In 2012, we traveled to Karachi, Pakistan, as Co-Directors of the "Social Intervention Conference 2012: A Better Tomorrow for the Coming Generation". We worked with Professor Anila Malik and Superintendent of Police, Maqsood Ahmed, to plan three days of cross-disciplinary presentations and events. In addition to being plenary and panel speakers, Brian co-organized the first Youth Film Festival at the University of Pakistan and Heather co-organized a participatory project called "Letters to a Future Generation". We also had the great opportunity to meet with students at Jinnah University for Women and the Indus School for Art & Design. Throughout the course of the week, there were hundreds of small but powerful moments that happened in between the formal events. Some students commented that they didn't know that there was a single nice American. We admitted to our fears about terrorism. Together, we worked to understand our cultural differences and false perceptions. Without exception, we would ultimately return to the center, to the fact that our similarities overwhelmingly outweigh our differences.
This project would not have been possible without the partnership of Rochester Global Connections. It was they who first introduced us to a group of Pakistani leaders who were traveling through the region as part of the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program. In addition, we would like to thank the United States Embassy in Karachi for assisting us with funding. We are also thankful for the support we received from the University of Karachi, Nazareth College, and the University of Rochester.