After the New Year arrives, most of us have the habit of making New Year resolutions. Whether it is a higher salary, a promotion, world travel or even weight loss, some wishes are similar among us and our friends. This year, after meeting the students attending the 11th South Asia Economic Students Summit (SAESM), I realized how New Year wishes can be vastly different from one corner of the world to another.
Here’s a sample of New Year “wish lists” of the South Asian students who attended the 11th SAESM in Thimphu, Bhutan held between Dec. 23-28, 2014.
“I hope South Asia can have a similar program to ERASMUS in Europe, where students are allowed to spend one year or a semester working or interning in a different South Asian country."
- Phalguni, Kirorimal College, India
“I hope we as students, can lobby governments to revise pro-nationalistic curriculums to be less nationalist to make it more conducive to regional cooperation."
- Rohail Ashraf Sadiq, LUMS, Pakistan
“I hope next time if I travel to Bhutan, I don’t have to route via Dubai, and Kathmandu, but instead be allowed to transit directly through India."
- Vivek Pinjani, LUMS, Pakistan
"South Asia should put its history behind us and work together for the future, especially between India and Pakistan, so that as a region, we can prosper together."
- Pema Khan Chogyal, Royal Thimphu College, Bhutan
“I hope I can co-author research papers with someone from a different South Asian university. My professor has a co-author from Canada, so why can’t I have a co-author from within the region?"
- Shafaat Yar Khan, LUMS, Pakistan
“To make tourism flourish within South Aisa, we need to ease the visa regime. Like what Singapore has - getting a visa to Singapore is half the price of getting visa to a neighboring country. That’s exactly what we should have in South Asia. "
- Nivedita Todi, St Xavier’s College, India
“I would like to spend one semester in Dhaka University, LUMS, or Kabul University to learn the cultures and traditions of my neighbors. Currently we have more programs with Europe, than with Afghanistan or Pakistan. Student exchanges would happen only if student visa restrictions are reduced."
- Sheifaka, IP College, India
“I would like to have more open discussions and exchanges on political issues between youth across South Asia without going back and forth on historic baggage."
- Rubaiya Murshed, Dhaka University, Bangladesh
“When disasters happen in the region, we can collect funds across South Asia to help people in times of need."
- Binita Thacres, Tribhuvan University, Nepal