In order to spread word about FATE’s activities, regular focus groups were held covering topics from misconceptions about terrorism, the working definition of empathy, strategies to counter extremism and ways to mobilize youth for social change. These talks began to make the public aware of FATE’s mission and goals, but turned into truly insightful discussions. Participants were eager to share their views, challenge the views of others and engage in productive debate. Each focus group was moderated by a member of Team FATE, and responses were noted down by another. After collecting the views of students who attended these focus groups, we noticed a positive turn towards empathy and activism as compared to the opinions that existed before our interventions. These focus groups served to highlight the importance of dialogue, listening and sharing.
On 4 April, 2016, FATE was invited to participate in the renowned Sovereign Challenge at Philadelphia, hosted by the United States Special Operations Command. The five day conference was attended by dignitaries, military personnel, defence attaches and political personalities from all over the world. Here, FATE took the stage to discuss the importance of the internet as a tool to combat extremism in today’s world. We presented a youth-based perceptive to issues of global significance, showcasing our work so far and what we hope to do in the future. We participated in focus groups that helped participants from different parts of the world share their ideas and opinions on the way forward. The entire experience was extremely enlightening, and we felt honored to be a part of it.
United Nations General Assembly
In September, 2016, Team FATE was invited to present at a special P2P showcase at the United Nations General Assembly. The extremely prestigious stage gave FATE the opportunity to discuss our journey so far, our goals for the future and projects in the pipeline. We closed our presentation with the poetry of Habib Jalib, receiving a thundering applause from the houseful audience. The event was attended by some of the world’s most influential personalities, including Mr. Richard Stengel, Ms. Evan Ryan and Mr. Dean Obeidallah. At the same event, FATE participated in the US State Department’s live Facebook chat, which was viewed by thousands of people across the globe. Teams from Finland, Afghanistan and USA shared the stage and presented their campaigns as well. To this day, this remains one of FATE’s greatest honor.
Collaboration with ICRD
FATE participated in a workshop conducted by ICRD (International Center for Religion and Diplomacy) and PAIMAN trust in Islamabad, which provided an opportunity for us to connect with Pakistani madrassas from all the provinces. The workshop featured Madrassa owners and peace practitioners from all four provinces. We discussed our upcoming game, ‘Utopia’, at this event, focusing on the importance of embracing modern tools to counter violent extremism at a grassroots level. The conference allowed us a chance to listen to the ideas of progress-minded individuals from all over the country, learn from them and share our experience.
Collaboration with GenNexus
As part as FATE’s emphasis on building an international community of friends and supporters, we met a team from New York’s famous West Point military academy as part of our first trip to the United States. The West Point team placed second at the P2P: Challenging Extremism competition for their brilliant ‘Let’s Talk Jihad’ campaign, which focused on debunking myths about violence and extremism through an anonymous platform. By connecting with one of the founding members of this campaign, FATE is working with a team of brilliant peacemakers on a new initiative called ‘GenNexus’, which aims to create an online community of experts, academics, students and researchers to spread informed awareness about the nuances of terrorism, discuss solutions to take action and help form a global community that can share ideas and engage in dialogue.