApp. I got myself a new mobile phone, rather a smart phone, only for this project, to be able to connect with Sehr on a regular basis. It is a different story for another time, but I damaged the phone within a month of the project’s commencement!

Another matter worth mentioning is that this was als…

Indians and Pakistanis Cement Friendship through Peace Building Course

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Although it may be hard to believe, the sight of Indians and Pakistanis talking to each other is not at all unusual. Despite the barbed wires that separate people of the two ‘enemy’ nations, one finds Indians and Pakistanis connecting beyond physical and mental barriers. With the help of virtual technologies, it is no longer an uphill task to connect with someone from across the border. While one-off interactions are quite common, an Indo-Pak peace building initiative recently introduced a peace building course that aimed to facilitate interaction between select individuals in an organized and structured manner for a longer duration of time.

Aaghaz-e-Dosti (AED), a civilian peace building initiative spearheaded byMission Bhartiyam, a Delhi based non-profit andThe Catalyst, based in Pakistan, working for normalization of relations between the two countries through people-to-people contact, introduced a novel peace building course called ‘Friends Beyond Borders’. For the first season of …