In the Fall of 2017, The Scholar’s Program at BRAC University made available to its students a special global university competition: EdVenture Partners Peer2Peer: Facebook Global Digital Challenge ( https://edventurepartners.com/peer-to-peer-facebook-global-digital-challenge/. The competition managed by EdVenture Partners and sponsored by Facebook, challenges participants to innovate possible solutions to the rise and prevalence of extremism and hate crime on social media in ways that are authentic and credible to their peers and communities. Two scholars’ students Fatimah Akhtar and Zareef Tajwar Karim, both from the Anthropology Program at ESS formed a group with other interested students Adeepto Intisar Ahmed: ESS, Quazi Navila Zaman: BBA and Rojin Ammar: CSE and launched a social campaign titled Get Up Speak Up (https://www.facebook.com/getupspeakup/.
It is very encouraging for the students and great news for BRAC University that Get Up Speak Up has reached the final stage of the competition and will be representing BRAC University, Bangladesh and Asia at the finals to be held in Washington D.C on January 30, 2018. The team has been selected as one of four finalists from over 350 teams from over 65 countries. The team will now compete for the final round of the competition, along with Design Akademie Berlin (Germany), Federal University of Pernumbuco (Brazil) and the Haigazian University (Lebanon).
The academic mentors for the project were Prof. Firdous Azim (ENH) and Dr. Samia Huq (ESS). Overall technical supervision was provided by Hamim Al Ahsan.
Get Up Speak Up created an innovative and dynamic platform to address the rise and prevalence of extremism and hate crime by focusing on shrinking online spaces and opening up channels for interfaith dialogue. Get up Speak up was a first attempt to create a safe space on facebook: the largest social media platform in terms of number of users in Bangladesh. In addition to the facebook page, Get Up Speak Up operates through its website that hosts a forum for people to hold dialogue, share experiences surrounding faith and discrimination (https://getupspeakup.org/). Beyond the facebook page and website, Get Up Speak Up has hosted live events and workshops.
They will be facing a jury of academics, policy makers and other key players in Washington DC and compete for a prize of $10, 000 with other teams from the Names of team members.