Didar Karim, representing Islamabad region, was one of the finalists
Lahore, Pakistan, 08 June 2008: In an attempt to create a deeper understanding of the crucial importance of environment, Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan conceptualized an art competition titled, Friends of the Environment at a local hotel here today. The event, Friends of Environment, is being held as part of Golden Jubilee celebrations commemorating fifty years of the Imamat of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan in which a number of initiatives, programs and developmental projects are being organized internationally.
The objective of this activity was to encourage youth to participate in a fun activity, while simultaneously raising awareness about the importance of the natural environment, the methods of preserving it, and planning to conserve the built environment accordingly. Youth from across Pakistan, in the age group between 9-20 years were encouraged to participate in this activity. Around 40,000 students from different parts of the country submitted their drawings in this competition. The contest was divided into three different stages with initiation at local level with short listed paintings being promoted to a regional and national level competition respectively.
At an impressive ceremony, the top ten paintings of the competition, short listed by the artist of national repute, were placed on display for the general public. The successful artists (the winners) also performed live paintings at the event to inspire the attendees.
Addressing the august gathering, the Chief Guest, Mr. Iqbal Walji, President Aga Khan Council for Pakistan, said that, in the experience of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), the challenge of improving environmental conditions lies not in an inherent conflict between Man and Nature, but in the penury of natural resources that often forces people to consume the few assets available to them. These conditions often create a downward spiral that results in deeper poverty, depleted soils, deforested hills, polluted water, disease, and, ultimately, despair. The reasons for this cycle are complex and, in many instances, require integrated, multidisciplinary solutions. Ecological concerns have always been part of the ethical underpinnings of the Network, rooted as they are in the Quran’s exhortation for Man to be a good steward of the Earth. The solutions to environmental problems cannot be implemented in isolation from the problems of human habitats. All of the environment-related activities undertaken by the AKDN.
Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan are therefore integrated into other development activities such as healthcare, education, cultural revitalization and economic development. Appreciating the work done, the Chief Guest also mentioned that it is expected that Friends of the Environment inspired the participants, their parents, and all those involved to imagine a better future for themselves and for the society as a whole, where everyone not only cares about his own wellbeing, but contributes towards the welfare of the society and the environment creating a synergistic and symbiotic relationship between the environment, society and its inhabitants.
Deedar Ali Hunzai, Incharge of Logistics & Managment during the event adds from Lahore: Participants of the art competition were taken on a tour of the historical city of Lahore. They enjoyed touring the Lahore Fort, Minar-e-Pakistan and the Tomb of Dr. Muhamamd Iqbal.
Editor’s note: The press release does not mention the names of all the ten winners of this art competition. An email has been sent to the relevant authorities of AKPBSP to get the names and pictures of all the artists.