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ACHA names four activists for Peace Star Award 2012
Narendra Ch | 23 Nov 2012

Dr. Syed Mazher Hussain (Hyderabad, India), Ms. Sheema Kermani (Karachi, Pakistan), Mr. Lajja Shankar Herdenia (Bhopal, India), and Mr. Pramod Sharma (Chandigarh, India) to get these awards.

The Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA) named three social activists from India and one from Pakistan to honour them with the ACHA Peace Star Award 2012. This was in recognisation for their  commendable and meritorious work to foster peace, communal harmony and human rights, particularly in South Asia.  They are Dr. Syed Mazher Hussain (Hyderabad, India), Ms. Sheema Kermani (Karachi, Pakistan), Mr. Lajja Shankar Herdenia (Bhopal, India), and Mr. Pramod Sharma (Chandigarh, India).

  ACHA is a 20-year-old, U.S.-based, non-profit organization, which is dedicated to promoting peace in South Asia, and communal harmony among South Asians everywhere.

Dr. Mazher Hussain, Hyderabad,

Involved full time in social activism since 1997, Dr. Syed Mazher Hussain is an indefatigable campaigner for peace within his own society as well as between societies of South Asia. As the founder and executive director of Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA), (www.covanetwork.org); and as a member, or officer of some notable national and international organizations (like Transcend, Coalition for Peace and Harmony ICANID, Pakistan-India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy, Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, etc), he has conceived of, coordinated, and led many programs and campaigns to prevent communal conflict and sectarian violence; foster communal harmony and community empowermentin India; and to promote peace in South Asia. He has undertaken social development, people-empowerment and disaster-relief projects in India and some even in Pakistan. Besides he has participated in international conferences on peace, diversity, co-existence, and conflict management in over 35 countries. Currently he is working on setting up the Center for Peoples Foreign Policy in South Asia and the International Center for Applied Peace Studies.

Ms. Sheema Kermani, Karachi,

Ms. Sheema Kermani has made invaluable contribution to the cause of peace, human rights, social harmony and promotion of secular values.  She is one of the founding members of Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD), as well as the Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC), and has taken active part in peace activities of both organizations.

She is an accomplished and internationally recognized classical dancer, choreographer, stage and television actress.  In recognition of her work, she was nominated, in 2005,  for the Nobel Peace Prize as one of the “1000 Peace Women from across the Globe,”  was awarded the Shah Abdul Latif Award in 2005, and  “The Courageous Woman Award” by Pakistan Women Lawyers Association in 2009.

 Mr. Lajja Shankar Herdenia, Bhopal,

As a professional journalist, a trade unionist, and officer of organizations like Sarvadhrma Sadbhav Samiti, Samprdayikta Virodhi Committee, Qaumi Ekta Trust, National  Secular Forum,  Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, and Madhya Pradesh government’s National Integration Committee, for many years Mr. L. S. Herdenia has selflessly agitated against anti-minority violence and communalism, upheld secular values, and promoted communal harmony in India, but particularly in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

 Mr. Pramod Sharma, Chandigarh,

Having experienced, in the wake of the 1947 Partition, the resettlement trials and tribulations of his family of refugees from Pakistan Mr. Pramod Sharma has dedicated his life to promote culture of peace among youth, and welfare of the marginalized people, through voluntary effort and individual and community action.

 As head of Yuvsatta, a Chandigarh-based NGO, he initiated a campaign for making Chandigarh a Peace City and has helped launch Peace Clubs in the area’s more than 100 schools and colleges. In the year 2000, he organized a World Youth Conference on ‘Millennium without Violence,’ at Chandigarh. And since then, in order to promote the spirit of nonviolence, foster volunteerism, and to combat inequality, he has spearheaded efforts to arrange seven International Youth Peace Festivals at Chandigarh, some of which drew several hundred youth from as many as 25 countries.