Speeches & Transcripts

Connecting the Youth of Pakistan to the Global Economy through Art, Culture, and Technology

November 21, 2015

Anthony Cholst Opening Speech of the Art Tech Festival in Peshawar Peshawar, Pakistan

As Prepared for Delivery

On behalf of the World Bank Group, I’m pleased to be in Peshawar today for the ArtTech Festival.  And I would like to express my deep appreciation to our partners the KP IT Board, The Department of Tourism, Culture and Archeology, and Peshawar 2.0. 

This festival is about contrasts and connections. Pakistan and of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have old, deep, complex, and multi-faceted traditions of culture and art.  At the same time, Pakistan is a young country looking to the future. 60% of Pakistan’s population are young women and men under the age of 25. The ArtTech festival is a wonderful event that connects the two. On how art, culture and traditions intersect with technology, youth and the future.   

This intersection should be celebrated in its own right. Preserving heritage and culture is essential. Figuring out a way to market KP artisans, handicrafts and products to the rest of the world. And figuring out how to give KP citizens easy digital access to their own rich culture, languages and heritage.

It also has great potential to create innovation and youth employment. Digital Entrepreneurship is a multi-billion dollar global industry, and experts predict its continued rapid growth.

Over the past two years, the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has supported a set of strategic events such as the “Civic Hackathon” and the annual “Digital Youth Summit”-to build visibility and awareness of opportunities for youth in digital work and entrepreneurship. ArtTech takes this a step further-how can we use technology to market and preserve the rich culture and history of this region?

An event like ArtTech challenges the traditional paradigm of development by putting youth in the driving seat-developing smart tech solutions, integrating culture, art and technology and creating jobs for themselves and their peers.

The answers for the future of KP are right in this room. Entrepreneurship, Technology, Traditions, and investing in youth.  All of this put together to create smart solutions, to recognize youth’s skills and passions, and connect them with other young people from other disciplines to create new markets, new idea and new products.

I hope you will enjoy yourselves, and make connections and create the next tech startup dealing with culture, tourism and art. We hope these workshops will also give you valuable skills that are useful in marketing and branding your ideas.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa faces many challenges. But there are also many opportunities. The key to these opportunities is the youth of Pakistan…and the future is a global and networked economy. In this new, dynamic and globalized world, the youth of KP have an opportunity to work, to innovate and to share. It is up to us to listen, and support this wave of change.  

In closing, I would like again to thank the Government of KP, for demonstrating their support to important events such as these that emphasize the potential of youth, innovation and culture. I am looking forward to an exciting 2 days. Enjoy yourselves! I know I will!

Media Contacts
In Washington
Joe Qian