Two-day workshop on ‘Wetlands for Life’ begins at MERC. 

Date:

Srinagar, May 7: The Kashmir University’s Media Education Research Centre (MERC), in collaboration with the Centre for Media Studies New Delhi, organised a two-day media engagement programme on ‘Wetlands for LIFE’ for media students and scholars. The workshops inaugural session was held on Tuesday.

The workshop aims to equip media academicians with comprehensive knowledge and practical skills in wetlands conservation and environmental journalism. Through a series of engaging sessions, expert presentations, and field visits, participants explored the ecological significance of wetlands, the role of the media in advocating for their conservation, and effective storytelling techniques for environmental reporting. 

The inaugural session was attended by several dignitaries, including Professor Nilofer Khan, Vice Chancellor, University of Kashmir; Prof. Sabeha Mufti, HOD MERC, Kunal Bharat, Forestry and Biodiversity Advisor; Annu Anand, Director, CMS, programmes; Professor Aliya Ahmad; Prof. Syeda Afshana; Prof. Malik Zahra; Dr. Afsana Rashid; Dr. Raashid Maqbool, Dr. Irfan Hashim; Dr. Adil Bakshi; and faculty of different departments.

The workshop aims to held diverse range of sessions, interactive discussions, and hands-on activities led by esteemed experts and practitioners in the fields of environmental conservation and journalism.

Vice Chancellor, Professor Nilofer Khan, talked during her address about the Wetlands of Kashmir and their significance in terms of environmental conservation and said that it is high time to preserve the wetlands that are facing degradation threats and shrinking issues. 
“As academics, we have to start the conservation wetlands campaign on a large scale, from universities to schools, to educate the students about the preservation and conservation efforts of these wetlands,” she added.

Commending MERC and CMS for organising this workshop, she said that such initiatives should be continued in the future so that we can educate the students on how to save our environment, water bodies, and wetlands.

HOD MERC, Professor Sabeha Mufti, while welcoming the guests during the inaugural session, stated that the programme was an opportunity to promote knowledge about the environment and wetlands preservation in Kashmir.

The wetlands in Kashmir, including Wular Lake, Hokar Sar Lake, and Khushal Sar Lake, have been facing the church for the last several years, while the government is doing a tremendous job of preserving and restoring these wetlands. 

“In this programme, we aim to discuss the strategy and how to preserve these wetlands, which are facing degradation threats in Kashmir,” she said, adding that the MERC has played a tremendous role in producing a lot of journalists who have covered environmental issues in Kashmir from time to time.

“Through this programme, we have to develop the skills of the students as to how they can cover environmental issues in Kashmir,” the HOD said.

Annu Anand, Director CMS, shed light on the importance of the wetlands in Kashmir, through which thousands of families are getting livelihoods preserved with each passing day.
About CMS, she said that the centre is working hard on issues pertaining to environmental issues across the country. “Last year we launched a programme on a large scale on sustainable development in which around 500 students took part,” she added, that the centre’s work has been published in several leading newspapers and magazines in the country.

Furthermore, Kunal Bharat, Forestry and Biodiversity Advisor (GIZ), shed light on the programme’s key focus across two days and said that the Wular Conservation and Management Authority (WCMA) will collaborate with us on the second day of the workshop, for which we will visit the Wular Shores, where students will be educated practically as to how the wetlands are being preserved and restored through various efforts.

He also talked about the many workshops and film festivals that were conducted by them across India and shed light on the outcome of these workshops in preserving the wetlands.

The workshop was coordinated by Dr. Afsana Rashid, Assistant Professor MERC, and co-coordinated by Dr. Irfan Hashim, Lecturer MERC.

Meanwhile, Dr. Afsana Rashid, the coordinator of the workshop, presented a vote of thanks, which she expressed to the faculty, scholars, and students. 

Besides talking about conservation efforts for wetlands, she talked more about how we aim to inspire and empower the next generation of journalists to become champions of environmental protection and sustainability.

The programme was supported by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) under the BMUV-IKI Project on Wetlands Management for Biodiversity and Climate Protection.

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