Pakistani Student Associations Demonstrate Unity
By Kiran Alvi

Pictures above: Glimpses of the culture show organized by the Pakistani Student Associations of Southern California

Unity in the homeland was the theme of this year's annual intercollegiate culture show organized by the Pakistani Student Associations (PSA) of various Southern California universities.

This year, seven different PSAs joined forces to create Etihad se humari pehchaan, humara dil Pakistan - the title of this year's show. The presidents from the respective schools decided on Unity as the central focus.

“We wanted to convey a message to the community that regardless of the stereotypes and differences of each region, we are all Pakistani,” Maliha Makki, UCR Co-President, said.

Each year, the production showcases the culture of Pakistan through various speeches, dances and skits. By using “unity,” four schools wrote and directed short skits representing a story from each of the provinces of the homeland - Balochistan, Punjab, NWFP, and Sindh.

“…We were able to poke fun of various groups within Pakistan and effectively communicate this message,” Makki said.

Characters such as Zulfiqaar Baloch, played by Taha Syed of USC, showed their personal stereotypes against other ethnic groups in Pakistan. Each skit had other characters trying to dispel the stereotypes by saying they exist amongst fellow Pakistanis, but they should never get in the way of unifying the country.

But unity was also present backstage. The schools involved with the production were USC, UCLA, UCI, UCR, UCSD, Cal Poly Pomona, and Cal State Fullerton, more than ever before. The addition of new schools has been happening every year since the first production in 2007.

“I think the unity theme played out well both on and off stage,” Makki added. “Culture show brought together seven schools throughout Southern California. It allowed for all of us to get to know each other and unite for one cause.”

A cause that will be going towards education. Each year, the PSAs decide what charity the money raised by the show will be given to. This year, the organizations decided to give the money to an educational cause. Although they have not decided which charity they will be giving the money to, it’s something Makki says she hopes will promote education in the community further.

The culture show attracted more than 500 audience goers to the University of Southern California’s (USC) Bovard Auditorium. Plans for next year’s show with a new theme and new dances will be underway in the fall. For now, the PSAs are relishing in this year’s accomplishments.

“This event was truly a success,” Makki said. “We put on an entertaining and comedic night for the audience, raised money for a charitable cause, and had fun doing it.”

Pictures above: Glimpses of the culture show organized by the Pakistani Student Associations of Southern California



School: California State University of Fullerton
Major: Accounting and Marketing
Year: Senior graduating May 2011
Interests: Politics, Reading, Traveling, Learning, going out and Exploring
PSA Goals: To unite students of the Pakistani origin at CSUF and to create a fun and educational environment for all those that attend.



School: California State University of Fullerton
Major: Economics
Year: Junior
Interest: Rock climbing, basketball, future plans graduate school
PSA goals: our goal is to reconnect the American youth with Pakistani culture. Additionally to show how Pakistani culture is still alive amongst the youth today.



School: Cal Poly Pomona University
Major: Civil Engineering
Year: 3rd Year
Interest: My Family, that stands behind me in every stage of my life.
PSA Goals: "Provide a sense of community to Pakistani Students at the campus. Display the true culture of Pakistan to other students as well as disprove the injustice done by media on our beautiful nation, Pakistan.



School: University of California Los Angeles
Major: Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics
Year: Senior
Interests: Politics, Sports, and Science
PSA Goals:  To educate, inform and also to entertain the students on the UCLA campus and unify Pakistani student groups of Southern California .




School: UC-San Diego
Major: Aerospace Engineering
Year: Senior
Interests: reading and traveling
PSA Goals: To see our students unite and focus on coping with more current issues in Pakistan .



Major: Business Administration, Emphasis in Accounting
Minor: Economics
Year: Senior
PSA Goals: The club was founded with hopes of fostering diversity and understanding amongst our campus. In addition we believe it is crucial to rid society of any negative stereotypes of our culture. Our goal is to establish a concrete presence in the Southern California Pakistani Community by promoting unity and bringing awareness of issues at hand in Pakistan.  We have centered our PSA on making a positive impact on our community and giving back to the underprivileged in Pakistan.


School: University of California, Irvine

Major: Biological Sciences

Area of Research: Environmental Medicine

Clubs: Muslim Student Association, iMed

PSA Goals: I want to see PSA as a very strong and united organization that educates the non-Pakistani community about issues and misconceptions about Pakistan, as well as proudly celebrating our heritage and giving back to our community. 



School: University of California, Irvine
Major: Civil Engineering
Year: Sophomore
Interests: Some of my interests include waterpolo, basketball, and football. I love read for leisure and also am a huge fan of briyani!
PSA Goals : My main goal with the Pakistani Student Association is to first unite the Pakistanis from the individual campuses to each other, and they unite all the groups as a Southern California PSA. I think it is very important for the Pakistani students of Southern California to work together in order to make a difference for our country which is going through some tough times at the moment.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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