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UOL hosts Social Media Festival 2019
The University of Lahore, under its Center for Sustainability Research and Practice (CSRP), between February 21 and 22, 2019 hosted the Social Media Festival 2019, themed “Artificial Intelligence, Technology in Education and Social Media for Good” at the varsity’s Defence Road Campus, Lahore.  The two-day event included various plenary and keynote sessions, social networking performances related to different aspects of social media. Over 200 participants were trained on the effective and appropriate utilization of social media platforms at individual, professional and societal levels. 

The festival started with the keynote session by Osama Tayyab, Anchor at 7 News, tackling “Think before you post: Fact checking code of principles”. The session highlighted the urgency to break news and how it leads towards unverified news. This was followed by a panel discussion on “Social Media in the implementation and localization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” with Valerie Khan (Executive Director Group Development Pakistan) Muhammad Irfan Bajwa (Public Policy Expert) Rana Sikandar Hayat (Chairman District Council Kasur) and Mariam Shabbir (Environment and Digital Journalist and CEO Hum our Hamara Mahoul) as speakers.  
They discussed the role and importance of social media in adopting SDGs with specific emphasis on the use of social media in addressing the problems at grass root level while citing Okara, Gujranwala and Kasur as examples.   

Another keynote session with Dr. Wajahat Qazi (Assistant Professor COMSATS University) highlighted “The role of Social Media Powered by Artificial Intelligence” by elaborating the concept in the context of cybersecurity. Later, Maryam Khan, (District Commissioner, Okara) spoke on “Twiplomacy: The diplomatic Use of Twitter and other Social Media Sites” and explained the term as modern diplomacy through social media, twitter in particular due to its feature of target audience. The day ended with screening of different films by Asia Peace Film Festival.
A plenary session on “Women and Technology Inclusion” with Baela Raza Jamil (CEO, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi), Fouzia Bhatti (Communication Strategist at UN) Shumaila Khan (Digital Rights Foundation) and Nayab Gohar Ali Jan (Social Development Expert) as speakers inaugurated the 2nd day of the event. The speakers discussed the role of women in social media. They stressed on the change in societal attitude towards women with the revolution in technology and also discussed digital rights for women and online harassment. The speakers stated that social media provides women entrepreneurship opportunities in running their small business ventures as well.
In a keynote session, Dr. Rabia Akhtar (Executive Director Centre for Security, Strategy and Policy Research and the Head of School of Integrated Social Sciences) talked about “Hybrid Warfare: Myth or Reality?”, and stated that in this age of cyberspace, Hybrid Warfare is a serious threat that needs to be countered through development in research and technology at the state level. Pakistan, being a security state, is in condition of both traditional and non-traditional threats in which non-state actors also matter.  This was followed by a session in which Nighat Dad (CEO Digital Rights Foundation) addressed the “Concepts of Cybersecurity and Modern Threats”. She enumerated the challenges that are advanced in nature, where free social media applications are being used for various hidden purposes including cyberwarfare, hate speech and propaganda in a culture without any verification and privacy issues. 

Later, the Ambassador of Netherlands, Ardi Stoic-Braken, spoke on “Twiplomacy,” pointing out the significance of social media in portraying positive image of a country across the world. 

Todd Shea, CEO CDRS, talked on “Social Media Use for a Cause: Crises and Communication and Propaganda Reporting”. He termed social media as a medium of fast communication and tools for propaganda with an example of irresponsible behavior of people and politicians in escalating war between India and Pakistan. 

The sessions ended with a vote of thanks by the CSRP Executive Director Mr. Naseem Khan Achakzai who affirmed that CSRP will keep playing its vital role in addressing all contemporary aspects related to sustainable development.  

At the event of the event, Shea, a famous American Guitarist and Philanthropist based in Pakistan, delighted participants with a musical performance alongside UOL’s Music Society.  

  • UOL hosts Social Media Festival 2019
  • UOL hosts Social Media Festival 2019
  • UOL hosts Social Media Festival 2019
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