A five-page interview was published in ORTHOJOGOT (a bimonthly financial magazine) Issue No. 3 of 2017. The interview dealt with expectations regarding the upcoming budget, likely growth rate of GDP, the need for district budget, the financial situation of state-owned banks etc.
An article titled “In Defence of Growth” was published in The Financial Express dated 31 May. The article highlighted the importance of growth acceleration even at the cost of some increase in inequality in low income countries such as Bangladesh with large number of people below poverty line because empirical studies show that growth is the most important determinant of poverty alleviation.
A three-page interview was published in a Bengali weekly journal Shaptahik dated 25 May. The interview dealt with the prevailing investment environment, capital flight, non-performing loan in the banking system, implementation failure of successive budget etc.
Other Activities 2017
02 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam along with Mr. Md. Irffan, Chief Executive Officer of Asian Tigers Capital (an Asset Management Company) participated in a discussion on expectations from upcoming budget for reinvigorating the capital market broadcast by TV channel NTV.
03 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam participant in a discussion broadcast by TV channel 71. The other participants were Mr. Ahsan Mansor, Executive Director, Policy Research Institute and Mr. Syed Nasim Manzoor, immediate past President of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. The subject matter of the discussion was the upcoming budget—its size, implications of proposed VAT, sectorial priorities in allocation and implementation capacity of the administrative machinery.
03 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam along with Mr. Matlub Ahmed, President of FBCCI and Mr. Mamun, Rashid Partner PWC Bangladesh and former Dean BRAC University Business School participated in a discussion broadcast by Jamuna TV. The focus of the discussion was the capital flight from Bangladesh. Actions needed to reduce / eliminate this malady were reviewed.
13 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the Chief Guest at a program titled “Debate for Democracy”. The subject matter of the discussion was “Discipline in the Financial Sector”. The discussions focused on efforts by the government and the Central Bank to ensure a healthy banking system, successes and failures of these efforts and policy actions needed to address the emerging stresses of the banking system.
14 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam participated in an Expert Group Consultation convened by the World Bank Bangladesh. The other participants were Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman (Former Advisor Caretaker Government), Dr. Farashuddin (former Governor Bangladesh Bank) and Mr. Farooq Sobhan (Former Foreign Secretary and presently Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute). The discussions dealt with recent developments in the macroeconomic scenario of Bangladesh, short term as well as long term challenges and identification of priority policy initiatives to deal with the challenges.
16 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam along with Dr. Shamsul Alam, Member General Economic Division of the Planning Commission participated in a talk-show broadcast by TV channel DBC. The discussions dealt with recent changes in some important macroeconomic indicators and their implications for GDP growth of Bangladesh in FY 2017.
20 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam along with Mr. Matlub Ahmed, President of FBCCI and Mr. Syed Nasim Manzur, former President of MCCI participated in a talk-show broadcast by Channel 71. The discussions focused on various aspects of the upcoming budget— its realistic size, reasonable rate of VAT, measures needed to increase private sector investment and financing of infrastructure.
20 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the only discussant in a TV program broadcast by Jamuna TV. The subject matter of discussion was the pros and corns of the proposed VAT.
22 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the Chief Guest at a program in which IDLC (a leading non-bank financial institution) launched an open end mutual fund. The potential role that an effectively managed mutual fund can play in strengthening investors’ confidence and thereby in the development of the Capital Market was discussed.
24 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was a panelist in a seminar organized by the daily Bengali newspaper Amader Shomoy. The subject matter was the upcoming budget. The other panelists included Dr. A. Majid, former Chairman National Board of Revenue, Mr. Salam Murshedy, Former President of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association and several other eminent economists and business leaders.
27 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was a panelist in a discussion on various aspects of the FY2017-18 budget. The discussion was organized by Policy Research Institute (PRI) and TV Channel 71. The proceedings were directly broadcast by Channel 71. The panelists included about a dozen eminent economists and a few retired Secretaries to the Government of Bangladesh.
29 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the Special Guest at a round table discussion organized by The Finance Alumni Association of Dhaka University. The subject matters were declining flow of remittance, development of bond market, young entrepreneurship development and infrastructure financing. Mr. M A Mannan, the State Minister of Finance and Planning was the Chief Guest.
29 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam along with Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies participated in a talk-show broadcast by TV channel NTV. The discussions dealt with various aspects of the upcoming budget including government grant to state-owned banks for meeting capital adequacy, value added tax and implementation capacity of the government in both revenue collection and government projects.
30 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the only discussant in a TV program broadcast by NTV.
31 May: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the only discussant in a TV program broadcast by Channel 24 and another one broadcast by ATN Bangla.
Arik Rafiquddin Ahmed, a student of applied physics and electronics program in the Mathematics and Natural Sciences Department presented his thesis work on May 31, 2017. The thesis work was supervised by Mr. Avijit Das from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, BRAC University. The Examination Committee was chaired by Professor A. A. Z. Ahmad. Professor A F M Yusuf Haider, Professor Toffazol Hossain and Dr. Firoze H. Haque were also present in the Viva-Board as members of the Examination Committee. The research work carried by Arik Rafiquddin Ahmed was appreciated by the Examination Committee.
C3ER, BRAC University completed the first phase of field investigation to assess the climate change loss and damage in Bangladesh under the project titled Floating Houses: Community Based Flood Resilience Innovations in Bangladesh funded by KPMG East Africa Limited. The field survey was conducted at Kutubdia Upazila of Cox’s Bazar district from 15-30 May 2017.
During the field investigation several KIIs, FGDs, IDIs and household questionnaire surveys were conducted at the selected Upazila. The main objectives of the field visit were to collect valid information on damage to housing, damage to community livelihood and impact of the disaster on livelihood, health mobility, water supply and sanitation, poverty and occupational vulnerability, psychosocial impact and gender, education and governance system. About 102 questionnaire surveys were conducted, which covered the household information of different classes and occupations. The survey conduction had also put a sharp concentration on the vulnerable households.
Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) organized a workshop on 'State and Trend of Climate Finance Flow in Bangladesh' on 31 May 2017 at Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Dhaka. Ms. Subarna Ershad and Mr. Rezwan Siddiqui participated in the workshop as the representative of C3ER. The event took place in order to assess the state, trend, challenges and opportunities on climate finance in Bangladesh for the last few years and also for involving some significant government organizations and international development partners. The consultation workshop started with a welcome speech by Dr. Atiq Rahman, Executive Director, BCAS. He welcomed and informed everyone about the background and aim of this workshop, and its alignment with Climate Finance Transparency Mechanism (CFTM) project on the global need for climate finance transparency.
Afterward, Dr. Saleemul Huq, Director, ICCCAD; in his welcome speech explained in detail about the structure of CFTM project, its relevance, and the context of increasing demand for global aid transparency, and also the output of the project.
Ms. Catherine M. Cecil, Team Leader, Promoting Knowledge for Accountable Systems (PROKAS) gave a presentation on PROKAS initiatives. She described the tasks and approaches of PROKAS and mentioned CFTM as one of its important components.
Mr. Golam Rabbani, Fellow, BCAS, presented a key lecture on the preliminary findings of CFTM as “State and Trend of Climate Finance Flow in Bangladesh.” Then Dr. Atiq opened the floor for plenary discussion. Among the participants, there are government officials from ministries, government institutions, and research centres and there are some academicians too.
Three students, Prateem Das, Sharmin Sultana and Faiza Noor-E-Rashid pursuing BS in biotechnology gave their thesis presentations on 29 May 2017 in Room UB 21511 of the MNS Department. The title of their theses were “In Silico structural and physiochemical characterization of AtNHX2”, “Detection of Extended spectrum β-Lactamase (ESBLA), screening of Amp C β-Lactamase and detection of CTX-M and aacA-APHd genes among the multidrug resistant bacteria found in two tertiary hospitals of Dhaka city” and “Phytochemical screening of ethanol and methanol extract of Pimpinella Anisum and comparison of antibacterial assays of prevalent organisms in Bangladesh” respectively.
The Viva-Voce Examination for the presentations was chaired by Professor A. A. Z. Ahmad and attended by Professor Mahboob Hossain, Dr. Aparna Islam, Ms. Romana Siddique and Ms. Zubaida Marufee Islam.
Two students pursuing BS in microbiology programs defended their undergraduate theses on 29 May 2017 in Room UB21511 of the MNS Department. Nishat Anzum Shova and Sakia Binte Azam presented the results of their research study in medical microbiology and molecular biology titled “Comparative study on the antibacterial activities of Neem oil, Mustard oil and Black seed oil against Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Bacillus cereus, Salmonella typhi and Pseudomonas aeruginosa” and “Comparative study on the antibacterial activities of four commercially available antiseptics ( Dettol, Hexisol, Oralon and Betadine ) against Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae , Bacillus cereus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa” respectively. The research studies were conducted at the microbiology lab at the MNS Dept. under the supervision of Professor Mahboob Hossain.
The Viva-Voce Examination for the presentation was chaired by Professor A. A. Z. Ahmad. Professor Mahboob Hossain and Mr. Mahbubul Hasan Siddiqee were also present as members of the Examination Committee. The committee highly commended the work carried out by the students. The members of Examination Committee highly lauded the quality of research.
How faecal contamination in the ‘last 100 metres’ of water provisioning hurts the urban poor and denies politicians a triumph
The last two decades have seen much improvement to drinking water supplies to millions of poor urban people across the developing world. However, potential benefits of improved water supply are severely compromised by faecal contamination at a critical zone around the point of use - ‘the last 100 metres (L100M)’ - where water is taken from the community standpipes to people’s homes. In short, urban, national and increasingly global architectures for sustainable development are falling short - just metres before the ‘finish line’. This has severe consequences for public health. But it also denies politicians and their development partners the opportunity to celebrate and take credit for the remarkable achievement of extensive water provision.
The Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that came into force on 1st January 2016 made it clear that access to safe water without safe sanitation means development is unsustainable (SDG 6). Yetresearch shows that most municipal governments in developing countries prioritise potable water provisioning over safe containment and removal of faecal matter. Water is usually provided via community taps (standpipes shared by a group of households) that have led to improved availability of potable water to many urban informal settlements.
However, it is in theL100M where water is carried from the standpipe to the home that problems arise. Unserved by sewerage systems, slum-dwellers rely on toilets draining into poorly constructed septic tanks or pits. Settlements are commonly located on low-lying and poorly drained lands, and the dwellers lack awareness of and provisions for safe handling and disposal of sewage - resulting in the contamination of settlements with faecal material. Through various pathways (e.g. dirty buckets, unwashed hands, insect and rodent vectors) potable water and food is contaminated, causing ill-health.
This challenge has attracted the attention of a group of world leading scholars, practitioners and entrepreneurs led by the UK’s Lancaster University-based Bangladeshi scientist – Dr. Manoj Roy. Since 2013 they have been conducting research to understand the L100M dilemma and find ways of resolving it. The team includes: six Bangladeshi organisations (BRAC University, Dhaka University, Dushtha Shasthya Kendra [DSK], International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh [ICDDR,B], Institute of Water Modelling [IWM] and Water Aid Bangladesh); one Indian organisation (Centre for Science and Environment[CSE]); two Tanzanian organisations (Ardhi University and BRAC Tanzania); and three UK institutions (Lancaster University, University of Manchester and British Water).
Two significant research projects have been implemented and are ongoing –EcoPoor: Urban poor’s access to ecosystem services (sponsored by UK Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation programme) and The Last 100 Metres: Safeguarding potable water provisioning to urban informal settlements (sponsored by the British Academy Global Challenge Research Fund’s Sustainable Development scheme). Both projects involve comparisons of Dhaka and Dar es Salaam - the commercial capital of Tanzania.
The research team will share their key findings at the Daily Star Roundtable, co-ordinated jointly by the team’s two Bangladeshi collaborators: Water Aid Bangladesh and Department of Architecture of BRAC University. The collaborators look forward to a policy-focussed discussion on how to transform infrastructure and practice in the L100M, leading to measurable improvements to ‘quality of life’ for poor urban people. The Roundtable will reinforce the need to develop a strategy to contain and remove faecal material from poor urban communities - to finish the good job of water provisioning to the urban poor.
Web link of the event covered by national news papers:
Ms. Sharmina Hussain, Assistant Professorattended the International Conference on Advances in Computational Mathematics (ICACM 2017) which was held on 27-28 May , 2017, in the Department of Mathematics, University of Dhaka. The Conference was jointly organized by the Department of Mathematics, University of Dhaka and South Asian University, New Delhi, India. The Conference consisted of an informative and comprehensive scientific program, featuring keynote papers, oral and poster presentations. More than 100 participants from home and abroad were present on the occasion with their valuable research results and vigorous exchange of ideas and experiences gained during practical operation and theoretical analysis of some advanced computations of scientific problems took place.
Ms. Sharmina Hussain presented one of her research findings entitled “Heat and mass transfer response in MHD natural convection flow due to oscillating surface temperature and concentration” on May 28, 2017 and her oral presentation was greatly appreciated by the audience.
Safe Motherhood Day, observed on 28 May, was celebrated this year under the national theme of ‘নিরাপদ প্রসব চাই, স্বাস্থ্য কেন্দ্রে চল যাই’ which can be loosely translated as ‘For safe childbirth, let’s visit health centres’.
To observe the day, seven Academic Sites of Developing Midwives Project (OGSB in Dhaka, FIVDB and Shimantik in Sylhet, GBC-CHP in Mymensingh, HOPE Foundation in Cox’s Bazar, LAMB in Dinajpur, and PHD in Khulna) organised events throughout the day. Following directives from Directorate General of Health Services, they collaborated with local administration, government health professionals and the media in the celebratory efforts. Through popular folk media such as theatre and role plays, mass awareness was built around maternal healthcare and the important role a midwife plays in the life of the mother and the new-born.
In the ‘pop-ups’, final-year students from the Diploma in Midwifery education extended counselling on pre- and post-natal safety, family planning methods, and general wellbeing of the mother and child. Like the small-scale social media campaign carried out for International Day of the Midwife this year, the Developing Midwives Project initiated a similar campaign on Facebook to create mass awareness around midwifery, alongside the Academic Sites and midwives active on social media.
As per its commitment to enhance management excellence in developing business dynamics, the BRAC Business School (BBS), BRAC University conducted a two-day certificate training course on ‘Managing Project with Microsoft Project’ dated 26 and 27 May 2017. In general, the course aimed to enable participants to understand fundamentals of project management and to use Microsoft project in planning & controlling project.
Executives, graduates and students were among the participants. The training course was conducted by Mr. Md. Hasan Maksud Chowdhury, Assistant Professor, BRAC Business School, BRAC University.
The first satellite ground station in Bangladesh built by university students to communicate with “BRAC Onnesha”, the first nano-satellite made by a Bangladeshi university, was inaugurated by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG, Chairperson, BRAC; and Chairperson, Board of Trustees, BRAC University.
Inaugurating the ground station on thursday, 25 May 2017 at 11:00am through a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the rooftop of BRACU’s campus building number 4 (44 Mohakhali, Dhaka), Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG said the responsibility of carrying out frontier research fell on all of the country.
He said the nation was still dependent on utilising benefits of research conducted in foreign countries, some of which invested some 2 to 3 percent of their GDP in this sector, while he was unsure whether Bangladesh invested hardly 0.1 percent.
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG said the nation would greatly benefit if the government spends at least one percent of its GDP on research.
BRACU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Syed Saad Andaleeb, Ph.D. put emphasis on collaboration among universities, the government and industries, saying that if this can be realised then “the sky is the limit”.
The inauguration was followed by a short video presentation and demonstration on antenna control and receiving data/beacon by a team of BRACU students involved in the ground station.
A replica of “BRAC Onnesha’’ was presented to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed by the ground station team. The occasion was then celebrated with the cutting of a cake.
The three students who developed the satellite -- Abdulla Hil Kafi, Raihana Shams Antara and Maisun Ibn Monowar -- connected to the program through Skype from Japan.
The guests expressed hope that the initiatves would not only further Bangladesh’s space research and satellite communication but also develop technical expertise.
"BRAC Onnesha", a cube measuring 10cm along its edge and weighing around one kilogramme, will be deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) once it is taken there on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket which is scheduled to be launched from Florida, USA on 2 June 2017.
Earlier this year, on 8 February, BRACU became the first Bangladeshi educational institution to get its very own nano-satellite, developed and assembled by three of its students using technology and facilities of a Japanese university.
Side by side six students started working on the ground station and two more students recently joined the team under the guidance of two advisers from the faculty -- Dr Md Khalilur Rahman and Dr Md Hasanuzzaman.
The students are Mohammed Shourobh, Aynul Huda Emil, Bijoy Talukder, Sananda Jagati Choyon, Jamil Arifin, Arafat Haque, Md Sakiluzzaman and Adnan Sabbir.
The ground station set up at BRACU is capable of receiving topographical data gathered by “BRAC Onnesha”, when deployed into low earth orbit at an altitude of around 410km, passing over Bangladesh four to six times every day.
The BRACU researchers will analyse and interpret data taken in the form of high quality photographs, observe space environment and help serve academic and research goals.
The ground station will also receive audio signals and be used for communication during emergencies via amateur "ham" radio equipment, can be and will be connected to many other satellites on purpose and when agreed upon.
The team of students assembled antennas, planned to set-up the room, and designed the tower with BRACU’s architecture department and Brac’s Construction Department.
They have been successfully using softwares to receive beacon (data) from weather satellites like NOAA-18 and NOAA-19, which allows free data access.
The James P Grant School of Public Health invited renowned development practitioner Dr Salehuddin Ahmed to deliver a Talk at the School on "35 Years of Learning Experience" on 25 May. Dr Ahmed touched upon the current scenario in Bangladesh and its path moving forward, including the challenges Bangladesh is currently facing. He also discussed about the success factors relating to BRAC.
Dr Salehuddin Ahmed worked with the world’s largest private development organisation, BRAC in different capacities from 1979 until 2004. He also served as the Pro-Vice Chancellor of BRAC University from 2005 - 2009.
PDC organized a session with the Vice Chancellor of BRAC University, Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb, Ph.D. on 25 May, 2017 at 1.30 pm, GDLN Centre. All the participants of PDC Certificate program were present in this conversation. Professor Andaleeb shared his study result on student engagement in this session. Participants also shared their views and opinion about the study with the Vice Chancellor. It was an open discussion between the Vice Chancellor and PDC participants.
In this rapidly changing world, adjustment is a persistent feature of human personality. A person of adjusting nature can lead a cheerful and wholesome life. The stage of university life is an important part of the student’s life as he/she moves from the total dependence on the teacher, family and curriculum into the complete independence. Moreover, many students move away from their cities into new places which may cause a change in their cultural, social and psychological environment and all these may affect their adjustment to the university life.
Therefore, like previous semester, to aware students about the significance of well adjustment, the Relationship Management Offiice of BRAC University organized a workshop on “Adjustment with Self and Others” with total twenty two freshers of BRACU girls’ Hostel on 25 May 2017 at BRAC University premises. The workshop was conducted by Safina Binte Enayet and Monzia Mushtaq- Psychosocial Counselors and Lecturers of the Counseling Unit, BRAC University.
The objectives of the workshop were to assist students to know about the meaning of adjustment, different aspects of adjustments, characteristics of a well adjusted person and some effective tools to make university life more productive and enjoyable one.
The workshop was started by expressing positive affirmations regarding self. Shortly after that a discussion was held on the different aspects of adjustment. Later on, a meditation was done to deepen their insights about the characteristics of a well adjusted person. In addition, some effective tools to make university life a productive one were shared with them. Students’ contentment was expressed through their enthusiastic participation throughout the whole workshop.
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