Name: Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi
Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi is an aeronautical engineer who lost interest in aircraft at a certain point in his career. Looking for a greater purpose in life, he found his passion for social activism and development. Pursuing this dream, he founded the Pakistan Youth Alliance, Khudi, HIVE and Dil Say Pakistan over the years, in order to tackle society’s most pressing problems around violent extremism and how to prevent it (PVE).
Throughout his career, he has successfully led more than 30 projects focused on countering violent extremism (CVE), peacebuilding, interfaith harmony, civic education, and social innovation – which have all gathered international recognition. Several of the projects he conceived and implemented have been quoted as “best practice” in P/CVE by independent think tanks globally and a documentary on his work by Al-Jazeera “Pakistan: The New Radicals”, which profiled him as one of the nine most important activists in the world in 2012. He has been further recognised as the “Bravest Blogger of The World” by US Daily Beast, and has received several awards such as the Intercultural Innovation Award by the UN and BMW Group, and the Azme Alishan Award.
In light of his extraordinary background, he was handpicked by Kofi Annan as one of the ten Young Leaders in the Kofi Annan Foundation’s ‘Extremely Together’ initiative. Having participated in a wide range of national and international fora, he believes that the dream of a plural, progressive and equal Pakistan can only be realised by meaningful collaborations at different intersections of society.
Open to: Consulting, mentoring, speaking, training, writing
Areas of Expertise: Campaigning, community mobilisation, CVE, PVE
Geographical Scope: Pakistan, Afghanistan, EU, Iraq, Sri Lanka, USA
Research paper – USC, Los Angeles: Civic Imagination Of Pakistani Youth & CVE Messaging
Research paper – Karachi Youth Network: Mapping on Current C/PVE Actors in Karachi With a Focus on Gaps On Existing Programs
Blog – Better together: Holographic Screenings