LAHORE-The Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP), a non-profit organization dedicated to cultural and historical preservation, launched the Story Share Initiative in 2018, an ambitious project that leverages technology to create meaningful and transformative dialogue across thousands of miles.

At its most basic, the Story Share Initiative looks to build to demolish boundaries, bring people together, and foster dialogue within Pakistan and with the United States.

For SSI, CAP has partnered with Shared Studios for their ‘portal’ technology: portals are immersive gold spaces placed in communities around the world that allow groups to share their stories and culture with a global network of 40+ sites in 20+ countries.

Portals achieve this by allowing you to connect to someone in a distant portal and converse live and full-body, as if in the same room. To date, over 150,000 people across the world have participated in dialogues, games, and performances through these portals.

The portals in Pakistan have been based in various cultural centers; in Karachi, the portal has had three homes: Alliance Français, Pakistan, American Cultural Centre, and now the National Academy of Performing Arts.

In Lahore it has been placed in the Institute of Art and Culture and is currently at the National History Museum, also run by CAP.

The sessions themselves have been one of two types: national and international. The national sessions take place between Lahore and Karachi making two historical and distinct cities much more accessible to each other.

The Story Share Initiative has invited a wide range of experts from modern icons such as Ahsan Bari, who has led Pakistan’s music scene, to veterans such as SheemaKirmani, an activist and Bharatanatyam dancer.

The national sessions break boundaries and stereotypes, as exemplified by NishatAleem Khan, a trail-blazing female architect.

Thus far, sectors have included journalism, social sciences, political engagement, leadership, wellness, art, filmmaking, and more.