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Sunday, August 7, 2022

World seeing Bangladesh in a new light: Momen

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Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said it is evident that the world has started seeing Bangladesh in a new light.

The minister said this while addressing a virtual briefing to announce the final selection for the “Bangladesh Chair: Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Professorial Fellowship”.
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Prof Kazi Shahidullah, Chairman, University Grants Commission of Bangladesh and Peter Fahrenholtz, Ambassador of Germany to Bangladesh, also joined.

The minister said the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Fellowship will enhance opportunities with Germany and other European countries for academic studies and exchange focusing on Bangladesh and South Asia.

“There is likely to be growing academic interest in our nation’s history, culture and politics to understand the dynamics these phenomena bring into play across the wider region and beyond,” he said.

“I feel happy to inform you that we have reached the final stages of setting up the Bangladesh Chair titled ‘Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Professorial Fellowship’ at the South Asia Institute under the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies at the Heidelberg University in Germany,” Dr Momen said.

He announced that Dr Harun-or-Rashid, Professor of Political Science (Selection Grade) of University of Dhaka and former Vice-Chancellor of National University, Bangladesh has been selected as the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Professorial Fellow through a collaborative selection process by the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh and Heidelberg University.

In 1999, during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s first tenure in office, the government had concluded a MoU with the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University for establishing the fellowship.

Accordingly, two professorial fellows selected from Bangladesh attended the programme in the years 2000 and 2001.

Dr Momen said it was unfortunate that the succeeding BNP-Jamaat government terminated the fellowship in 2002, thus foreclosing the possibility of knowledge transfer and exchange that could only be beneficial for Bangladesh.

He said with the Prime Minister’s approval, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated the process of reviving the Fellowship in the second half of 2019, on the eve of ‘Mujib Borsho’.

Dr Momen appreciated the immediate positive response received from the Heidelberg University authorities, which led to a fresh MoU with them on December 11, 2019.

Subsequently, there were applications for the Fellowship from 19 distinguished candidates, out of which the Selection Committee of Heidelberg University made a shortlist of three.

“I am confident that with Professor Rashid’s combination of academic credentials and administrative acumen, he will be able to add momentum to South Asian studies centring Bangladesh in a strategically important part of Europe,” said the Foreign Minister.

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