Seminar on A Global History of Development

Published : 22 May 2022, 15:51

Sahos Desk

An international Seminar on "Development History and Bangladesh: Why History Matters for Development Practice?" was heldin Dhaka on May 20th, 2022 at 4 PM on the 5th floor of Bishwo Shahitto Kendro, Banglamotor.

The seminar was aimed at creating a network for global professionals, young researchers, historians, and learners to share their knowledge about the
development history of Bangladesh as well as the world. The seminar was successfully organized by the joint endeavours of the Global Center for Innovation and Learning (GCFIL), a US- based education and research organization, and Open Access Bangladesh, an organization working to make research facilities available to everyone. The seminar started with a warmintroductory speech from Sakil Malik, the Co-founder and CEO of the Global Center for Innovation and Learning (GCFIL), who joined the seminar through zoom. The host of the seminar, Annie, discussed briefly about the activities of organizers, GCFIL and Open Access Bangladesh. Then she invited the keynote speaker and the panelists to take their seats on the podium, handingover the session to the Moderator, Farida Yasmin, Executive Director of the Disabled Rehabilitation and Research Association (DRRA). 

The keynote speech was delivered by the honorable Dr. Michael Gubser, Professor of History at James Madison University, Virginia, USA. He mentioned that it was his first time in Bangladesh and he felt deeply honoured to be a part of this seminar. Heargued about the significance of history in development of a country. He mentioned about "ahistory" and discussed in details Labout factors affecting the rise of "ahistoricism" from the post world war era, its effects, and implications. He mentioned that development is "history in action", so it should not be limited within technical expertise only. History needs to be revisited and taken as cautionary tales. 

After Michael Gubser, the panelists were asked to share their views one by one. Panel speakers consisted of renowneddignitaries, including Dr. Manzoor Ahmed, Professor Emeritus of BRAC University; Professor Dr. Mamun Al Mahtab, Head of theDivision of Interventional Hepatology at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU); and Md. Mahfuzur Rahman Mishu, Special Correspondent at Jamuna Television. Dr. Manzoor Ahmed mentioned that the decisions and policies were notbased on the larger context and the political dynamics behind it. 

He agreed with Michael that the exclusion of historical context is a part of the problem. He also mentioned the book they are currently working on, titled "Political Economy of Basic Education in South Asia". He suggested that we need to look at the larger context and go further and deeper in order to reach the Bangladesh we envisioned, and develop an understanding among ourselves regarding how we can progress from the current situation. 

Professor Dr. Mamun Al Mahtab is a physician, but he is also affiliated with the civil society movement to rekindle the spirit of the liberation war. He briefly mentioned his experience during the pandemic. In his opinion, we have forgotten our history and heritage, which needs to be mended to prevent the distortion of history and development. Md. Mahfuzur Rahman Mishu, being a journalist, raised questions like whether there's any existence of a correlation between history anddevelopment. According to him, Bangladeshi people can easily adapt to new initiatives, which is why we have come a long way from a "bottomless basket". He suggested that if we rely on our own history and capability, it would be more helpful in development. The seminar was followed up by taking questions from the audience, which was a delightful and enjoyable session. Many distinguished guests who could not be present in person had joined through zoom. The seminar commenced at 4PM and continued till 8 PM.

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