EMPOWER - Coca-Cola Lecture Series was launched by Coca-Cola Pakistan in 2014 as an innovative programme to provide extra-curricular learning to university students through inspirational talks delivered by experts in various fields. Therefore, in the spirit of International Literacy Day 2016, Coca-Cola Pakistan held a lecture on 8th September at Forman Christian College in Lahore, Pakistan.

The lecture was entitled 'Reading the Past, Writing the Future' following the guidelines of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the global theme marking the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day. The lecture was delivered by guest speaker Mr. Imran Sarwar who is the Co-founder & CEO of Rabtt, Pakistan. Rabtt is a social enterprise working to provide students a more holistic education experience through camps and workshops that focus on fostering critical thinking, tolerance, and creativity.

“Corporate social responsibility should be practiced by not just funding watershed, education and women empowerment projects, instead corporate entities should generate direct communication with communities to address critical issues and global concerns. Building on this idea, EMPOWER is our CSR initiative that seeks to understand the issues our youth is facing, especially those relating to their personality development and career path, and provide the youth with expert guidance through a series of thought-provoking talks, by people who have overcome tough challenges to achieve heights in their respective fields,” stated Fahad Qadir, Director, Public Affairs & Communications, The Coca-Cola Export Corporation, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Imran Sarwar held an interactive session with the students of FC College by raising thought-provoking questions for the audience. It was interesting to contemplate over the existence and purpose of human life. Imran was able to set a foundation for the lecture’s topic ‘Reading the Past, Writing the Future’ before he proceeded with his life story. The students of FC College participated keenly throughout the session and it was concluded that conscience is not bounded by religion, caste or color; it is imperative that humans understand their role in the society and function collectively by helping the ones in need. Once this was established, Imran expounded over Rabtt’s philosophy in creating an ‘Empathetic Pakistan’.

Imran emphasized that for achieving the objective of providing quality education for a better world, it’s important to learn lessons from the past, “We cannot change the past but we sure can write our future. I had an idea, but more importantly I also acquired passion which helped me transform the ideas into realities. With a curious mind, I was always keen to explore the setup of public schools in Pakistan and the aspirations of young students studying in those schools with limited resources. Students from private schools are privileged to make use of better resources and their young minds are developed in the same way, but these young minds can be the game changer if they can share their skills and learning with students in public schools. The whole idea is to generate exponential goodwill and confidence among the youth of Pakistan, and perhaps the youth of this world.”

This is one of the many lectures that Coca-Cola Pakistan has planned in the coming months, which aim to generate awareness among the privileged class of Pakistan which has resources to expedite goodwill across the masses. The opening talk of the Coca-Cola EMPOWER programme 2016 at FC College by Imran Sarwar will now be followed by regular talks at several other leading universities across the country, covering topics such as marketing, HR, innovation and self-discovery. The talks will be delivered both by senior executives of Coca-Cola and by external subject specialists, engaged by Coca-Cola for the programme.