Breaking Down Barriers: New Community Center Aims To Celebrate Pakistani Culture, Connect Neighbors

Photo courtesy Shahid Khan
Photo courtesy Shahid Khan

Community leaders, elected officials and other neighbors celebrated on Sunday the opening of a new center in our area that is dedicated to promoting Pakistani languages, literature and culture, as well as connecting the neighborhood’s growing Pakistani  and South Asian community with other local residents.

New York University’s Alliance for Pakistan and Urdu Studies (APUS) and the Brooklyn Rebuild Immigrant Community and Knowledge (BRICK) organized Sunday’s debut of the APUS Community Center at 920 Foster Avenue, by E. 10th Street. Numerous political and civic leaders came out to support the facility that will offer everything from immigration services to the rapidly growing South Asian population to events highlighting the Urdu language – and which many stressed will play a crucial role in breaking down barriers between neighbors who may not often interact in their daily lives.

Photo courtesy Shahid Khan
Photo courtesy Shahid Khan

“The Alliance for Pakistan and Urdu Studies at New York University is proud to celebrate the inauguration of the APUS Community Center in Brooklyn,” Gabriela Nik. Ilieva, a professor and chair of NYU’s APUS program, said during the ceremony. “APUS in Urdu means ‘person-to-person’ and ‘reciprocity,’ which is our motto. Our organization has worked towards the promotion of a culture and a language, with a rich and complex history. This history encompasses centuries-long social, ideological, political processes envisioned and articulated through its unique literary and intellectual traditions.”

Borough President Eric Adams, left, and BRICK leader Shahid Khan. Photo courtesy Maria Newsom
Borough President Eric Adams, left, and BRICK leader Shahid Khan. Photo courtesy Maria Newsom
Neighbor Shahid Khan, of BRICK, addresses the crowd as Community Board 14 District Manager Shawn Campbell looks on. Photo courtesy Maria Newsom
Neighbor Shahid Khan, of BRICK, addresses the crowd as Community Board 14 District Manager Shawn Campbell looks on. Photo courtesy Maria Newsom

Ilieva also noted the importance of the Foster Avenue center opening on March 8, which was International Women’s Day.

“While progress has been made, much more needs to be done to achieve gender equality in the fields of literacy, economy, politics, administration, and business (in Pakistan),” Ilieva said. “And it can best be achieved through the local language when understanding the local mindset and culture. And this is exactly where APUS helps! Today is the International Women’s Day and it is auspicious that we are all gathered in this new community place of change. APUS congratulates women here, in the U.S., in Pakistan and globally. We are proud of our accomplishments and will continue adding APUS efforts like small drops to a big wave pushing towards a future in which all women have a voice and a choice to pursue their dreams on equal terms.”

Councilman Mathieu Eugene, left, speaks during the celebration. Photo courtesy Maria Newsom
Councilman Mathieu Eugene, left, speaks during the celebration. Photo courtesy Maria Newsom
Photo courtesy Shahid Khan
Photo courtesy Shahid Khan

Shahid Khan, a neighbor and leader at BRICK , will be spearheading the programs and services at the new center. If you’d like to get in touch with him, or the center, you may call 718-880-5243 or 347-933-7938. For further information, you can visit the Alliance for Pakistan and Urdu Studies’ website.

And many thanks to Shahid and neighbor Maria Newsom for sending the photos of Sunday’s festivities!

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Anna Gustafson

Editor of Ditmas Park Corner

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