As the world entered into the twenty first century, it witnessed drastic changes in the political, economic and cultural spheres across the world. A salient feature of this century is the emergence of various public domains facilitated by developments in communication technology, shifts in political tectonic plates and the withering away of the welfare state. These developments have had long term repercussions on the state and society.
One of the consequences of these developments is the disappearance of common spaces where citizens can engage and communicate. The absence of such spaces results in a weakening of the culture of dialogue and the opportunity to learn from each other. To address the problématique of state and society in the age of globalization, civil society movements and citizens' action groups have emerged in various parts of the world. Despite their heterogeneity, there is a common strand in these movements; that is, convergence of people on a single platform because of their commonality of interest.
Realizing the lack of civic spaces in the country in general and in Islamabad in particular, Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) has taken the initiative of launching a platform - the Civic Café. The basic idea behind the Civic Café is to strengthen the role of civil society through dialogue, and to provide space for discussion on various topics, building new relationships, and strengthening old ones. The participants of this forum will not be from one particular group, class or school of thought, rather they will comprise a medley of persons hailing from different walks of life. Hence the slogan “A Place for All”.
The Civic Café will be a forum for discussing the general problems, challenges, issues and difficulties that are faced by society in general. It is not necessary that the participants will come to a consensus or reach a conclusion after the discussions, but everybody's point of view will be taken into consideration, heard and respected. The papers presented and discussions will be recorded as a contribution of the Civic Café to civil society discourse in the particular context of Pakistan.
If anyone is interested to present her/his idea or topic, relevant to this forum, the Civic Café will provide the platform. Tea will be served and arrangement made. The most important point to note is that this forum is 'YOURS'. In order to make it better we need your comments and feedback. Therefore, please feel free to write or email your comments and feedback so that we can to live up to our slogan, 'A Place for All'!
Looking forward to having the honor of your presence in the Civic Café.