IIAS lecture

T2F - A Safe Haven for Karachites

An interactive talk by Mrs. Mahenaz Mahmud, Chairperson of PeaceNiche.

The subject of this talk is the cultural space called 'PeaceNiche' in Karachi, which was created by the speaker's daughter Sabeen Mahmud. The presentation will include video material to showcase the activities that take place at ' The Second Floor' (T2F), the flagship project of PeaceNiche.  There will be ample time for Questions & Answers, and drinks afterwards.

Registration: Please send an email to if you would like to attend this special meeting.

PeaceNiche, a not-for-profit NGO, established in 2007, registered under the Societies Act of 1860, promotes democratic discourse and conflict resolution through intellectual and cultural engagement. Committed to becoming a vibrant centre of Pakistan’s developing civil society, PeaceNiche (PN) works in the areas of Arts & Culture, Science and Technology and Advocacy. The focus areas are:

  • Intellectual Poverty Alleviation
  • Platform for dialogue and creative expression
  • Social Change through the Arts
  • Development of a vibrant community of civic-minded citizens
  • Youth Engagement

The Second Floor (T2F), PN’s flagship project is a welcoming venue where people can gather, talk and laugh, listen to music and poetry, discuss politics and current issues and drink tea or coffee. Inspired in part by the Pak Tea House of days gone by, T2F is all about sparking conversations by providing a platform for people to engage with each other. A community space for open dialogue, T2F features a cafe and bookshop and hosts readings, meet ups with writers, talks, debates, theatre performances, film screenings, open-mic nights, jam sessions and stand-up comedy. Its doors are open to all.

Attracting a truly diverse audience, T2F bridges divides of age and class, addresses the concerns of minorities and marginalised groups, and is a hub for intellectuals, social workers, and artists. It is an independent platform for participation, dissent and collaboration, giving young people the confidence to enter a public space, perform, experiment, question and join current debates. In 2015, T2F had 100 visitors a day and it has inspired similar efforts in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.

Further reading

An extensive article about the topic, written by Sabeen Mahmud, has been published in Journal Case Study (MIT Press), entitled Creative Karachi. Establishing an Arts & Culture Center for the World’s Most Rapidly Growing City.

Bio Mahenaz Mahmud

A pioneer in Early Childhood Education (ECE) in Pakistan, Mahenaz has worked extensively with young children and adults, teaching, developing curricula and learning resources in urban and rural areas of Pakistan. She has initiated and led innovative ECE projects in the public and private sectors. She has also engaged in research and advocacy initiatives to make national and provincial policies receptive toward ECE. Her efforts resulted in Pakistan’s first National ECE Curriculum in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. She is a founding member and academic advisor of TRC’s Institute of ECE, where she also taught on the Certificate Programme for pre and in-service teachers.

Currently, she is the Academic Advisor of the PECHS Girls’ School where she continues to lead and implement innovative policies and practices that aim to make the school child-friendly and relevant to current times.

She is also the Chairperson of PeaceNiche, based in Karachi, which is a vibrant arts and culture centre that promotes democratic discourse and conflict resolution through intellectual and cultural engagement.