The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) marked a significant milestone as it celebrated its 50th Foundation Day with great enthusiasm and pride. The event, attended by esteemed guests including former diplomats, senior officials, members of the Diplomatic Corps, academics, scholars, researchers, and representatives of civil society, think-tanks, and the media, showcased the institute’s rich history and achievements.
The Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest, adding to the importance of the event.
Highlighting ISSI’s Legacy and Contributions:
During the event, Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, the Director-General of ISSI, took the opportunity to reflect on the institute’s remarkable journey since its establishment in June 1973.
Ambassador Mahmood expressed gratitude to the previous Chairmen/Directors General, scholars, and researchers who have contributed to ISSI’s success over the past five decades.
He emphasized the crucial role of think-tanks in the policy ecosystem, providing a platform for scholars and policymakers to engage, collaborate, conduct research, and influence policy decisions. ISSI aims to bridge the gap between academia and practitioners, ensuring a comprehensive approach to strategic studies.
Vision for the Future:
Ambassador Sohail Mahmood outlined ISSI’s future vision, which includes strengthening its collaboration with national institutions, engaging with the private sector, civil society, and youth as important stakeholders, establishing fruitful partnerships with global think-tanks, focusing on key regions like ASEAN, Central Asia, and Africa, addressing global challenges such as climate change and arms control, and emphasizing the pivot to geo-economics as part of comprehensive national security.
The Global Landscape and Pakistan’s Foreign Policy:
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari delivered an insightful address, sharing Pakistan’s assessment of the current global environment and providing his perspective on various aspects of the country’s foreign policy.
He highlighted the interconnected challenges of food, fuel, financial crises, and the existential threat of climate change. Addressing the intensifying great-power contestation, the Foreign Minister emphasized Pakistan’s opposition to bloc politics and the need for cooperation over confrontation in international relations.
Regional Relations and Conflict Resolution:
The Foreign Minister discussed Pakistan’s relations with various countries and regions, including China, the U.S., Russia, Europe, the Muslim world, and particularly India. He stressed that addressing the Kashmir dispute and ensuring a peaceful resolution in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people is crucial for durable peace and prosperity in South Asia.
Regarding Afghanistan, he emphasized the importance of pragmatic approaches, constructive engagement, and inclusive governance to ensure stability, human rights, and effective counter-terrorism measures.
ISSI’s Contributions and Publications:
During the event, ISSI’s five centers presented the Foreign Minister with their latest books and special reports, covering relevant themes aligned with Pakistan’s needs. The CPSC presented a report on connectivity and engagement with Central Asia and Azerbaijan, while the ACDC focused on emerging threats and shifting doctrines in South Asia.
The ISC highlighted the importance of peaceful coexistence through economic cooperation and climate diplomacy, while CAMEA explored Pakistan’s strategic frontiers. The CSP presented reports on human security through development and regional cooperation on climate change in South Asia.
The 50th Foundation Day celebration of ISSI showcased the institute’s significant contributions to strategic studies over the past five decades. With a vision for the future and a commitment to bridging the gap between academia and policy-making, ISSI aims to continue playing a vital role in shaping national and international strategies.
The event highlighted the importance of cooperation, dialogue, and inclusive approaches in addressing global challenges and fostering peaceful relations among nations.
The cutting of the cake symbolized the joyous celebration of ISSI’s Golden Jubilee, signifying a bright future ahead.