Director, The Samosa Media Project, Pakistan
Anwar Akhtar is the founding director of The Samosa, a digital media project developed to support welfare, human rights, education, and citizenship groups in Pakistan. The Samosa promotes economic and social development by working with diaspora communities to engage them with larger NGOs and international development networks. He also works closely on "Pakistan Calling," a project initiated by The Royal Society of Arts & Commerce that promotes collaboration of young filmmakers from Britain and Pakistan, resulting in over 60 films on issues of identity, equality, development, and tolerance. In addition, Anwar functioned as a production consultant on "Dara," a play and eventual film jointly produced by Ajoka Theatre Pakistan and the National Theatre UK to tackle issues surrounding religious freedom, tolerance, and an imbalance of power that still exists today. Finally, Anwar also works closely with Laal, a popular Pakistani band with songs based on great Urdu poets writing during South Asia's 1930s progressive writers movement. They use their platform to champion human rights and equality, while speaking out against violence and political corruption. In 2016 they held a peace concert at the Royal Festival Hall in conjunction with the Asian Dub Foundation, which Anwar helped co-produce. Anwar holds a degree in social studies from Sheffield Hallam University. Anwar is a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar.