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I feel honoured to have been chosen as the Executive Director of Lok Virsa. I first joined this institute in 1988, when I came back to Pakistan after completing my Ph. D. in the USA. I was put in charge of the Research Section then and actively participated in all the programs for about four years. While at Lok Virsa, I was inspired to start the research on my first book, Taboo, exploring the hidden taboos associated with performing arts. After a gap of more than 20 years, where my career path took me into the UN, local organizations, human rights work and cultural activism, I feel fortunate to have this opportunity to serve Lok Virsa again in this leadership capacity. Lok Virsa was set up in 1974. The vision for focusing on culture came from Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who then assigned Faiz Ahmad Faiz, the renowned poet, to translate this idea into reality. Faiz sahib developed Pakistan's first cultural policy and conceived Lok Virsa as the institute to focus on the folk and traditional culture. Lok Virsa's first Executive Director, Uxi Mufti, organized the institute and developed its various sections including the audio and video archives, museum galleries, research section and a publication program. The subsequent Executive Directors added to the documentation and made their contributions in different ways. My focus during the time I am at the Lok Virsa will be on the promotion of our folk cultures and inculcating them in the lives of people as a means of rejuvenating our pride in who we are as a nation by appreciating our pluralistic identities. Thus, my focus will not only be on promoting the folk artisans and artists, but also on developing their abilities to support our youth. I will also focus on engaging with our communities so that they feel an ownership of this Government platform and use it to further their ethnic and cultural celebrations. Lok Virsa has long been a hub for people who love their culture or want to get a glimpse of Pakistani culture. I will invite individuals, societies, universities, cultural institutes, student groups, and media to engage with us and help us to effectively deliver on our mandate for our nation.

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