A team of six students from LUMS has won first prize in the P2P: Challenging Extremism competition. Last semester, the students entered a global competition involving 45 universities organised by Edventure Partners called peer-2-peer. University students from around the world were asked to develop and execute campaigns and social media strategies against extremism, which were credible, authentic and believable to their peers and resonated within their communities. Financial support to the programme is provided by Facebook and by the State Department of the United States of America.
Dr. Taimur Rahman, Assistant Professor at the LUMS Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences, supervised students Abeera Akhtar, Mashal Imran, Basil Saeed, Usman Sarwar, Samey Noor and Shahroze Tariq, who designed and conducted a campaign at LUMS to create empathy among students for the victims of terrorism.
The campaign was named FATE - which stood for ‘From Apathy to Empathy’. Over the course of the semester, they used very creative ways to engage with the student body and the wider community on social media through music, tourism, humanising the victims of terrorism, and other aspects of social life.
The students managed to get over 40,000 hits on Facebook and over half a million impressions on social media as a whole, in five short weeks. In fact, the campaign was one of the most viral campaigns of all the contestants in the competition. They were selected amongst the three finalists and travelled to Washington for the final lap of the competition.
In Washington they competed with the best projects around the globe. One team was from Switzerland that had done remarkable work in the preservation of archaeological items that were being destroyed by religious extremists in the Middle East. The other team was from the United States of America that had created a website to dispel false ideas about Jihad. The presentations of both these teams was superb, however, the students of LUMS did even better. Their presentation received a standing ovation and enormous praise.