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   Volume3Issue 01| January 09, 2011 |


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Promises to Save the World

Mohammad Zahidul Islam

Early morning of December 7, debaters from different educational institutions from every corner of the country poured in at BRAC University auditorium. Around 300 young debaters from different public and private universities of Bangladesh took part in the competition.

"We have to step forward for the sustainable development protecting our environment and preventing corruption, an initiative that the youth has to undertake,” Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh enlightened while he was addressing the inaugural session of the two day long Anti-Corruption Debate Competition 2010 on Environment and Corruption. Dr. Shahdeen Malik, Director, School of Law, BRAC University attended the event as the special guest. Among others Dr. Tureen Afroz, Associate Professor, BRAC University, Engineer Kamrul Hasan, Assistant Professor, East West University, many other teachers, guardians and students from different educational institutions were present.

Young debaters with the distinguished guests.

The two day event kicked off with a Barwari (Free speech) Debate on the first day where participants took part in four groups. A total of 28 debaters were selected from the Barwari competition who took part in the Parliamentary Style debate competition on the second day. Four best debaters from 4 groups took part in another mid-level Free Style Debate Competition where Anindita Hridita from BRAC University was selected as Prime Minister while Gazi Purni of Jahangirnagar University as Opposition Leader.

During the inaugural ceremony, all participants took an anti-corruption oath to save the environment taking part in anti-corruption movement. They also promised to uphold the pride of the nation.

"Keep Silent, the Parliament session is going on'' - read a cautionary message that was placed in front of the auditorium of BRAC Center Inn. I took permission and entered into the Auditorium. It was a mock parliament session. "I strongly disagree with the bill which has been proposed today by the honourable Prime Minister'' A parliament member from the ruling party was speaking. After his discussion the floor was given to an opposition member by the speaker. She placed her argument in favour of the Prime Minister.

The Parliamentarians were discussing on a very crucial topic - the Earth and the survival of the human being.

An award giving ceremony concludes the event.

In the first session of the Parliamentary Debate, the Prime Minister, Anindita Hridita, placed a bill in the Parliament on 'People's participation in international aid management of climate change'. 28 Parliamentarians from different universities took part in the general discussion. They tried to show the merits and demerits of the bill. Though it was proposed from the ruling party, many Parliamentarians from the same party spoke against the bill showing some adverse effect of the bill to the common people. On the other hand, some of the opposition Parliament members supported the bill which is rather unusual in our National Parliament. 10 debaters were selected for the second session.

Debaters put forth their ideas.

'Bill on preventing corruption to protect environment and sustainable development' was put on the table in the second session of the mock Parliament Debate. The young Parliamentarians raised their logic and arguments. They brought forth the relation among corruption, environment and sustainable development. “Tiger is the king of jungle, but now Osman Gani is the king of jungle” showing the example of the former Chief Forest Conservator popularly known as Bon Kheko Gani, one parliament member described how corruption destroys our environment and threatens our survival.

A very common habit in our National Parliament is to complain against the Speaker for his partial behaviour. In the mock Parliament the Speaker, Robayet Ferdous performed impartially. All 28 Parliamentarians took part in the session and they received the same level of importance to deliver their speech. .

Amit Raihan, student of North South University was awarded the Best Debater, and Hira Lal Roy of Enam Medical College and Anjan Kumar Sarkar of Dhaka University won the First and Second Runner-Up Award.

In the closing ceremony Dr. Atiur Rahman, Governor, Bangladesh Bank attended as the Chief Guest. Among others Won Young Hong, Assistant Country Director, UNDP, Colonel Shah Murtoza Ali (Retd.), Registrar of East West University, Air Commodore Isfaq Elahi Choudhury (Retd.), Registrar of BRAC University and Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh were present in the ceremony.

"It is essential to prevent corruption to enhance the sustainable development and the environment of Bangladesh. Bangladesh could be in the position of a mid income country many years ago, had corruption been prevented. It should ensure transparency in all sectors to prevent corruption. It should deploy a watchdog body in all ministries and organisations to tackle corruption.'' Dr. Atiur Rahman, Governor, Bangladesh Bank, while delivering his speech in the closing session of the Parliamentary Debate Competition 2010. "We have to show respect to the freedom fighters and the martyrs who laid down their lives in 1971 to free the nation. Now it is our responsibility to build our nation and the youth has to take the lead to build a prosperous nation,'' he added. He also thanked TIB for taking the initiative.

The Anti-Corruption Debate Competition on Environment and Corruption has been organised by Transparency International Bangladesh. BRAC University Debating Club, East West University Debating Club and The Daily Star were the co-organisations while Bangla Vision and ABC Radio were the media partners. The Anti-Corruption Debate Competition 2010 was supported by UNDP Bangladesh.

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