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A forum of hope

Published: March 6, 2009
Section: Arts, Etc.


<i>PHOTO  Courtesy of Myra Chaudhary</i>

PHOTO Courtesy of Myra Chaudhary

The freedom to speak freely and share one’s ideas is a beautiful thing, something that I will always love about my home, America. Little could I have imagined what a few short articles could do, or how powerful a few words could be. Last summer, my assignment for Senator Kerry was to write an article about Pakistan. One article, “Hope within Pakistan,” unexpectedly turned into a blog series about critical issues within South Asia. It was truly an honor to write the articles, and it is something I started with a great deal of hope and dedication. Because of my Pakistani-American heritage, I felt compelled to share my understanding of this vital region. But the best part is that it sparked an energetic discussion among many different people from all over the world. In inspiration from the initial articles and all the people who shared their ideas, I have created a blog website called A Forum of Hope ( aforumofhope.blogspot.com).

It is my sincere belief that any thought or idea can make a difference in the world. Out of this entire experience, the greatest lesson I have learned is not to be silent and to always have hope. Discussion is also the first step to solving global problems. A Forum of Hope was created in the hopes that it will give the silent people all over the world a voice as well as an outlet through which to share their ideas. The blog itself is dedicated to the ideals of awareness, understanding, tolerance, compassion, peace, and love. It is also dedicated to raising hope, revealing similarities, and promoting understanding regarding the differences between people all over the world. Much of the focus will be on South Asia, because I believe that it is a critical region for the United States and the world at large. But this is a global forum on issues that all people can relate to and comment on, such as education, economic development, social issues, anthropology, globalization and politics.

My largest source of inspiration for A Forum of Hope is a Persian Proverb from Greg Mortensen’s book, “Three Cups of Tea,” “When it is dark you can see the stars”. Even when things appear to be difficult ,there should always be hope. We have to keep it alive before it is too late. As the next generation, we must help move the world into the light and out of the darkness. It is extremely important for young people to share their opinions. Together we can preserve the true beauty of the world and its people. Things may seem difficult and it is important to be realistic, but I would like to remind us all of the words of Louis Brandeis, “Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.” Why shouldn’t we continue to hope or strive for our dreams?

Any one can make a difference no matter what age you are. Some wondered what a young girl could possibly know about serious issues going on in a country like Pakistan. Others disagreed and said that children are the hope of the future. I am grateful to those of you that believed one girl could make a difference and discover her dreams. And I am only filled with a greater desire to help more children achieve their dreams. What could a child even know? My answer is, a lot. So many young bright minds are waiting to be discovered, and there is so much potential in the world. Wonderful things can happen if this is accompanied with the necessary support and encouragement. It is up to all of us to create a world where all children have the opportunity to hope and follow their dreams.

Recently, on the New York Times website, I saw the video of a little girl in Swat, Pakistan who was crying because she couldn’t go to school to become a doctor. It is completely heartbreaking to see that girls’ dreams shattered. So many others like her in that area can’t go to school now. No child should ever have to cry because she can’t achieve her dreams. We must not let more children loose their dreams. Hope is a powerful force, but like a glass it can easily become shattered. Everyone must work together so that the hope does not shatter.

This may still seem like a difficult task and we may not always agree in our ideas. But if we don’t try to understand and learn from one another then no problems would be solved. The best of ideas can come from the most unexpected places. It may seem like we are too different to ever agree, but in words of Albert Einstein, “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.” When we look closely and try to learn and understand other cultures, we find how similar we all are and how similar our basic desires and emotions are. That is the essence of our life at Brandeis and in America: different cultures, people, religions–Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and countless others–coming together to peacefully share their ideas. If we focus on the similarities, the differences will fade away.

May hope and peace always live on. May those branches Einstein spoke of always flourish and bring us closer together globally. This article is dedicated to the beautiful children who are the future of the world. Special thanks to the new members of A Forum of Hope.

Please see A Forum of Hope at aforumofhope.blogspot.com. Coming soon will be writing from other students along with a surprise piece from a remarkable person who has a wonderful vision of the world. Please share your comments and ideas. Together we truly can make a positive difference. All ideas and comments will be shared with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington D.C.