The 7th Edition of ‘Women of the World’ Festival Comes to a Close in Lahore

The 7th edition of the British Council’s WOW – Women of the World Festival in collaboration with Standard Chartered, Shan Foods, UNFPA, ECDI Pakistan and Olomopolo Media concluded on Sunday, 3 March 2024 at the Alhamra Arts Council, Lahore.

The two-day festival which was free and open to the public had a notable attendance. This was the first WOW festival held in Lahore after successive festivals in Karachi and Hunza.

The opening speech at the festival was by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Jane Marriott with a closing speech by the Deputy Chief Executive of the British Council, Kate Ewart-Biggs.

The event was also attended by the Chair of the British Council, Dr Paul Thompson.  The programme for the WOW festival included one-of-a-kind panels, workshops, film screenings, immersive performances, vibrant marketplaces, and puppet shows and films for children. There was an exciting line-up of performances including from popular music artists Natasha Noorani and Eva B.

The closing performance at the festival was from an ensemble of artists including Amna Riaz, Romaisa Tariq, Annural Khalid and Natasha Baig featuring Hassan and Roshan.

British High Commissioner, Jane Marriott CMG OBE, said: “This year’s Wow festival continues to push boundaries, both tackling the big gender issues of the day and expanding to Lahore. As the rights of women across the world come under assault, it has been inspiring to hear from so many of those on the front line of defending them. Women – and men – need to work together to make this the sort of world in which we all want to live.”

Kate Ewart-Biggs, the Deputy Chief Executive of the British Council said: “We know that no nation can truly succeed without its women and girls contributing fully and freely. That’s why our support for the WOW Festival in Pakistan is so important. The first WOW festival in South Asia took place in Pakistan eight years ago, and it has taken centre stage ever since. The barriers seem to get higher and the glass harder, but I know that there are countless examples of inspirational and powerful women from Pakistan who continue to lead and show us the way.”

Dr Paul Thompson, Chair of the British Council, said: “I was delighted to witness the first WOW festival ever held in Lahore and the enthusiasm and passion of the participants and audience. Women and girls empowerment is at the heart of our work and this festival is one of the many ways we do that in Pakistan.”

Presented in partnership with the WOW Foundation, the theme for the festival this year was Sakhiyan (Friends), an ode to friendship between women. The theme was explored through multiple topics including mental health, climate change, education, women in public spaces, the digital divide, power and patriarchy and disability.

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