The Six-Week Internship Program has provided an integrated platform for students all over Pakistan to inculcate the skills i.e., personal and soft skills development, nourish their writing capabilities, and learn about emerging trends in international affairs.
On 6th September 2021, 12th session of the online internship program was held. The theme of the session was ‘’Pakistan’s Maritime affairs: challenges and prospects’’ and the speaker of the session was Dr. Kanwar M. Javed Iqbal, Senior Research Fellow, National Institute of Maritime Affairs. He discussed Pakistan’s Maritime Affairs, Geographical Boundaries, Sectoral Economy, Security Threats (Traditional and Non-traditional), Geo-politics, Maritime Cooperation and Diplomacy, Challenges to Maritime Governance and the significance of Indian Ocean.
He stated that Pakistan, being a coastal state enjoys access to the sea and undertakes about 95 percent of its trade through sea ports. The geographic location of the country provides a strategic edge to the country due to its close proximity with oil rich Gulf States. The Arabian Sea is world’s third largest marine fishing resources. Pakistan has one of the largest Mangroves Forest and one of the world’s largest ships scraping destination.
Dr. Kanwar stated that maritime sector is backbone of global economy and known to be a critical component of national development. In order to harness the true potential of maritime sector of Pakistan, all stakeholders need to enhance their capacity and explore untapped opportunities. Pakistan is bestowed with more than 1000km long coastline which needs to be maintained in a sustainable manner for the generations to come. It is important to bring policy and governance measures in view of emerging trends.
On 7th September 2021, 13th session of the online internship program was held. The theme of the session was ‘’Changing dynamics of regional socio-political and economic discourse: Afghan issue and options for regional countries’’ and the speaker for this session was Prof. Dr. Shabir Ahmad Khan, Director, Area Study Centre (Russia China & Central Asia), University of Peshawar. He stated that in regional context, the word dynamics means behavior, interaction and responses of countries within a region. These responses are shaped and influenced by certain factors nationally and regionally. These elements are religion, culture, politics, institutions and economic benefits. These elements can be referred to as the sociopolitical dynamics of a country or region. Therefore, the regional dynamics change when the responses of regional countries change.
He stated that two major issues including Kashmir and Afghan issue are of utmost importance. The regional peace and economic stability depend on these two issues. We have seen the changed focus towards South and Central Asia, regional connectivity and integration. The main reason for this changed regional dynamics is the rise of economic rise of China.
There are three main integrational plans by the major powers that includes new silk route to integrate Central & South Asia through Afghanistan. It was followed by the announcement of BRI and later by the announcement of Eurasian Union. Central Asia makes Eurasia’s heartland which also has substantial oil and gas reserves. Its geographic location is also of great significance as it connects the continents. This is the region it has attracted the attention of major international and regional powers.
On 8th September 2021, 14th and last Session of the Online Internship Program, was held. The theme of the session was ““Understanding Changing Dynamics of International Relations and strategies to counter extremism’’ and the speaker for the session was Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khan, Department of Politics & International Relations, International Islamic University, Islamabad and Member Board of Experts, Center for Global & Strategic Studies, Islamabad.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khan explained in detail about the evolution in international relations. He gave a detailed historical background of past events and major happenings in the world, i.e., U.S. and USSR cold war, establishment of international or regional institutions etc. He discussed in details about globalization and its impacts on the world. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khan explained some main reasons in context of evolving dynamics of international relations, i.e., effective measures in conducting relations with other countries, conducting research in a systematic way, technological transformation, political stability. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khan also shed enlightened the audience about changing dynamics of South Asia and regional powers.
The sessions were moderated by Ms. Madiha Ghaffar, Media & Communication Manager, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS).
It is noteworthy that students from all across Pakistan were enrolled in the Online Internship Program. This program has proved to be a milestone for the students of International Relations & related fields to understand the changing dynamics of international affairs.