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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 52 | January 20 , 2008|


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Mondialogo Mumbai Symposium

Shakhawat Hossain

Mondialogo Engineering Award (MEA) is a constituent part of the initiative 'Mondialogo Intercultural Dialogue and Exchange,' launched by Daimler and UNESCO in October 2003. Mondialogo also includes an international school contest and is one of the most important private-public partnerships for the cultural arm of the United Nations. Daimler and UNESCO are promoting intercultural dialogue between budding young engineers through the Mondialogo Engineering Award.

This year it was the second symposium for engineers. The venue was a five star Hotel of Mumbai situated in Madh Island where 62 young engineers from different countries attended. International jury nominated 30 teams as finalists from 3,200 students of engineering sciences from 89 countries. From Bangladesh there were some twenty teams in the contest, but sorrowfully no one was nominated in that symposium.

In the symposium three school teams out of the 50 finalist teams of the Rome symposium were invited. The jury invited three schools from Bangladesh, Mexico and Lebanon who participated in Rome Symposium 2006. It was simply wonderful that a team from Birshrestha Munshi Abdur Rouf Rifles College, Peelkhana, Dhaka was among the three. Our team was lead by our teacher Subrata Kumar Das while the Mexican and Ms. Lidya and Ms. Georgia led the Lebanese teams. All teams including the three school teams had 10 minutes for project presentations. The Engineering projects were about Water supply and Sanitation, Food production and Processing, Housing and Shelter, Waste Management, Medicine and Health care, Energy and Multiple.

We showed our presentation about our Intercultural Dialogue and Exchange with Japan, Mexico, Russia and Nigeria. Moreover, in our power point presentation we tried to show how our institution got involved in different activities of ASPnet (Associated School Project network) in the country. Certainly it was a great experience for me to stand before people of so many countries and speak about the overall Mondialogo activities.

On 10 December the names of the ten Engineering Award Winner teams were announced who got cash prizes. Another twenty teams got honorary awards. After all I must say it is a very good initiative taken by Daimler and UNESCO. I hope next time many more students of engineering will participate in the Mondialogo Engineering Award and thus they will be able to do great jobs for Bangladesh.

(Shakhawat Hossain, a participant of the Mondialogo Symposium, is a student of Birshrestha Munshi Abdur Rouf Rifles College, Dhaka)

Students will be trained to face the world

Saushan Rahman

With the motto of bringing out the leadership qualities in young women of today, Asian University for women will offer international quality education for women from all culture, religion and ethnic groups across South and South East Asia. It is the brain child of Kamal Ahmad, a Bangladeshi-born corporate lawyer, working with the Asian Development Bank at present.

The university is going to follow a liberal arts curriculum, with a three year honours and a two-year masters program. Apart from that it will also offer a pre-SSC program where students will be taught English and IT. The courses that will be offered are IT and sustainable development, environmental engineering, education, public policy, and business management. The Imperial College in London and Aalborg University in Denmark are collaborating in developing AUW's curricula.

The curricula that the university will be following is more action oriented than textbook and classroom oriented. The faculty will help students develop qualities such as leadership, ability to solve problems, etc. The reason why it is an all women's university is because in a co-ed school girls are always the back-benchers. It is difficult for them to fight and come to the front. But here they will not face such problems. They will be the front-benchers all the time.

The main target of the university is to make the students realise their potentials. Students will be trained to face the world. Faculties hope to start with 100 students and have at least 50 students per year. There will be students from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Cambodia and some other countries. In fact 25 per cent of the students will be form Bangladesh and the rest will be form other Asian countries. But girls from all around the globe are welcome here.

The cost per year will come to around $10,000 (Tk. 700,000 approximately). But students will be given scholarships based on their need and qualification. The plan is to provide 50% of the students with scholarship. The university is located on a campus of 100 acres in Chittagong. It overlooks the Foy's Lake.

It is a residential educational institution, mandatory for the students as well as the teachers to stay inside the campus premises.

The university will attract faculty with good experience in their fields and interest in this part of the world. Asian expatriates are welcome at the same time. They can come and teach in the university and contribute to the process of development. Though the University is looking for Asian faculty, teachers from the western countries are also welcome.

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