Rising Leaders “Strategic Vision Conference” in Washington
By Aisha Chapra


Above: Glimpses of the Rising Leaders Confrence in Washington,DC.On right is DCM Mohammad Sadiq

Washington, DC: A large group of new and returning members attended Rising Leaders’ Strategic Vision Conference at the Embassy of Pakistan on April 23. The agenda for the Conference was focused on engaging participants into discussion about the future of Rising Leaders.
DCM Mohammad Sadiq opened the conference with
remarks about the potential of Rising Leaders. He discussed the need for the Pakistani-American community to make itself visible in the mainstream American society. He said that the way to accomplish this is to give back to society. Professions that in popular perception contribute to society, are politics, media, and the arts in general. Young Pakistani Americans have the opportunity to carry forward the momentum provided by their parents, most of whom immigrated to the US with little to their name.
He said one of the ways we can give back is to include the segments of the Pakistani-American community whose potential to give back is not realized. In the Pakistani-American community the percentage of homemakers is the largest in comparison to any other minority community in the United States. One simple way that homemakers can give back to the larger society, while increasing the influence of the Pakistani community, is by joining school boards. Mr. Sadiq estimated that if Pakistani Americans did this, over 70,000 school boards in the US would have Pakistani representation. Rising Leaders can take the initiative of incorporating this segment of the Pakistani-American community by giving women important roles in organizing Rising Leaders events in their local communities.
Rising Leaders needs to be creative when looking at its future — it needs to give back to its community to get recognition and to gain influence. Another way that Rising Leaders can give back is through volunteering time, especially on Christmas and New Year. Many other non-Christian communities volunteer their time on these holidays, which generates goodwill and recognition. Rising Leaders can help build a strong Pakistani-American identity through giving back in numerous ways — volunteering on Christmas and New Year is just one of them.
Mr. Sadiq concluded his address with the statement that there are many dreams that Rising Leaders has and these dreams can be realized with organization, hard work, and committing to greater good.
The conference was designed to divide the participants into three workshops. The group moderators were Program Director of Rising Leaders Aisha Chapra, Director of Rising Leaders and Chair of National PSA Hyder Syed, and Director of Rising Leaders Yaseen Nazir. Each group conducted three workshops each during the day. After each small group workshop everyone met in the larger group, called the “Committee of Whole”, to discuss the findings and record actions of the workshops.
The first set of workshop discussions focused on Rising Leaders mission statement and objectives. Each group analyzed the current mission statement and suggested changes in it according to guidelines such as: Rising Leaders will be a non-profit organization; Rising Leaders has filed for tax-exempt status and its activities must be charitable and educational; Rising Leaders is raising money for an endowment that will support its activities in the future; and Rising Leaders is dedicated to helping people pursue the fields of Politics, Internationals Relations, Journalism and Media, and Humanities in general.
The Committee of Whole met after the first workshop and each group had a representative present its thoughts on how to improve upon the Mission Statement. There was a discussion on the age limits for Rising Leaders members. Majority consensus was that Rising Leaders could bring in members who are young and motivated and will not discriminate against anyone because of age.
The second set of workshops focused on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT Analysis) for Rising Leaders. In the Committee of Whole, each group presented two recommendations they thought were crucial for Rising Leaders. One of the recommendations was to create a chapter that will be the model for other chapters by having its own Board of Directors and goals.
The third set workshop was focused on future objectives for Rising Leaders and the exercises in the workshop attempted to make members think creatively about Rising Leaders. First, each group was asked to pick a metaphor they thought most aptly described the Rising Leaders. Next, they were asked to imagine three to five years from now and what the headline would be if Rising Leaders is being featured on a major magazine cover. After these quick exercises the workshop focused in on the vision of Rising Leaders. People discussed developing a magazine, a newsletter, a mentorship program and many other ideas were brought to the table.
In the committee of whole, each group shared a metaphor and headline they felt applied to Rising Leaders. To close the day of workshops, Akir Khan, spoke about the importance of Rising Leaders and Pakistani Americans to get involved in the American society through politics. He said that Rising Leaders is a new organization and that this conference is its first step in creating a strategic plan to achieve its future goals, “and we must take baby-steps” to accomplish this. He concluded by thanking Mr. Sadiq and the organizers for hosting the event.
This was followed with Rahilla Zafar introducing our distinguished speakers’ panel. Mr. Mossadaq Chughtai, CEO of Zima Inc., spoke of the importance of certain fields to ensure the success of the Pakistani-American community: politics, journalism, and law. These fields will help the community become stronger and entrench Pakistanis into the American mainstream.
Mr. Shaukat Sindhu, CEO of Pakwatan.Com, spoke of the importance of finance and reliability. A person has to be credible and reliable to succeed in life. “You should always keep your commitments — your word should be a guarantee and back that up by building a strong credit.”
Mr. Hanif Akhtar spoke of the importance of language in the Pakistani culture and reading literature from around the world. He mentioned Iqbal, Gandhi, Faiz, and many other great men in history. He compared how each immigrant community has been where the Pakistani-American community is today. And that each has struggled through to become important in the mainstream American society.
Lastly, Mr. Faiz Rehman gave the participants tips on how to be involved with the media in the US. He emphasized that one needs knowledge of the media and there has to be a sense of timing to get coverage.
After dinner, participants were invited to attend a debriefing session with the DCM and Rising Leaders Directors. The conference was a huge success and everyone enjoyed the discussion format of the day. Visit www.risingleaders.org/strategy05.html
for more information on the results from the Strategic Vision Conference and email RisingLeaders@gmail.com with any questions or comments.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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