Brac University organized an online orientation program for the new students of Fall 2021, on 18 October, 2021. The program was held at the university’s Mohakhali campus with very limited participants, following safety measures and hygiene. It was broadcasted live on the university’s Facebook page.
British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Mr. Robert Chatterton Dickson graced the occasion as special guest. Professor Vincent Chang, Vice-Chancellor, Dr. David Dowland, Registrar, and Dr. Samia Huq, Dean, School of General Education, also attended the event.
The program started with a video tribute to the founder of the university, Late Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG.
Dr. David Dowland welcomed the students highlighting that it was the 20th year since the founding of the university. Currently there are 13,000 students, including 29 nationalities, and well over 13,000 alumni. The university’s internationally renowned institutes and centres are addressing pressing world challenges. They are making major contributions in public health, educational development, peace and justice, governance and climate change. Dr. Dowland shed light on student assistant funds and scholarships.
Dr. Samia Huq explained that a broad-based liberal arts education would be delivered in the first two years. It includes interesting courses in arts and humanities, social sciences, math and natural sciences and community based transformative learning. Students will be able to build up their language and writing capacities incrementally. Meanwhile the residential semester will sow the seeds of service learning.
“While we try to attain normalcy, based on my own 30 years’ experience and observation, the world just keeps changing faster and faster,” said Professor Vincent Chang. This has been a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world. The whaling industry was overtaken by the oil industry. Silicon Valley and Wall Street have undergone massive changes with once renowned companies being replaced by increasingly popular ones. According to various reports, 60 percent of existing jobs will disappear by 2050. But new jobs will be created, new companies turning present ones obsolete. People will opt for unconventional career paths.
“A preferred career is something you like, or better, you love. Is something that makes your heart click. Something that makes you jump out of your bed and look forward to it. So that you may be able to better navigate a VUCA world,” said Professor Vincent Chang. “We are working to make the Brac university experience a rewarding experience, that may help prepare you for your life’s journey. We will make our Brac University our ‘Treasure Island’. But you must earn the treasure for yourself…You must sweat for it with your time and effort,” he added.
High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson reminisced moments when he first entered the University of Cambridge 40 years back. He expressed delight at the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award scheme opening up for Brac University students. He lauded Brac University’s increasing international academic and developmental partnerships and growing number of international students. High Commissioner Dickson also hoped to be present when Brac University opens its new campus in Pragati Sarani, which will not only be one of the largest buildings but also the greenest in Bangladesh.
The High Commissioner presented certificates of appreciation to recipients of 2021 Diana Awards. This year, two alumni and two current students from Brac University received the award. The award was established in memory of Late Princess Diana. It recognises exceptional young people who are selflessly creating and sustaining positive changes.
The program ended with Professor Vincent Chang presenting a token of appreciation to British High Commissioner.