Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) in collaboration with General Economics Division (GED) of Bangladesh Planning Commission organised a seminar titled “Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100” on 09 November 2017 at BIISS auditorium in Dhaka. Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, MP, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Water Resources, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Mr. Muhammad Abdul Mannan, MP, Honourable State Minister, Ministry of Planning and Ministry of Finance was the Special Guest at the inaugural session. Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS delivered the address of welcome while Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Chairman, Board of Governors, BIISS, delivered Introductory Remarks and chaired the inaugural session. Dr. Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Vice-Chancellor, University of Asia Pacific chaired and summed up the second session.
Dr. Shamsul Alam, Member, GED, Bangladesh Planning Commission presented two papers, titled ‘Overview of BDP 2100: Process and Methods, Hotspots, Opportunities and Challenges, Context, Vision and Goals of BDP 2100’ and ‘Overview of BDP 2100 - Strategies, Interventions, Investment Planning, Financing, Governance and Institutions, Monitoring and Evaluation. Follow up Project’ in Session I and Session II respectively.
The second session of the seminar was followed by a panel discussion where three panellists, Professor Dr. M. Monowar Hossain, Executive Director, Institute of Water Modelling (IWM), Professor Dr. Md. Munsur Rahman, Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and Engineer Md. Mahfuzur Rahman, Director General, Bangladesh Water Development Board talked about various aspects related to the issue. Participants informed that Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 is formulated through a process that takes inspiration from the delta planning process used in the Netherlands while taking into account Bangladesh’s own perspective. It integrates the delta-related sectors to come to a long-term, holistic and integrated plan for the Bangladesh Delta.
Officials from different ministries of Bangladesh government, representatives of different embassies, national and international organisations, former ambassadors, researchers of different institutions, high officials of civil and military organisations, media and members of academia participated in the open discussion and gave their valuable opinions and observations pertinent to the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and Rotary International District 3281 Bangladesh, jointly organised a commemorative seminar on “International Day of Peace 2017” on Monday, 09 October 2017 at the BIISS Auditorium. Professor Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Adviser to the Hon’ble Prime Minister on International Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh graced the seminar as the chief guest. In his speech Dr. Rizvi discussed the issue of UN reform and the Hon’ble Adviser proposed that the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) should have the power to overrule the UNSC ‘veto power’. If a proposal passed by majority of the UNGA and get vetoed by the UNSC, it should be sent back to the UNGA for a second voting. If the UNGA again passes that proposal with majority vote, then the veto by the UNSC would be overruled. Dr. Rizvi believes without UN reforms on the ground of representation, the hands of the UN will be tied down and it will not be able to deliver what it originally promised to the global humanity. Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General of BIISS, delivered the welcome address at the onset of the seminar. General Rahman reflected upon the background of the International Day of Peace and said this Peace Day was declared in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations resolution as a symbolic gesture to remind the society about strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The theme for 2017 Peace Day was “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” He stated that the theme rightly depicts the importance of togetherness and unity in achieving a peaceful world based on compassion, affection, mutual trust and respect. He added, only the strong commitment of spirit of togetherness can promote respect, safety and dignity for everyone, including for those who are severely affected by the devastation of war and conflict. It was followed by remarks by Rotarian F H Arif, District Governor of Rotary International District 3281 Bangladesh. Two papers were presented at the seminar. The first presentation was made by Lieutenant General (retd.) Md. Mainul Islam, OSP, BGBM, awc, psc, former Chief of General Staff, on “United Nations Peacekeeping Operations”. In his presentation, General Islam noted that the protection of civilians is a core mandated task for peacekeepers. Often, they are deployed in vast areas without necessary means. Thus, protecting the civilians from various armed groups, including the government forces can be a great challenge. Professor Dr. Delwar Hossain of the Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka presented the second paper on ‘Refugee Crisis and Threat to Peace’. In his presentation, Dr. Hossain mentioned that refugeehood is also important to understand the global refugee crisis. Persecution is an essential criterion of refugeehood. Alienage is also considered as a criterion of determining refugee status. It is the absence of state protection, which constitutes the full and complete negation of society and the basis of refugeehood.
Finally, Rotarian PP M. M. Abed Ullah, Rotary Club of Shayamoli gave votes of thanks to the guests and participants. The session was chaired by Air Commodore (retd.) Ishfaq Ilahi Choudhury, ndc, psc.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organised a lecture titled “Reconciling Divided Societies, Building Democracy and Good Governance: Lessons from Sri Lanka” at its auditorium in Dhaka on 23 May 2017, where H. E. Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, former president of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and member of Global Leadership Foundation was the Guest Speaker. Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS delivered the address of welcome while Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Chairman, Board of Governors, BIISS, chaired the session and delivered the closing remarks.
Mrs. Kumaratunga highlighted different aspects of Sri Lanka’s post civil war reconciliation and peacebuilding process. She also discussed her country’s present status of democracy as well as good governance. She argued that Sri Lanka had experienced the impacts of terrorism for nearly three decades; she further added that terrorism became the most unnatural, dehumanising and politically destabilising phenomenon in South Asia. While emphasising the need for identifying root causes of terrorism, she opined that the modern phenomena of terrorist movement was born due to frustration and disparity caused by social marginalisation, economic deprivation and political alienation. She emphasised on building pluralistic, multicultural and diversified society in South Asia. Regarding the importance of democracy, Mrs. Kumaratunga opined that many challenges to modern states could be addressed once democratic institutions are established. About regional organisations, she argued that SAARC and BIMSTEC utterly failed to resolve any regional problems. In her speech she also lauded Bangladesh's economic development.
Officials from different ministries of Bangladesh government, representatives of different embassies, representatives of different international and national organisations, former ambassadors, researchers of different institutes, high officials of different civil and military institutions, media and specialised academia participated in the open discussion and raised their valuable opinions, observations and questions to the seminar.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organised a Seminar on “Promoting Cultural Diversity of Small Ethnic Groups in Bangladesh” on 17 April 2017 at BIISS Auditorium in Dhaka. Professor Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Adviser to the Hon’ble Prime Minister on International Affairs was the Chief Guest of the Seminar. Mr. Naba Bikram Kishore Tripura, ndc, Secretary, Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs chaired the seminar. Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS delivered the address of welcome.
Dr. Syed Anwar Husain, Supernumerary Professor, Dept. of History, University of Dhaka delivered the keynote presentation. Professor Dr. Anwar Husain explored different important aspects of ethnic groups’ culture that include language, tradition, festivals etc. He also highlighted on how these groups are contributing to enrich the cultural diversity of Bangladesh through diverse social customs and cultures. He discussed the opportunities of cultural exchange and cooperation for their development. Major General (Retd.) Anup Kumar Chakma, Former Ambassador of Bangladesh to Myanmar; and Professor Meghna Guhathakurta, Research Initiative Bangladesh on behalf of Major General Md. Jahangir Kabir Talukder, awc, psc, GOC, 24 Infantry Division, Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS spoke as the panel discussants in the Seminar.
In his welcome address, Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS, noted that the active participation of small ethnic groups with their creative thoughts, perception and knowledge is important for the successful implementation of vision 2021. In his remarks as the Chief Guest, Professor Dr. Gowher Rizvi said that this seminar will contribute in strengthening communal harmony between the Bengali people and people of different small ethnic groups in Bangladesh through cultural exchange and co-operation. Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Chairman, Board of Governors, BIISS, also mentioned the necessity of engaging various ethnic groups to ensure sustainable national development in his vote of thanks.
Representatives of different small ethnic groups in Bangladesh, scholars, academia, policy makers, former and current government officials, former ambassadors, military officials, students, representatives from media were present in the seminar. They highlighted and deliberated on various aspects of promoting cultural diversity of different small ethnic groups in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organised the Country Lecture on “France: Its challenges and Foreign Policy” on 13 April, 2017 at BIISS auditorium. The lecture was delivered by H. E. Mrs. Sophie Aubert, Ambassador of France to Bangladesh. She spoke about the various challenges France is facing both in domestic and foreign field. She also spoke about France’s foreign policy in the contemporary world.
The lecture was inaugurated and chaired by Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS. High-level military officials, scholars, academia, officials from law enforcement agencies, policy makers, current government officials, members of diplomatic corps, representatives from development partner organisations and media were present and participated in the open discussion session. They highlighted on issues related to the lecture.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organised a Seminar on 29th March, 2017 commemorating 25 March- Ganohottya Dibosh (Genocide Day) in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The seminar was divided into three sessions – Inaugural, Working and Concluding. Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP, Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh inaugurated the Seminar as the Chief Guest. Mr. Shahriar Kabir, President, Ekattorer Ghatak-Dalal Nirmul Committee made a keynote presentation in the inaugural session. Major General AKM Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS delivered the address of welcome while Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Chairman, Board of Governors, BIISS presided over the inaugural and concluding sessions and delivered his vote of thanks. The working session was presided over by Mr. Mahbub Uz Zaman, Secretary (Asia & Pacific), Ministry of Foreign Affairs while Dr. Syed Anwar Husain, Supernumerary Professor, Department of History, University of Dhaka and Mr. Julian Francis, Social Worker made presentations in the session respectively. Mr. Anisul Huq, MP, Honourable Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh delivered his address as the Chief Guest in the concluding session while Professor Payam Akhavan, McGill University and Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Heague, delivered his address as the Special Guest of the session.
On 11 March 2017, Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad (National Parliament) unanimously adopted a resolution to observe 25th March as Ganohottya Dibosh (Genocide Day) in remembrance of the three million victims of mass killing during the nine month long Bangladesh liberation war in 1971. The Pakistani occupation forces unleashed a barbaric genocide on the unarmed Bengalis in the darkness of night on 25 March 1971, codenamed “Operation Search Light”. This forced Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to proclaim independence of Bangladesh in the early hours of 26 March 1971, launching the Bengali nation into the war of liberation. During the nine months of the war of liberation, the Pakistani occupation forces unabatedly perpetrated the genocide and crimes against humanity that they started on 25 March 1971. They brutally killed 3 million Bengalis and tortured and raped over 200,000 women during this period. Due to the brutality of the Pakistani forces, 30 million Bengalis were internally displaced and 10 million were forced to take refuge in India. The Pakistani forces started the genocide by targeting the teachers, students, members of Police and Paramilitary on 25th March. When the defeat of the Pakistani forces was inevitable, they methodically rounded up and killed large numbers of professionals such as professors, doctors, journalists, writers, cultural activists. All these carnage was committed with a well thought out plan and in cold blood aiming to destroy the Bengali nation. The Seminar on 29th March, 2017 commemorating 25 March- Ganohottya Dibosh (Genocide Day) played a key role to instigate discussions regarding finding out possible strategies in order to achieve international recognition for the 25 March.
Officials from different ministries of Bangladesh, representatives from different national and international organisations, current and former ambassadors, representatives of different embassies, Bangladeshi freedom fighters, media and academia, actively participated in the open discussion and expressed their valuable opinions, observations, questions and suggestions on how Bangladesh should proceed for successfully gaining international recognition of the atrocities committed during 1971 as genocide.