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South Asia Regional Hub

South Asia Regional Hub

In a region often focused on centralised and securitised approaches to extremism, the Strong Cities South Asia Regional Hub is engaging with local municipalities and stakeholders on an exciting prevention and resilience agenda; empowering cities to explore their potential and facilitating opportunities to engage with regional counterparts on how hate and extremism can manifest and be addressed at the local level.

Identifying City Needs & Priorities in South Asia

Through desk research, in-depth interviews, virtual and in person roundtables, the South Asia Regional Hub mapped the local threat landscape and identified the needs and priorities of cities and subnational authorities for mayors and local governments across the region to fulfil their potential in prevention and resilience-building.

The South Asia Regional Hub is delivering considerable impact in the region, including inter alia:

  • The Regional Hub’s Inaugural Workshop in February 2023 marked a rare opportunity for a regional dialogue on the role of South Asian cities in prevention, convening municipal leaders and practitioners and other stakeholders to catalyse city-led efforts to address hate and extremism.
  • In Mardan (Pakistan), following a request from the mayor, the Hub supported the establishment of Liaison Committees to investigate hate targeting various communities including IDPs.
  • In New Delhi (India), the Hub convened 20 mayors and elected councillors in May 2023 for a national mayoral roundtable to discuss the role of cities in building social cohesion and harmony. Several participants shared that this was the first time being asked about their needs on these issues as opposed to being told what to do by higher levels of government in their country.
  • In Trincomalee Town and Gravets (Sri Lanka), a multi-ethnic city with a history of inter-communal tensions and violence, the Hub supported the local government to establish a local prevention committee tasked with developing a risk profile and prevention plan based on community consultations. Multi-cultural youth engagement activities were also organised, with Sinhalese coaches coaching Tamil players.

Hear from Cities in South Asia

The Strong Cities South Asia Regional Hub Workshop in Colombo, Sri Lanka provided me with a deeper understanding of strategy review and the crucial components for fostering positive community change. It’s empowered me to enact impactful strategies.

Haroon Sifat – Chairman Pishtakhar Union Council, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan

The South Asia Regional Hub Inaugural Event was wonderful! Being part of this workshop was a memorable experience and shared a lot of knowledge.

Khajja Ibrahim—Women’s Development Committee, Addu City, Maldives

Empowering our youth and engaging public speakers are vital steps for preventing and addressing major societal concerns. Participating in Strong Cities seminars, workshops and forums connects us with local and international advocate experts, enriching our understanding and ideas to address these issues.

Saud Ali – President of Thinadhoo City Council, Thinadhoo Atoll, Maldives 

Inspired by ideas from other cities and local governments across the region that we learned about at Strong Cities events, we conducted a workshop on youth engagement in collaboration with the National Counter Terrorism Centre. The South Asia Regional Hub through its various activities has been instrumental in helping us develop action plans by facilitating the sharing experiences and fostering collaboration among cities.

Ismail Rafeeq – Mayor of Fuvahmulah City, Maldives, 

The emphasis on needs assessment and stakeholder mapping at the Mayoral Roundtable on Proactively Engaging Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and preventing IDP-focused hate speech and polarisation in Mardan, Pakistan in May 2023 was invaluable. It filled gaps in my understanding on this topic and enhanced my community engagement approach. 

Adil Khan – Chairman Chota Lahor, Tehsil Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan 

About the South Asia Regional Hub

The South Asia Regional Hub was launched in January 2023 at an event in Dubai that brought together local, national, civil society and multilateral stakeholders to identify priorities across the Hub’s five pillars. The team is now driving forward its ambitious work plan, informed by the priority themes identified by stakeholders across the region during the inaugural event, with a particular focus on leveraging existing city-level frameworks, resources and structures.

The Regional Hub is also engaging cities in the Southeast Asia region.

Supported by funding from the US Department of State, the Regional Hub is working with local governments to identify their relevant needs and priorities, and provide them with the support, resources and access needed to become leaders in prevention, ensuring their perspectives inform relevant national, regional and global policy and programme conversations.

South Asia REgional Hub


Anika Ahmed


Simeon Dukic

Deputy Director, Global Engagement