“How do we go beyond the ideological divide? How do we move the needle on regional peace and socio-economic and gender justice in Southasia?” Fired by the need for a collective response to these questions, a group of friends and fellow peacemongers met online a year ago, inviting others to join.
That brainstorming meeting launched the Southasia Peace Action Network, Sapan, on 28 March 2021, building on past as well as current initiatives and organisations working to bring peace in Southasia.
On Sunday, 27 March 2022 Sapan will host its first anniversary event titled Sapan Dialogue II: Looking back, looking forward bringing together many of those who have been part of the process over the past year, as well as others. The meeting will start with a plenary providing updates and review, followed by small group discussions in breakout rooms – details and confirmed participants below.
After a brief interlude of music, poetry and open discussion, discussion rapporteurs will present discussion group summaries to the plenary.
Since its launch, Sapan has held online meetings on the last Sunday of every month, developing into an inter-generational, cross-regional, and cross-sectoral network bringing together octogenarians with millennials, grassroots workers on the ground in Southasia with diasporic IT professionals, and healthcare professionals across the region and beyond.
At the last meeting in February this year on Mystics and music: The Southasian legacy of love, participants unanimously approved a Resolution on the crisis in Ukraine presenting the situation in its complexity and urgently calling for peace to prevail. Past resolutions have focused on the need for Southasian nations to uphold human rights and dignity, to uphold the human rights of the incarcerated, to use the Covid-19 pandemic as opportunity to invest in public healthcare and promote regionalism, to name some of the issues taken up.
Southasia Peace Action Network members believe that a great deal of pain and suffering could be mitigated through greater socio-economic cooperation, resource-sharing, and a visa-free Southasia, a region with soft borders reflecting the shared history and inter-connected space.
Sapan’s first meeting in April was going to be #KhelneDo (let them play) on sports across borders. One star-studded panel featured Indian journalist Rajdeep Sardesai in conversation with former Pakistani test cricketer Jalaluddin, international squash player Nooreena Shams, and Fidel Fernando of CrickInfo, Sri Lanka. Another included ace journalists Afia Salam, Zainab Abbas, Sharda Ugra and Bangladeshi analyst Nazneen Firdausi. Indian cricketer and bowling coach for Chennai Super Kings Lakshmipathy Balaji pre-recorded a special video interview with journalist Mehmal Sarfaraz in Lahore as he would be unable to join, remembering how he was applauded at Gaddafi Stadium during the Indian team’s 2004 tour of Pakistan.
The Covid-19 crisis in the region, particularly India, led organisers to change the focus of the event at the last moment. Journalist Kanak Mani Dixit in Kathmandu took the lead, inviting panellists and participants to also share expressions of concern and solidarity for those impacted by the pandemic.
Subsequent monthly events focused on issues ranging from sportswomen’s challenges and wins, to the rights of the incarcerated, to gender violence, art and music, public health as a basic human rights, and more.
Speakers have included internationally acclaimed public intellectuals like Noam Chomsky talking about the impact of “the second 9/11” on Southasia and Southasians for the September 2021 event, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen on the importance of regionalism, UN Special Rapporteur Radhika Coomaraswamy on the rights of the incarcerated.
Sapan’s advisors and members include prominent Southasian and diasporic voices calling for regionalism and collaboration.
Upcoming event details below:
Sapan Dialogue ll: Looking back, looking forward
Date: Sunday, March 27, 2022
Time: 10:00 am ET / 7:00 pm PKT / 7:30 pm IST / 7:45 pm NPT / 8:00 pm BST
To participate in this virtual gathering, please register here.
I. Plenary, an intergenerational sharing of updates and Sapan annual report, with Beena Sarwar and others – 30 min
Confirmed participants for the small group discussions in breakout rooms online include:
- Art and activism – with Rahul Roy, Salima Hashmi, Sheema Kermani. Rapporteur: Harsh Narayan
- Challenges to democracy in Southasia – with Kavita Srivastava, Ramu Ramdas, Afrasiab Khattak. Rapporteur: Saeed Ahmed Rid
- Economic regional cooperation and labour rights – with Raza Rumi, Amin Hashwani, Karamat Ali, Pawan Bali, Asif Saad, Jean Dreze. Rapporteur: Pragya Narang
- Education and student rights/unions – with Zakia Sarwar, Khushi Kabir, Baela Raza Jamil, Kawalpreet Kaur. Rapporteur: Waqas Nasir
- Environment and climate change – with Lalita Ramdas, Syeda Rizwana Hasan. Rapporteur: Afia Salam
- Gender justice and gender violence – with Ruchira Gupta, Khawar Mumtaz, Swarna Rajagopalan, Sunil Jaglan. Rapporteur: Lubna J. Naqvi
- Healthcare – a basic human right – with Dr Sabina Faiz Rashid, Dr Padma Balasubramaniam, Dr Anup Subedee, Dr Amit Shah. Rapporteur: Dr Fauzia Deeba
- Media, ethics and responsibility – with Kunda Dixit, Panneerselvan, Kamal Siddiqi, Ammu Joseph, Nalaka Gunawardene. Rapporteur: Mandira Nayar
- Sports across borders – with Natasha Raheel Khan, Payoshni Mitra, Kamila Hyat, Jatin Desai. Rapporteur: Rahul Mukherji
- Youth empowerment – with Irfan Mufti, Ravi Nitesh, Devika Mittal. Rapporteur: Sarita Bartaula
III-. Open discussion/sharing music, poetry – 10 min
IV. Rapporteurs will present brief summaries of their discussion groups and recommendations – 30 min
For more information, contact: email@example.com
March 24 update: Updated post visual to reflect revised event title.