CHAIRMAN - Shah Ghulam Qadir
The idea of ‘Kashmir Institute of International Relations’ (KIIR) was born after my interactions with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and its activities towards the pursuit of its mission objectives. After having attended the International Seminar and a subsequent Kashmir dialogue, organized by USIP in July 1992 and January 1993 respectively, I was inspired to initiate measures towards finding a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict keeping in view the aspirations and wishes of the Kashmiri people. Hence, KIIR was launched on 24 July 1993.
Being a Kashmir myself, I have experienced first-hand the inherent difficulties of pursuing peace while being confronted with conflict and its ramifications on a daily basis. However, my staunch belief in the KIIR motto of “Peace through Dialogue” has enabled me to keep my spirits buoyant and continue relentlessly with my work. This is also because in conflict areas like Kashmir, where people are suffering, it becomes imperative to provide practical assistance in making peace.
Although it is very difficult to comment on the success and failure of any organization after a decade, I would certainly make an exception in the case of KIIR. The organization has enabled people from various sections of political life to provide sustenance to conflict resolution initiatives.
When Sardar Amjad Yousaf Khan joined KIIR in 1996, it enabled us to work even more actively towards the pursuit of new avenues for building peace. Our efforts have been successful because we were able to direct the attention of thousands of people in both parts of Kashmir and hundreds around the world towards the necessity of peace building through dialogue. We discussed our views and thoughts with different think tanks and international NGOs that have been working in the field of peace and conflict resolution; shared the approach of Intra-Kashmir dialogues to find common ground between the different schools of thought in search for peace in Kashmir and worked to get Kashmiri politicians, members of parliament, lawyers, journalists and people from different walks of life trained in conflict resolution and negotiating skills.
Now, after twenty-five years of strengthening peace initiatives, I feel glad to witness the same approaches being adopted by different international organizations working towards peace building in Kashmir.
I also want to thank all our members and Kashmiri expatriates for their moral and financial support over the years. And I look forward to our members’ continued support in meeting the challenges we might face as we move into the third decade of our existence