KARACHI, Pakistan: Acumen, a pioneering social impact investor addressing poverty across Africa and in South Asia, together with JS Bank, Mahvash & Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation and the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, held their annual Graduation Ceremony on November 14 to celebrate the second annual class of Acumen Pakistan Fellows.
The second cohort started their year in February 2014, where 16 individuals were selected to participate in a year-long training, while simultaneously continuing to pursue their own social change initiatives.
The cohort represents a group of passionate and inspiring leaders such as Imran Sarwar, the founder of Rabtt, a non-profit that promotes independent thinking through educational activities, and Sarah Adeel, a Fulbright Scholar and the Founder-Director of LettuceBee Kids, a non-profit that uses art and music to reintegrate street children into society.
The year-long program is comprised of five multiday seminars focusing on moral imagination, adaptive leadership, operational and financial skills, and a learning trip. The seminars give Fellows access to world-class speakers, trainers, and mentors who allow Fellows to deepen their skills in leadership, social change, and innovation, while also facilitating learning from the different perspectives of their cohort, who come from a diverse array of socioeconomic, cultural, and professional backgrounds.
“The Acumen fellowship has taught me the art of critical thinking, innovation and creativity which is the cornerstone of transforming one’s apathy into a positive disposition. It has changed my conventional way of thinking and sparked a new vision of seeking solutions for a world free from poverty, terrorism and hunger,” said Mohammad Ahsan, current Fellow and Executive Director of Rural Development Project, which aims to improve the socio-economic conditions of poor and disaster affected communities and empower them through sustainable agriculture and livestock management practices.
The Graduation Ceremony took place at Avari Towers, and was attended by the Fellows and key members of Acumen’s community. The ceremony showcased each Fellow’s work in their respective field, along with a look back through the year highlighting their journey as Acumen Fellows.
Farrukh Khan, Country Director and CEO of Acumen Pakistan, who closed the ceremony said, “Very rarely do we come across such a diverse, and yet, united group of people who are finding innovative solutions to society’s problems.” In a message from New York, Acumen CEO, Jacqueline Novogratz, emphasized the importance of building a global community of Acumen leaders who will encourage and enable innovation in tackling society’s pressing problems. She said, “Pakistan is an extraordinary country, it’s a mosaic of cultures, ideas and people. Increasingly, our Fellows represent the most beautiful parts of it. Coming with different ideas, sectors, religions and gender this diversity holds the seeds of real opportunity to know one another, to share what we know about each other, and through that to present a different image of Pakistan, not only to the rest of the world but to Pakistan itself.”
Applications for the next round of Acumen Pakistan Fellows will open in September 2015.