Academy for Democracy

    LVS 2016

    Rehabilitating Landscapes

    Economic constraints and pursuits; increased tourism and the subsequent transformation of local environment,
    nature and culture have contributed to the degradation of the natural landscape of Naran and Kaghan Valley in Northern Pakistan. Prevalent issues are deforestation, sanitation, and a growing culture of irresponsible tourism, which is destroying the living landscape of these valleys. Laajverd Visiting School will investigate how local culture and environment is embedded within the landscape and how can this co-existence flourish rather than fail. It will further investigate the potential of natural and cultural landscapes to contribute to a sustainable economic model for locals i.e. through the presence of precious stones, local craft skills and local practices and patterns. Natural and cultural heritage sites will be explored as the LVS participants work alongside the local population with the aim of generating knowledge and proposing alternate and effective possibilities of understanding landscape as a resort for rehabilitation.



    Last year my teacher was a participant in LVS 2015, she shared her experience regarding rehabilitation of communities, diversity of participants and the workshops in the LVS. That motivated me to be a part of LVS 2016.I am thankful to LVS for providing a platform for learning in a diverse and intense environment that has changed my outlook towards my position as a researcher and a citizen. Being a thesis student, I am now able to understand various research methods and the importance and aspects of field/site research. Extensive field research enabled me to explore various aspects of a certain region and interaction with communities aided me to analyze them strategically. Laajverd is a source of inspiration for aspiring academicians and I’ll definitely recommend others to work with this organization.

    Nida Akhlaque, Architecture Thesis Student, COMSATS, Islamabad


    ‘Laajverd was an incredibly informative and immersive research experience that certainly exemplified the participant action research it aimed to achieve. It involved intuitive and creative ideas for community engagement and sustainable development that i shall remember and apply in a lot of my fields in the future. The multidisciplinary aspect of Laajverd was what set it apart as a premier academic program from the rest of similar initiatives. From a holistic overview, adopting a bottoms-up approach it aims to resolve problems from a micro-perspective that has a trickle down effect on the larger problems being solved simultaneously. With 5 Workshops, daily training sessions, field surveys and presentations, Laajverd was undoubtedly one of the most academically sound experiences I’ve ever had in my life.’

    Fahad Awan, Political Science student at LUMS


    LVS has played a major character in harnessing my career goals. The program is an ideal ground for interdisciplinary approach, which was exactly what I was seeking. Through LVS I have experimented, researched and shaped my own projects, which I would never be able to do otherwise. I would suggest this program for someone who is inquisitive and seeks alternate methods of doing things. Also, to someone who wants to broaden his/her spectrum and knowledge of understanding the world around him.

    Faryal Arif, Department of Visual Cultures, Karachi University


    One of the best experiences I have ever had in the Northern Areas was with Laajverd visiting school. Although I have been in northern areas many times but LVS transformed my entire perspective related to these landscapes.The most interesting and useful sessions were fieldwork activities and group discussions. I enjoyed the all workshops, and any discussion related to my topic (media studies) or beyond such as on culture and crafts. LVS community outreach activity “Paper making” was most enjoyable for me as I documented the whole process through my camera. The whole experience was amazing seriously and the best thing I noticed was the management, which was great! Each of the 10 days was well organized and I met the best people there!

    Aleem Raza, Media student, Riphah University