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UPSIGN Annual UK Workshop 2019


Pakistan and Its Diaspora; Global Challenges and Opportunities

On the 23rd July, 2019, the second annual UPSIGN symposium took place, entitled “Pakistan and It’s Diaspora; Global Challenges and Opportunities. The event took place at University College London (UCL). The event consisted of discussions focused on the subject areas of UP-SIGN's various think tanks as well as the relevance of the selected United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG's)


Pakistan's Food Security and Population Challenges: 

This talk was delivered by both Professor Nicola Lowe who gave an overview of the GCRF and the importance of working across the UNSDGs.  Professor Darr,  highlighted some of the issues in Pakistan around large youth population, energy, literacy, education /girl’s education, debt issues and how these might be addressed via various initiatives and investments.  He ended the talk addressing the tremendous potential for renewable energy such as solar and wind and the potential for energy storage technologies in relation to Pakistan.

Health Inequalities in Pakistan: 

Dr Parveen Ali focused on health inequalities and social determinants in Pakistan. She explored issues such as difference in the population growth rate, life expectancy, infant mortality rate, under 5 mortality rate and maternal mortality rate. She also analysed the reasons for the differences in the rate of these figures among various countries. An overview of the health care system was also presented and possible approach to deal with the issues was suggested. Read more about UP-SIGN's work towards affordable, quality healthcare in Pakistan.

Pakistan's Water Crisis:

Ms Fazilda Nabeel raised the issue that Pakistan was well endowed with water, however, this was a crisis of space and time.  She highlighted issues around surface water pollution, governance, sharing aquifers between Pakistan. Read more about UP-SIGN's work towards clean water & sanitation. 


Global Volunteering and Mentoring Opportunities:

The panel discussion was chaired by Moawia Bin Sufyan and included speakers:  Riaz Hassan, Anne Gold (Capacity Building Overseas) and Zulfi Hussain (Global Changemakers). The panel discussed topics such as the benefits and motivation for individuals to volunteer. Riaz spoke about initiatives such as EMPOWER Pakistan and ideas around think tanks from the educated diaspora. Anne Gold spoke about the importance of cultural intelligence, whilst Zulfi spoke about the importance of support and knowledge and sharing it.

Diaspora Identity and Well-being in the Community:

The panel was chaired by Dr Shahid Latif, Consultant Psychiatrist/Clinical Director at NHS Trust. The Panellists included Dr Samia Latif (Consultant, Public Health England), Suman Hanif (award winning film maker) and Adil Javed (actor and creative director of Alchemy Arts). They  discussed the stigma surrounding mental health; sharing their knowledge and personal experiences. This included cultural issues around the ways in which mental health is tackled. The panel spoke about the support currently available as well as the use of the arts in tackling mental health. The need for a strong sense of identity was raised in terms of your personal and professional life, which was linked to well-being. As well as the role of parents in mental health and well-being for the youth. Read more about UP-SIGN's work towards health & well-being.

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