Global Social Event: Convening Central & South Asia

Global Washington intern Lindsay Jackson reports on our July 15th event

This month’s Global Social event focused on Central & South Asia, confronting the issues of environment, poverty, education & health. The event consisted of a large variety of representatives from various global development organizations, which included; individual representatives, The National Council for Eurasian & East European Research, EarthCorps, “Journey with an Afghan School” Ayni Education International, Jackson School of International Studies of University of Washington, International Organization of Folk Art, University of Washington (Bothell & Seattle), Health Leadership, Wokai, Seattle International Foundation, and Global Washington.

The event opened up and began with an introduction from Bookda Ghesiar, the Executive Director of Global Washington. She introduced herself and explained what Global Washington was all about, its background and future goals. Prologues then led to the Bookda introducing Ethan Casey, the event’s primary speaker on Pakistan.

Ethan Casey is the most well known for his works & authorship of the book Alive and Well in Pakistan: A Human Journey in a Dangerous Time (2004). Ethan is also a frequent speaker on Pakistan at venues ranging from universities, The Pakistan High Commission in London, and locally around Seattle where he is from. Ethan has continued to use his position as an American traveler and author with 15 years’ exposure to Pakistan to help foster historical and geographic perspectives, human connections, and conversation between Americans and Pakistanis. Ethan gave a brief explanation of how he became so connected and interested in Pakistan through his early travels, he then brought the Pakistani situations alive by reading quotes and passages from Pakistanis that he had come across in regards to the American mistreatment and unawareness of Pakistanis. Ethan’s future plans consist of a second book to be published in 2010 that will be a follow up of Alive and Well recapping and covering the recent past five years in Pakistan since the publication of Alive and Well. For updates and further discussion Ethan regularly blogs at and writes a column for the Books & Authors section of the Pakistani newspaper Dawn.

Ethan Casey’s stories quickly and successfully opened the group discussion up between attendees working in the Central and South Asian regions.  Some questions that were brought up included;

· What is the best way to assist refugees, such as programs, for people who do not have a lot of experience?

Ethan’s response was to educate your self as much as possible about the situations that have occurred other than just the news, and have better communication and connections to American Pakistanis who are fully socially aware of what is going on. The main stream Americans need to start the conversation (Casey)

· How can you deal with open military?

The response was to find the right community to keep going back (Casey)

· There is great barrier in understanding the impact of the past 10-15 years in Pakistan, so where do you go from there?

The response was to make more and incorporate 1-on-1 human connections, and expose your self to travel writing for literacy expression (Casey)

Questions then began to shift from being focused on Ethan to more open group and responses.

· With the current economy that has caused enormous funding challenges, how can be help support each other?

Response was for NGO’s to partner and collaborate on events rather then individually, where this would benefit everyone and can make different missions be more congruent

· Is there a way to get a better influence over the media, giving it more balance?

Response was that local communities i.e. American Pakistanis, need to get connected to a reporter for more personal stories

Lastly, the remainder of the questions and discussion were directed towards Global Washington and their role.

· What are some recommendations for Global Washington; how do you want them to be able to help?

– Bring vast amounts of individuals working on Global Development in Washington State together to work on the smaller scale and build up
– Help the reservation of different arts and traditional culture, make sure it isn’t looked over
– Have the ability to be able to find and research more organization of massive diversity by having a more comprehensive and enhanced search that is very specific of organizations working internationally- extending international grid of access
– Difficult to connect when overseas, great value to develop an easy accessible way to communicate with others overseas in the same sector

Discussion and conversation was carried on for over an hour, and was closed for individual conversation and networking between various organizations to find out more about each other and make stronger connections for collaboration and support.