In fall 2012, I had an experience to visit United States to interact with multiple groups including civil society, youth organizations/forums, political setups, intellectuals, intelligentsia and a memorable mingle to American culture and society. This arrangement was made by Emerging Leaders of Pakistan (ELP) program launched by the South Asia Center of Atlantic Council, USA for its 2012 batch of 15 fellows from Pakistan. It was an epic experience conducive enough to make us observe and analyze the prevailing norms and practices in our own society and take appropriate initiative in our capacity. ELP introduced me to Atlas Corps, an international network of nonprofit leaders and organizations that promotes innovation, cooperation, and solutions to address the world’s 21st century challenges.

After a competitive process of selection, I was selected to serve at Disaster Accountability Project (DAP), a leading independent watchdog of disaster relief and humanitarian aid. In June 2015, I stepped in DAP as an ambitious and excited fellow of Atlas Corps with whispering words of George Bernard Shaw “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”.

During the first month having many preliminary events of familiarity and exploration, I realized how celebrated, well planned, organized and meaningful my attachment here is. We are a batch of 22 fellows of 14 different countries, having distinct backgrounds, areas of expertise and ideas to exchange. Lucky to have a host organization like DAP with a competent, vigilant and proactive team giving me inspiration to be the part of change I want in this world. Through the fellowship arrangement, I am having exposure of many CSOs in the United States, building productive liaison with them improving my capacities and knowledge. The inspirations I get after meeting distinguished, intellectual and technical personalities of a wide array of professions and backgrounds make me feel blessed. I have now a rich resource of individual professional contacts for information and resource sharing. The Atlas Corps Forum, which is helping my existing and future coordination with fellows, mentors and all others who will be engaged with it in future is a sustainable medium for me to become a strong and seasoned development professional. Above all, the core of my attachment is to collect knowledge and practices which can be fully or partially replicable in Pakistan.

In a fast paced learning environment at Atlas Corps, US’s multiple facets are being revealed on me like it has a mature and influencing civil society role which is shaping her interior and exterior by different means and at a large scale. Its active and massive role is anchoring in different adverse situations within the state and overseas and performing as an important auxiliary of the state in foreign affairs. America provides the ordinary people an amazingly good opportunity to live a quality life in comparison to the rich who can live well anywhere and everywhere. And the vital sign, “The Youth”, they are not given the destiny but they create their destiny.

And when I keep my walk, I would like to thank Atlas Corps to energize my passions and make me understand that “Change is a process, not an event” and I should be the agent of this process to build a better Pakistan for a better world.

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