Wilderness-based youth leadership conference at 9240ft above sea-level concludes
"We, the 77 youth delegates of ‘Markhor 2014’ – Pakistan’s second annual wilderness-based youth leadership conference held on Mukshpuri top, Nathiagali, district Abbottabad from 24-28 September 2014 – coming from different cities of Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir, commit ourselves to strive for a Pakistan that is truly independent, self-reliant, politically stable, socially cohesive and economically vibrant; where foundational principles and values of Faith, Unity & Discipline, laid down by its forefathers, are practiced in a way that Peace, Prosperity, Forbearance’ and Happiness prevail; where the life, property, honor and dignity of every citizen is protected; where the principles of merit and rule of law help every citizen enjoy equal access to quality education, health & employment; a Pakistan that is attractive to the world because of its friendly people, rich culture, ethical and moral values, creativity and innovation, diversity, natural beauty and topography and above all for its role in promoting a win-win paradigm at the global level."
This statement, called the Markhor Declaration, was the outcome of the policy debates among the delegates of 'Markhor 2014' an outdoor leadership conference for youth organized by Youth Impact, a partner organization of IPS LEAD - the Learning, Excellence & Develop Program of Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad. The policy debates were facilitated by IPS LEAD throughout the four-day moot and were conducted under the supervision of DG-IPS Khalid Rahman.
Several youth from across the country camped on Mukshpuri top, Nathiagali, during the wilderness-based learning experience along with a number of expert outdoor trainers and renowned corporate and social leaders of the country such as Khalid Rahman, Director General, Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad; Faiq Sadiq, Group Head, Habib Bank Limited; Shahzad Umar, Head of HR, Nestle Pakistan; Ali Jamali, COO, Indus Motors; Naseem Zafar Iqbal, CEO, Training Impact; Saad Tariq Siddqui, Vice President, Alpine Club of Pakistan; Qazi Waseem, CEO, Descon Power Solutions; Rehan Hasan, Director, Riphah Institute of Media Sciences; Khurram Mujtaba, CEO, Jumpstart Pakistan; Omar Mirza, Director Business Development, British Council Pakistan; and Rahim Lalani, CEO, TEXT.
According to Abdul Samad Khan, the first and only Pakistani graduate of National Outdoor Leadership Schools (NOLS), USA, and CEO of Youth Impact, the conference was a life-time learning experience for the participants who took inspiration from the nature and wilderness to enhance their leadership skills and develop a collective strategy for the country’s future and a better world.
Explaining the concept of outdoor leadership training, he said, "What you don’t learn in institutions, seminars, programmes and books of hundreds of pages, you learn in the presence of nature, accepting wilderness as your mentor, experience as your guide, and infinity as your comfort zone".