On January 14th 2017, BRAC University Economics Club went on a study tour to Dhaka Resort, Gazipur. The tour was headed by ESS faculty - Shehzad M Arifeen. The tour was very lively and energetic as students actively participated in various outdoor sports such as – cricket, football, volleyball and badminton. The games were followed by a prize giving session where groups were awarded for their performance in respective games.
BRAC University (BRACU) celebrated “Pohela Falgun”, the first day of spring at its campus on 13 February to welcome the most awaited “Season of flowers”. Students celebrated the day singing songs, reciting poems and dancing. The campus was decorated with festoons and banners representing Bangladeshi culture. Girls wore sarees representing colours of spring while boys colorful panjabis. Dr. Ansar Ahmed, Director, Institutional Effectiveness of BRACU, inaugurated the event while Ivan Shafaat Bari, Director, Office of Co-curricular Activities (OCA), BRACU and other Heads of Departments were also present.
“Pitha Utshob”, a fair showcasing traditional cake, arranged by BRAC University Heritage Forum (BUHF) added new enthusiasm among the students. Every year, BUHF organizes this fair to introduce students with Bangladeshi culture. The venue was an open place in the campus known as “Prangon” where students brought varity of cakes. “Prangon’’ was beautifully decorated and stalls were set up. Popular Bangla songs played in the background added more delight to the enthusiasm of the fair.
At the auditorium and cafeteria areas, OCA organised several programs including magic & comedy shows and indoor games. The event was support by e-commerce site Daraz Bangladesh Ltd.
BRAC University (BRACU) Vice Chancellor Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb, Ph.D. received nano-satellite BRAC ONNESHA from Kyutech President Professor Yuji Oie and Professor Mengu Cho, Director, Laboratory of Spacecraft Environment Interaction Engineering, Kyutech on February 8, 2017 in Kitakyushu, Japan.
For all to witness this history in the making, BRACU organised a LIVE videoconference connecting the ceremony in Japan to its Mohakhali campus in Dhaka.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Dr. Shahjahan Mahmood, one of the guests of honour in Dhaka, asked Abdulla Hil Kafi, Maisun Ibn Monowar and Raihana Shams Islam Antara, the three BRACU students who designed, developed and assembled BRAC ONNESHA at the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech), to come over to give a presentation and organise a workshop at BTRC on their accomplishments.
He also announced that Bangladesh’s first satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite 1, would be launched from Florida on December 16 this year and that construction of two others were in the pipeline. The BTRC chairman also invited the three students to work in the Bangabandhu project upon their return.
Professor Dr. A. A. Ziauddin Ahmad, Chairperson, Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, BRACU, presided over the ceremony in Dhaka and gave a brief description of BRAC ONNESHA. He said it was a great leap forward regarding technology transfer and that Bangladesh needs to build up its indigenous manpower and start developing high technology. Dr. Md. Khallilur Rahman introduced the audience in Japan.
He said space was the final frontier with many promises and that this was a powerful transition and that though the nano-satellite was small, the journey of its creation was big.
Kafi, now studying Applied Science for Integrated System Engineering in Kyetech, explained that the nano-satellite would be able to take high quality photographs of land to analyse vegetation, urbanisation, flood, water resources, forestry etc.
It will also allow relaying audio signals and attaining communication through HAM radio during emergencies and catastrophe and play the national anthem on days of national importance, observe space environment and monitor satellite location, he added.
Professor Mengu Cho of Kyutech said BRAC ONNESHA was easy to build and affordable and their prime objective was to educate the students so that they could go back to build one completely by themselves, presumably in October 2017.
He said the satellite was among five developed for five nations and that in unison they were able to accomplish tasks which expensive and bigger ones could not achieve.
Responding to queries of journalists, Dr Arifur Rahman Khan, the visionary who first brought up the project, connecting to the videoconference from the US, said new issues seemed complicated but students should have a dream to try, share and work together to increase diversity and give something to the nation. Dr. Md. Khallilur Rahman also responded to queries from journalists.
Professor Dr. A. A. Ziauddin then presented memorabilia to the guests of honour in Dhaka, including Mr Toshiyuki Noguchi, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh; BTRC Chairman Dr. Shahjahan Mahmood; and SPARRSO member Dr Hafizur Rahman.
BRAC ONNESHA is shaped as a cube of 10cm edge capable of completing one orbit 400 kilometres above the ground in 90 minutes and passing over Bangladesh four-six times a day. BRACU has also started building a corresponding ground station in its Mohakhali campus in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
As part of its academic endeavours, BRACU took up an initiative to start space and remote sensing research in collaboration with Kyutech and SPARRSO almost three years back.
Delhi Policy Group in collaboration with the Asia Foundation facilitated a Roundtable Discussion on Advancing BBIN (Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal) Agenda in Guwahati, Assam on 30th and 31st January 2017 at Hotel Gateway Grandeur. The main objective of the discussion was to conduct an in-depth analysis of the opportunities and challenges of taking forward this participation in the four topical ranges of water, energy, trade and transit. Recognized members from Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India took part and presented at each of the roundtables. Professor Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus, and Advisor, C3ER, BRAC University was welcomed as a valuable speaker at the Roundtable Discussion. The BBIN Roundtable dialog likewise recognized the current issues and made proposals to address the obstacles keeping in mind the end goal to forward the monetary mix.
On Sunday, January 29th, Ms. Nazifa Chowdhury, Representative of Women’s Forum, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) have met Mr. Annajiat Alim Rasel, Lecturer III and Undergraduate Course Coordinator, Department of Computer Science and Engineering. They have discussed about how to increase women’s participation in technical events organized by BASIS specially in “Tech Women Conference 2017” to be held on 1st February 2017 at Media Bazaar, Bangabandhu International Convention Center (BICC), Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka. The conference is a part of 11th BASIS SoftExpo 2017 to be held during 1-4 February 2017. SoftExpo is the largest private sector expo for IT and ITES products and services in Bangladesh. Dhaka.
Since 2015, the James P Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH), BRAC University and icddr,b (Technical Training Unit) have been implementing a WHO-TDR Post-graduate International Training Scheme on Implementation Research. This year, the meeting was held from 28-29 January 2017, and attended by distinguished experts including Dr. Joe Varghese (Senior Research Scientist, Public Health Foundation of India) and Dr. Deepak Paudel (Director, Nutrition & HIV/AIDS, Save the Children, Nepal), Dr. Aftab Uddin (Head, Technical Training Unit, icddr,b), Dr. Sabina Faiz Rashid (Professor and Dean, JPGSPH), and Dr. Syed Masud Ahmed (Professor and Director, Centre of Excellence for Universal Health Coverage). The TDR Annual Scientific Meeting for TDR Fellows is one of the key activities to allow them meet and network with national and international public health experts and academicians and showcase their research that they undertook as a part of the Master of Public Health Programme.
In 2015, JPGSPH was selected to implement the World Health Organization’s TDR International Postgraduate Training scheme on implementation research for MPH programmes. It is one of the seven global academic institutions, which has been selected to implement the four-year scheme.
- A half page OP-ED interview with Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was published on 13 January, 2017 in The Asian Age. The interview dealt with many contemporary issues facing Bangladesh. Among the issues discussed were Rohingya crisis, implications of Brexit and Donald Trump’s Presidency, GDP growth and investment climate in Bangladesh.
- A half page interview with Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was published in the Bengali daily newspaper Alokito Bangladesh on 16 January 2017. The interview focused on the growth prospects of Bangladesh economy in the near future in light of recent indicators. The indicators considered included export performance, remittances received, credit flow to the private sector, classified loan in banking system, tax revenue collection and developments in the stock markets.
- An article entitled “Clouds on 2017 Macroeconomic Horizon” was published in Issue No. 119 of Market Pulse—a monthly journal of Lanka Bangla Securities. The article analyzed recent developments in some key macroeconomic indicators such as exports, remittances, interest rates, revenue collection, classified loan in the banking sector etc. and their implications for achieving 7.2% GDP growth target for FY 17.
- 1 January: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was a discussant in a TV program broadcast by DBC TV channel. Another participant in the discussion was Mr. Ibrahim Khaled, Former Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank. The topic of the discussion was the present state of affairs in the banking system of Bangladesh and prospects for 2017.
- 15 January: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam participated in an Expert Group Consultation convened by Bangladesh Bank. The subject matter of discussions was what should be the stance of Monetary Policy for second half of FY 17 to be announced by Bangladesh Bank on 24th January. The discussions reviewed the recent developments in key macroeconomic indicators including developments in the financial sector. It was suggested that the upcoming Monetary Policy should provide guidelines as to how the emerging challenges can be addressed. The discussants included two former Governors of Bangladesh Bank, one former Finance Minister and a number of eminent economists from academic and research institutions.
- 16 January: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was a discussant in TV program broadcast by NTV on Bangladesh Capital Market. The other discussants were Mr. Farooq Ahmed Siddiqui, former Chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission and Mr. RokiburRahman, Former President of Dhaka Stock Exchange. The recent upsurge in stock market index and turnover as well as the emerging problems in the stock market were reviewed and suggestions were offered to deal with them.
- 17 January: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the lone discussant in a TV program broadcast by Independent Television. The discussion focused on what should be the focus of upcoming Monetary Policy in light of recent changes and near term prospects of important macroeconomic indicators.
- 23 January: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the only discussant in the TV broadcast by Ekushey television. The subject matter of discussion was the near term growth prospects of Bangladesh in light of recent changes in selected macroeconomic indicators as well as likely developments in the world economy.
- 25 January: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was a participant in a discussion broadcast by TV channel 24 News. The other participant was Mr. Benazir Ahmed, former President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries and presently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of North South University. The discussion focused on constraints to increasing domestic private sector investment as well as attracting foreign direct investment. Suggestions were also offered regarding policy measures to mitigate the constraints.
- 28 January: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam delivered a lecture at a seminar organized by Dhaka University Business Studies Faculty. The lecture focused on budget processes of Bangladesh, the need for increasing both Revenue/GDP ratio and Expenditure/GDP ratio. Actions needed for improved revenue collection, cost effective expenditure management including implementation of Annual Development Programs and timely utilization of external assistance were highlighted.
- 29 January: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the only discussant in a TV program broadcast by Independent Television on Monetary Policy announced by Bangladesh Bank for the second half of FY 17. Comments were offered on the monetary targets, approach to exchange rate management, policy rates of Bangladesh Bank and emerging scenario regarding exports as well as remittances.
A group of students from BRAC University (BRACU) achieved the "Best Young Innovator" award at the "Solve-a-thon" competition at "Digital Innovation and City Branding Fair 2017 (Dhaka Division)" held on January 28, 2017 under Access to Information (a2i) Program, Prime Minister’s Office.
The project from BRACU in the competition was titled “BRACU BAT GPS BASED TAXI FARE METER”. The team comprised of Toufiq Hasan, Benazir Mustafa and Tanvir Ahmed, all from Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and Raj Shekhor Roy of Computer Science and Engineering.
BRACU was the only university getting the prize this year and project was adjudged “A+” and got the “BEST YOUNG INNOVATOR” award. The judges marked the projects based on uniqueness, how it can solve social problems, cost and time efficiency and creativity. The project covered all the requirements/criteria given.
The competition was between the cities of Dhaka Division. It was about the social development through information technology. The organisers invited universities and organisations to present innovative projects. More than 15 projects were presented from different innovation organisations and universities, including Dhaka University, North South University and Dhaka Polytechnic Institute.
The BRACU project was the thesis project of Md Toufiq Hasan, Benazir Mustafa and Tanvir Ahmed as part of their academic pursuit and was supervised by Dr. Khalilur Rahman as Associate Professor of CSE at BRACU.
The James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University (JPGSPH) warmly welcomed its 13th batch of Masters of Public Health (MPH) students, beginning with an orientation programme on 28 January 2017 at the School premises. The new students were introduced to several of the faculties and teaching fellows followed by an overview of the School, whereby the students were familiarised with the various research projects undertaken at JPGSPH, the wide variety of seminars and short courses conducted by leading national and international public health experts, which they would be able to participate in as part of the JPGSPH experience.
Given the diverse cadre of students, all hailing from various national, educational, and professional backgrounds, the students were given the opportunity to get acquainted with each other through the icebreaking session and a group dynamic exercise. The MPH students officially began their classes later that afternoon with the “Introduction to Public Health” course, facilitated by Sabina Faiz Rashid (Professor and Dean, JPGSPH).
BRAC University Natural Science Club organized a tour to Gazipur Safari Park on the 28th January, 2017,
Along with 120 students who are members of BUNSC and some respected faculties of MNS department with their families started their journey at 9 o’clock in the morning. Three buses took off in front of UB01 with some young minds filled with excitement. Breakfasts were distributed along the journey to the Safari park. The group reached their destination around 12 pm and a short briefing was given to all personnel present. All the students and faculties divided into subgroups and started exploring the area. They observed seven facilities in a row which were parrot aviary, macaw land, marine aquarium, carp garden, boat riding, crown pheasant and hornbill aviary. During the tour, the groups also experienced elephant riding, kangaroos, and hippopotamus submerged in a lake. It took almost five hours for the complete tour. Right after these segments, food was served in the Tiger restaurant situated in the area, where some lucky students witnessed tiger roaming around. However, the hour of returning to usual busy life knocked the door and with new happy memories, the group left the Safari Park. Light refreshments were distributed in all the buses. The BUNSC family reached BRAC University, Mohakhali at around 7 pm and with heavy hearts.
All friends parted their ways and ended their journey with a promise that they will gather again soon for another day like this.
On Thursday, January 26, Annajiat Alim Rasel, Lecturer III and Undergraduate Course Coordinator, Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department, BRAC University, attended a meeting as a Question Making Committee (QMC) member for “Capacity Building on Information Technology (IT) Engineers Examination (ITEE) Management” project under implementation by Bangladesh IT Engineers Examination Council (BDITEC), Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), Information and Communication Technology Division (ICTD), Ministry of Posts, Telecommunication and IT (MoPTIT). To meet increasing demand for questions for the international IT examination, the committee introduced new members: Dr. S. M. Farhad, Associate Professor, CSE, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dr. Khondaker Abdullah Al Mamun, Associate Professor, CSE, United International University (UIU), AK Sabbir Mahbub, CEO, DEVNET Ltd, Mr. Mahmudur Rahman, CEO, Mukto Software Limited and Associate Judging Director, ACM-ICPC Dhaka Site, Mr. Faruq Ahmed Jewel, Consultant, Access To Information (A2I), Prime Minister’s Office. The committee discussed how to meet the future demand of questions, what areas to focus on and how to motivate people. The event took place in 2nd floor conference room of BCC presided by Prof. Dr. Md Mahfuzul Islam, ex-chairperson, CSE, BUET. Other participants included Mohammad Mohidur Rahman Khan, Systems Analyst, BCC, Md. Golam Sarwar, System Analyst, BCC, Dr. Md. Nawab Yousuf Ali, Associate Professor and Chairperson, CSE, East West University, Dr. Mahammad Nurul Huda, Professor, CSE and MSCSE Coordinator, UIU, Dr. Mohammad Rashedur Rahman, Associate Professor, CSE, North South University (NSU), Dr. Shohrab Hossain ,Associate Professor, CSE, BUET, Abdul Hannan Chowdhury, Maintenance Engineer, BCC etc., Further details about ITEE can be found at http://itpec.org/
On January 26, 2017, the Department of Pharmacy, BRAC University organized a workshop on the operation “Learning Management System” (LMS) developed by BRAC University. The workshop was conducted by Mr. Hamim Al Hasan, Education Technology Specialist (Asst. System Programmer), BRAC University. LMS is a platform where the teachers can provide all the necessary information that they want to share with their students starting from basic lecture materials to any news. During the workshop, Mr. Hamim Al Hasan gave a basic introduction about LMS. He also gave a hand-on experience on how to utilize available resources for lecturing students. The session ended with valuable suggestions from the audience on making the operation more efficient.
A journal review session took place on January 26, 2017, at the Meeting Room of BRACU Savar campus. Mr. Istiaque Hossain Molla, faculty member of Bangladesh Studies, discussed the article titled ‘Administrative reform in Bangladesh: Three decades of failure’ written by Abu Elias Sharkar.
The article focused on the administrative system of Bangladesh. It discusses the perspectives on administrative reform in developing countries and the overall scenery of Bangladesh civil service and administration. Mr. Istiaque mentioned problems with the administrative system addressed by the writer, some of which have been prevailing since the Pakistan period. Other administration problems include lack of political commitment, limited capacity of government, bureaucratic resistance, factionalism in the public sector, ineffective basic public management process, corruption, and the politicization of administration. The discussion turned to various reform initiatives in Bangladesh in different political and military regimes.
Mr. Istiaque further discussed the writer’s recommendations such as the donors’ role in reforms. The role of international donor agencies and NGOs can also be included in public administration lectures. The article emphasizes on new public management that focuses on service rather than hierarchical bureaucracy.
At the end of the discussion, faculty members shared their opinions related to the article.
Under the project “Building awareness for UHC in Bangladesh: Advancing the agenda forward in 2016” the second Bangladesh flagship course on Health System Strengthening and Universal Health Coverage was held from 22-26 January 2017 at Savar, Dhaka. Building on lessons and experiences from the first flagship course (which took place in 2016), the Health Economics Unit (HEU), in collaboration with its local and international partners conducted the second flagship course; the James P Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH) has been the partner academic institution of this activity. Dr Mehedi Hasan (Research Associate, JPGSPH) received the best poster award at the course.
The course was attended by 42 participants representing different ministries of the Government of Bangladesh, NGOs, and academic and development partners. The course was facilitated by national and global experts from The World Bank, World Health Organization and was inaugurated by Md. Sirajul Islam, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of Bangladesh (GoB), while the concluding ceremony was attended by Md. Ashadul Islam, Directorate General, HEU, MoHFW, GoB.
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