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Bringing together the next generation of digital innovators in Pakistan: Meet Aurelie Salvaire

Priya Chopra's picture

The Digital Youth Summit (DYS) is a technology focused conference that takes place annually in Peshawar, Pakistan. In the lead up to the summit, we bring to you the first of our Speaker Spotlights featuring Aurélie Salvaire. The upcoming DYS is on April 27-28, 2018. Register now here.  

Aurelie Salvaire

Aurélie Salvaire (AS) is a French author and social entrepreneur passionate about gender and narratives. She has been working for the past 10 years in the social innovation field, collaborating with Oxfam, Ashoka, Unreasonable Institute and Impact Hub.  She is also a very active speaker and trainer, promoting greater diversity and shedding light on lingering stereotypes through her platform Shiftbalance.  She recently shot a 28 minutes documentary on masculinity in Pakistan called Maard Ban (Be a man).

Tell me a little about what you are working on now?  How did you get started?

AS: Majority of my activities is now on Shift balance – Our NGO was initially registered in Spain, but our activities are worldwide. We do lot of trainings and workshops mostly on leadership and empowerment for young girls around the world. 

We have been working mostly in Pakistan the last year with different schools, universities, and companies, teaching young girls about storytelling - how to tell their stories, how to be more confident in the public and how to believe in themselves.

I recently shot a documentary on masculinity called “Maard Ban” as a part of the “Be a Man” series.  Our book, “Balance the world”, published and designed in Pakistan, is an anthology of solutions to balance the world. The idea of transforming everybody into a balance maker is what drives me -  to be sure that everybody at their own level can contribute to gender equity.

What do you think is the future for youth in the tech industry?

AS: We know that 80% of the jobs will require technological skills.  We know that technology is shaping our future, so it’s extremely important that young people get involved in tech so that the technology in future is shaped for their needs.  For me, one of the great assets is that technology breaks hierarchies. 60% of the population is under 30 years old in Pakistan.  This makes them very accessible to technology and open to what is going around in the world, and they will shake the structures of power.

What areas of your work are focused on gender equality?

AS: Quite a lot of it – in technology, in public speaking.  Download our book Balance the world to understand what I mean.  I do believe that gender is at the root of everything because if we would really have gender balanced countries we would see that jump in GDP in so many countries.  It is also the root of happiness and balance between people so I think it is fundamental.

What excites you about DYS? What are your expectations from DYS?

AS: I am excited that it’s in Peshawar.  I have been there only once.  I am excited to get to know the youth of Peshawar. I think that the youth will create solutions that perhaps the heavier structures are not able to create now.  Especially if we make an extra effort to recruit young girls to be there. I believe this new generation has a lot of potential.

This conversation is just the tip of the iceberg. Come to the next DYS to meet Aurélie and our exciting line up of speakers, follow the updates on the DYS Facebook and DYS Twitter channels. 

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Since its inception in 2014, the Digital Youth Summit (DYS) has quickly become one of the premier tech conferences – differentiated by its focus on youth empowerment; its ability to attract high profile domestic and international attendees and speakers and its unique venue: Peshawar, which is one of the oldest living cities in the world.  The summit aims to bring together the “next generation of digital entrepreneurs” and typically attracts three audiences: tech industry leaders from Pakistan and abroad; the nascent start-up community; and young people looking to network, learn and be inspired. The summit therefore draws participants from the private sector, investors, government, civil society, youth groups and academia. DYS 2018 is organized around three issue areas: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Digital Skills.