Saqib Riaz is a public outreach and advocacy professional with 11 years of experience in public sector, nonprofit and media organizations. He has strong understanding of international development, human rights issues and global politics. Currently, he is working as Senior Public Diplomacy and Political Affairs Officer at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Islamabad where he is extensively involved in political reporting for The Hague, and protection and promotion of human rights by engaging with NGOs, INGOs and UN agencies based in Pakistan. Saqib has demonstrated impactful contributions to improve the quality of elections as well as democracy in Pakistan. He managed the advocacy portfolio of Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), Pakistan’s largest election observation network, by contributing to mainstreaming the long-impending agenda of electoral and political reforms – a prerequisite for the deepening of democracy in the country. His academic grounding as a political scientist with a Master’s Degree from the University of Punjab, Lahore, has provided him the added advantage of steering complex advocacy campaigns to influence policy, legal and regulatory reforms. Harnessing the potential of new technologies, Saqib successfully blended traditional communication tools with more advanced and emerging social media to advance FAFEN’s electoral reforms work. Saqib started his career as a journalist and has worked with print and electronic media as desk editor and producer. He was the member of the founding team of Express 24/7, Pakistan’s first English-language news channel. His hobbies include traveling, trekking and photography.
Host Organization : Meridian International Center
Role at Host Organization : Saqib conducted need assessment for revamping communication channels of Meridian and expanded online outreach through social media and website. He generated content, articles, case studies/blogs and managed website and social media accounts during his one-year fellowship. Saqib also served as a resource person to develop concept notes for programs specific to Pakistan and coordinated with Meridian teams, partners, public/private donors to ensure visibility of Meridian’s programs. He introduced the use of infographics, photos and compelling videos for marketing of Meridian, and developed a strategy and curriculum to improve communication and build capacity of Meridian staff on effective communications.