In March 2017, the Department of Pharmacy, BRAC University organized the First Ever ChemBio HACKATHON in Bangladesh. The event took place from March 28, 2017 to April 01, 2017 at the BRAC University premises. The Award Ceremony will be held on April 16, 2017 at the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN). Nuvista Pharma Limited, Bangladesh contributed to this event.
The ChemBio HACKATHON started with a three day-long training session from March 28, 2017 to March 30, 2017 on computational chemistry and biology. This was followed by the HACKATHON day held on April 01, 2017. During the training session, the participants were able to learn about popular molecular modeling, visualizing and sequencing software. The session provided the students with a firsthand training in solving modern molecular design problems employing in-silico methods and also provided them with enough resources to participate in the final competition.
The participants were the students of the BRAC University, among whom, 33 were from the Department of Pharmacy and 2 were from the Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The objective of this event was to give the students a hand-on experience regarding bacterial engineering for bioremediation, in-silico drug designing and designing siRNA by RNA interference technology (RNAi). This is also done with the view of preparing the students for future research in this field. In all, the program was a huge success!
Mr. Kenji Inoue and Ms. Masako Inoue, Japanese delegates from Kumon Educational Japan Co., Ltd. (KIE), have recently paid a three-day visit to Bangladesh from 27-29 March, 2017. The purpose of their visit was to meet with BRAC-Kumon team at BRAC Institute of Languages (BIL), BRAC University.
KIE is an organization that offers private tutoring through an individualized instruction in its Kumon centres and practices the Japanese educational method of mathematics and reading. The first Kumon centre was opened in Osaka, Japan, in 1985. As of November 2014, over 4.3 million students have enrolled under Kumon method in more than 30,000 Kumon centres in 49 countries around the world.
In Bangladesh, Kumon was first introduced in BRAC Education Programme with funding from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The pre-piloting began in November 2014 in three of the BRAC Primary Schools (BPS) for mathematics. BIL is currently working with Kumon in partnership with BRAC to establish the first Kumon centres in Dhanmondi and Uttara neighbourhoods of Dhaka by August, 2017, to offer its programmes for students from all tiers of the society.
During their stay, Mr. Inoue and Ms. Inoue visited other potential neighbourhoods, accompanied by BRAC-Kumon team, in search of an ideal location for their upcoming centres. In addition, both teams held meetings to discuss issues such as business plans, training programmes, and so on. Moreover, BRAC Research and Evaluation Department (RED) conducted a seminar on a market research study of Kumon perspectives in Bangladesh, which was chaired by Lady Syeda Sarwat Abed, Director of BIL, and Professor Abdul Bayes, Director of RED.
At the end of the visit, the Japanese delegates conveyed their appreciation of the initiatives undertaken by BRAC and BIL and also expressed their aspiration to expand their support in the development programs conducted in Bangladesh.
Reefat, a student of UG physics program presented his thesis work (PHY 400) on March 30, 2017. The work was supervised by Professor Mahbub Alam Majumdar of the CSE department. The Examination Committee was chaired by Professor A. A. Z. Ahmad. Professor Toffazol Hossain, Professor Mahbub Alam Majumdar, Dr. Firoze H. Haque and Mr. Muhammad Lutfor Rahman were also present as members of the Examination Committee.
Three students pursuing BS in microbiology programs presented their theses on 30 March 2017 in Room UB21511 of the MNS Department. Saria Farheen , Rocksher Annur and Samira Khandaker presented their research study in environmental microbiology, medical microbiology and molecular biology. The research studies were conducted at the microbiology lab at the MNS Dept. under the supervision of Ms. Fahareen Binta Mosharraf.
The Viva-Voce Examination for the presentation was chaired by Professor A. A. Z. Ahmad. Dr. Mahboob Hossain, Mr. Mahbubul Hasan Siddiqee, Ms. Fahareen Binta Mosharraf, Ms. Namista Islam, Ms. Trosporsha Tasnim Khan and Ms. Nazneen Jahan were present as members of the Examination Committee.
- An article titled “Emerging Global Macroeconomic Environment: Implications for Bangladesh” was published in The Financial Express dated 21 March, 2017. The article analyzed the linkage between exports, remittances and foreign direct investment with economic growth in Bangladesh. The risks to substantial boosts to these determinants of growth are dealt with. The article concludes that the stimulus for growth acceleration has to come mainly from the domestic sector of the economy. In particular policy makers need pay dedicated attention to reliving the constraints to private investment which, as a proportion of GDP, has remained stagnant for nearly a decade.
- An article “Corporate Governance: a Conceptual Overview” was published as a chapter in a special publication on Corporate Governance and Compliance in Capital Market by DSE Brokers Association of Bangladesh (DBA). The article dealt with the basic requirements of sound corporate governance as well as the benefits likely to be reaped by companies which implement corporate governance principles. Macroeconomic benefits are also discussed.
- A two-page interview report was published in Market Pulse (Issue No.121), a monthly journal of Lanka Bangla Securities. The interview dealt with the various factors which have influenced recent movements in the stock market of Bangladesh and suggestions for actions to ensure stable progress of the market.
06 March: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was panelist at a discussion organized by American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). The discussion dealt with emerging developments in the global macro economy and their implications for Bangladesh. The other panelists were Ambassador Farooq Sobhan, former Foreign Secretary and President, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, and Ambassador Muhammad Zamir, former Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Chief Information Commissioner.
Some of the actions needed to ensure gains for Bangladesh from the global economy were active negotiations to ensure market access for exports to US and UK following Trump’s election and Brexit, sending skilled labor to enhance remittances, identification of illegally employed expatriates in Bangladesh to reduce outflow of foreign exchange and efforts to increase foreign direct investment.
15 March: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the only discussant in a TV program broadcast by Ekushey TV. The discussion dealt with emerging developments in the macroeconomic scenario of Bangladesh and their implications for near term growth performance.
16 March: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam along with the President of Merchant Bankers Association participated in a program broadcast by TV channel News 24. The recent movements in the stock market indices and likely changes in the near future were reviewed.
26 March: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam participated in a discussion broadcast by TV channel 24*7 News. The other participant was Mr. Jamal Uddin, General Secretary of Bangladesh Economic Association. The discussion reviewed the achievements of Bangladesh in economic and social development since independence, challenges confronting the country now and policy measures required to deal with them.
29 March: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam along with Director General of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management and Chief Executive Officer of Bank Asia participited in a TV program broadcast by ATN Bangla. Emerging risks in the banking sector were reviewed and suggestions were offered to address the challenges.
- Simeen Mahmud, Head, Gender Cluster and Nuzhat Sharmeen, Research Associate attended the workshop on "Creating Inclusive and Resilient Cities" organized by CORD (Collaboration for Research on democracy), Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre in Milan, Italy from March 6-10, 2017. Simeen Mahmud presented the paper titled “Engaging the urban poor to build resilient communities: realizing the right to water in urban Bangladesh”.
- Simeen Mahmud; Maheen Sultan, Visiting Fellow and Sahida Khondaker, Research Associate presented paper titled ‘Care work and Gender Roles’, ‘Exploring Care Work of Women’ and ‘Images of Caring Men’ accordingly at the inauguration of the Center for Advanced Research at Central Women's University.
- Nuzhat Sharmeen attended the training on Elsevier (Science Direct) Digital Resource Awareness & Author Workshop in association with Access to Information (a2i), Krishibid Institute Bangladesh, March 02, 2017.
- Dr. Shanawez Hossain attended the meeting between BRAC and Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore, held at BRAC Centre on March 19, 2017. Dr. Hossain participated at a panel discussion on “NGO and development in Bangladesh” on the occasion of celebrating BRAC Day 2017, held on March 19, 2017. He also, attended a live TV Discussion on Traffic and Public Transport of Dhaka City based on BIGD’s State of Cities Report, 2016 at News24 on March 29, 2017.
On 28th March 2017 Mr. Ivan Shafaat Bari, Director, OSA, OCA and OCSAR along with Dr. Ansar Ahmed, Director, and Institutional Effectiveness BRAC University attended the Ashoka-U Exchange 2017 Miami Conference in Miami, USA.
Mr. Ivan had meetings with Bridget Fogarty Gramme, Assistant Administrative Director, Centre for Public Interest Law, Juan Carlos Rivas, MA, Assistant Director, Changemaker Hub and Peter Maribei, PhD Coordinator, Global Centre from University of San Diego for enforcing changemarker campus in BRAC University.
As Bangladesh is advancing fast in its efforts to ensure sustaining economic growth, the disparities between the income of workers and employers is also widening day by day. We are noticing the per capita income increasing as well as the economic development of our country, on the other side economic discrimination is also increasing. So, Economic growth should not be measured by Gross Domestic Production (GDP), said Prof. Dr. Wahiduddin Mahmud at the workshop on Formal-Informal Labour Nexus and Bangladesh’s Growth.
BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University and Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) organised the workshop at BIDS’s on March 28, 2017 in the capital. The workshop was organised in partnership with the Rand Corporation of the USA and was supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK and the Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA) of Germany.
Prof. Mahmud went on saying that the labourers are still deprived of a healthy work environment and the dues, benefits and allowances they deserve. He also called upon the government to come forward to take pragmatic steps to help the labour community improve their living standard. Though we often discuss the role of readymade garment sector, we have to formalise other sectors as well, he said.
He also said that the government needs to assist small entrepreneurs so that they can step into the formal sectors.
The outcome of the study suggests that although export-led growth increases employment levels, in terms of employment shares, sectoral growth causes a reallocation away from formal and informal employment towards self-employment, said Dr. Krishna Kumar of RAND Corporation where he was presenting his research paper titled ‘the Formal-Informal Labour Nexus and Growth in Bangladesh’ in the first session of the workshop.
Presided over by BIGD Executive Director Dr. Sultan Hafiz Rahman, the panelists at the workshop included CPD Distinguished Fellow Dr. Mustafizur Rahman, Economic Research Group Executive Director Dr. Sajjad Zohir, Professor at the Department of Economics of Dhaka University Dr. Selim Raihan, BIDS Research Director Dr. Kazi Ali Toufique and BIDS senior Research Fellow Dr. Nazneen Ahmed.
Dr. Shanti Nataraj of Rand Corporation presented the second paper titled ‘What Do Workers Value about Formal Employment- Results from a Worker Survey in Bangladesh’ in the second session of the workshop. "Our studies found that policies that encourage job stability are likely to be beneficial for workers," said Dr Nataraj, adding: "It is also critical for policymakers to pay close attention to poor working conditions, particularly for informal workers."
Dr. Minhaj Mahmud, Senior Research Fellow of BIDS said, It is also important to enforce existing regulations about overtime and pay in both formal and informal sectors, at his presentation of the paper titled ‘Employee and Employer Preferences for Worker benefits: Results from a Matched Survey in Bangladesh’ at the workshop.
The research team analysed existing secondary data and also conducted several surveys on employers and employees of small and medium enterprises to find the links between informality and growth while also examining worker transitions between different types of jobs and estimating the valuations of specific job benefits by workers and employers.
On Monday, March 27, under the “Capacity Building on Information Technology (IT) Engineers Examination (ITEE) Management” project, a meeting was held at 2nd floor conference room of Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) presided by Prof. Dr. Md Mahfuzul Islam, ex-chairperson, CSE, BUET. The project is under implementation by Bangladesh IT Engineers Examination Council (BDITEC), BCC, Information and Communication Technology Division (ICTD), Ministry of Posts, Telecommunication and IT (MoPTIT). To improve quality representation from Bangladesh for the international IT examination, the committee discussed ideas on question preparation, moderation, selection, revision and potential trainings. Participants included Annajiat Alim Rasel, Lecturer III and Undergraduate Course Coordinator, CSE, BRACU, Dr. Khondaker Abdullah Al Mamun, Associate Professor, CSE, United International University (UIU), Md. Golam Sarwar, System Analyst, BCC, Dr. Md. Nawab Yousuf Ali, Associate Professor and Chairperson, CSE, East West University, Dr. Mohammad Rashedur Rahman, Associate Professor, CSE, North South University (NSU), Dr. Shohrab Hossain, Associate Professor, CSE, BUET. Further details about ITEE can be found at http://itpec.org/ and at http://www.bditec.gov.bd/
Ms. Jebunnesa Chowdhury was nominated by the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences (BAS) to attend the above-mentioned meeting. It was attended by 110 doctoral students and young researchers from 22 Asia-Pacific and African countries and regions. Six Nobel Laureates gave presentations in the HOPE Meeting.
Prof. Makoto Kobayashi (Nobel Laureate in Physics 2008), Prof. Klaus von Klitzing (Nobel Laureate in Physics 1985), Prof. Takaaki Kajita (Nobel Laureate in Physics 2015), Prof. Ryoji Noyori (Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2001), Prof. Jean-Pierre Sauvage (Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2016), Prof. Edvard I. Moser (Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2014) and Prof. Gunnar Öquist (Former Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science. Professor Emeritus, Umeå University, Sweden) were the presenters and they discussed various topics with the participants during the group discussion session.
Ms. Jebunnesa Chowdhury gave a flash talk and presented a poster to introduce her research. She was actively involved in the preparation of multinational team presentation and took part on a creative play prepared by the team.
BRAC University (BRACU) celebrated Independence Day this year with due festivity and fervour organising a series of programmes.
An indoor football tournament titled “Independence Futsal Cup 2017” was organised by the Football Club of BRACU at the university auditorium on 25 March (Saturday), 2017.
The next day, some 50 BRACU students of BIZ BEE accompanied by administrative staff went to the National Martyrs’ Memorial in Savar and in a procession placed a wreath at the foot of the memorial to pay homage to the martyrs of the Liberation War.
Today a number of programs were organised including a “movie show” by BRACU Film Club, a “drama show” by BRACU Drama and Theatre Forum and a cultural program by BRACU Cultural Club where songs dedicated to the independence were rendered.
The day’s events ended with a performance by “SHUNNO”, a popular local band. The Office of Co-curricular Activities with support from Airtel coordinated these events.
Earlier on 21 March 2017 a cultural program, “BRAC University Bangla Gaaner Vabna O Poth Chola”, was organised at the auditorium with the theme “Songs of Patriotism and Independence”. Students and teachers rendered relevant Bangla songs and poems there.
BRAC Business School (BBS) of BRAC University organized a study excursion on 25th March, 2017 to power plant of Baraka Power Limited in Fenchuganj, Sylhet. Students undertaking the courses of ‘Principles of Entrepreneurship (BUS321)’, ‘Business Strategy (MGT401)’ and ‘Introduction to Business (BUS101)’ joined the industry visit that was led by Ms. Humaira Naznin, Senior Lecturer of BRAC Business School.
Baraka Power Limited is one of the major power producing companies in Bangladesh, operating with a mission of supplying uninterrupted electricity throughout Bangladesh. A team of five managerial representatives of Baraka Power Limited gave a brief presentation to the group of students on their vision, mission, management team, current business strategies and future business plan. After the presentation, the students were guided to the control room and experienced a live demonstration on how nineteen of their engines produce 51MW electricity (capacity of 55MW) and supply it to BPDB (Bangladesh Power Development Board). The students not only got a chance to learn about their distribution channels and visit the production plant, but also received the opportunity to discover the challenges faced by the company, which is primarily the management of disasters and the rigid schedule for maintenance. This renowned company is certified by the Moonlight International from USA, has received several national and international awards and is now focusing on increasing their production capacity to 100MW.
The industry visit was indubitably a great learning experience for the business students. They had a practical experience of the management, operations, and supply chain and production activities of Baraka Power Limited which will contribute to their future endeavor of academic and professional career. They also acknowledged the importance of practical knowledge as an integral part of the theoretical studies. The two days excursion came to an end on 25th March, 2017 with a brief visit to the natural sights of Sylhet.
Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, ED of BIGD delivered his speech as the Guest of Honor at the Inaugural Session of the First Southern Social Science Congress on Social Science: New Paradigms Towards Sustainable and Prospective Future. The Institute of Public Enterprise (IPE) and Indian Council of Social Science Research Southern Regional (ICSSR) Centre organized the congress on 23-25 March, 2017 at Osmania University Campus, Hyderabad, India.
The Congress was inaugurated by Chairman of the ICSSR S. Thorat, and presidential address was given by Samar Verma, Senior Programme Officer for the Think Tank Initiative, IDRC’s Regional Office for South Asia, New Delhi. Professor S Ramachandram, Vice Chancellor of Osmania University attended the congress as the Chief Guest. The three-day event was a meeting place for a wide variety of disciplines and provides a forum for academicians, researchers, policy makers and practitioners.
Eminent social scientists and policy makers from reputed organisations and industry presented papers on major themes like Development models, Inclusive growth, Agriculture and Rural Development, Gender Issues, Corporate Social Responsibility, Health, Democracy and Development, Ecosystems and Sustainable Development, Social Justice and Equity and change, among others.
The Centre for Peace and Justice in collaboration with the Centre for Social Justice, based in Ahmedabad, India, organized two National Training of Trainer for Capacity Building of Paralegals held from 6th to 9th March in Ahmedabad, and in Gujarat from 28th to 31st March 2017, at the National Law University, Odisha, India.
In collaboration with ASD, LANCAU, CSJ and OSF the Centre organized another national ToT for paralegals at Pokhara, Nepal, which was held from 17th to 24th March 2017
The James P Grant School of Public Health conducted the second photography course, “Documenting People on the Margins” from 12 – 23 March for keen photographers looking to enhance their skills in documentary photography and storytelling. The course was facilitated by noted documentary photographer Shehzad Noorani and focused on capturing the marginalised communities living under the shadows of discrimination including people with disabilities, those who suffer from tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, commercial sex workers, and hijra and Bede communities.
A book comprising of selected photos from the course will be published this year.
Forty five undergraduate students of biotechnology along with two teachers Ms. Jebunnesa Chowdhury and Ms. Kashmery Khan visited the BCSIR to have a practical idea about the microbiological and biotechnological research activities going on there. During the visit they explored different research aspects of plant biotechnology, microbiology, fibre and polymer sciences. This tour will help the students to understand various techniques that they are studying in several courses. The team came back enriched with experience and renewed hope for the advancement of biological research and development in the country.
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