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     Volume 2 Issue 140 | October 18 , 2009|


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Academic Excellence Award
Ceremony at Peking University

Mohammad Mainul Islam

'Some dreams are big, some dreams are small, some are carried away on the wind and never dreamt at al. Some dreams tell lies, some dreams come true'--

THESE are the lyrics of Alan Taylor's 'Some Dreams', where I usually find myself. In our everyday lives we always seek to achieve our dreams whether they are fulfilled or not. Here I am going to explore one of my dreams, which I dreamt at Peking University (PKU)-Beijing Da Xue in Chinese widely known as Bei Da-a top university in China. Since I entered to the university in September, 2005 for PhD study in Demography (Population Health) at the Institute of Population Research, I always felt a dream to get the academic excellence award. I was well concerned that graduate students having superior grades, great research abilities, significant publications, and creative thinking can get the academic excellence scholarship. Thus I was very serious regarding my study from the beginning. I was the only PhD student of the Institute of Population Research, Peking University who took the highest number of postgraduate courses during the study period; I also received the highest grades in the respective courses. Gaining superior grades contributed a lot to being nominated for the academic excellence award. In total I had earned 38 credits of which 13 was compulsory for PhD coursework. During my PhD studentship at PKU I attended more than 13 international conferences, PhD summer research schools and presented papers in China and abroad, representing Peking University, China as well as my native country-Bangladesh. At the same time I also did academic publications that also favored my nomination for the award. Thus after three years of hard work, finally the dream came into light on December 12, 2008. That was an exciting and unforgettable moment in my life.

It was an evening, at the Centennial Memorial Hall- the Great Hall of Peking University, called Bai Nian Da Jiang Tang in Chinese. More than thousands of students, teachers and guests assembled there on the eve of the 'Peking University Academic Excellence Award Ceremony' as per annual tradition. The selection of the award winners followed several stages and came through a rigorous process. It can be noted that with the recommendation of the student's department, a panel made up of representatives from the Department of International Students Office, the Dean's Office and the Office of Graduate School chose among the candidates and reported to the President of the University for Approval for this prestigious award. The academic excellence award scholarship is provided to the international students' candidates of third year under graduates, masters, and doctoral students based on their excellent performances in their respective studies. In 2008 the award was presented to the outstanding students among nearly 2600 overseas students from 80 countries and regions, most of them are pursuing a degree in Peking University. It's my great pleasure to mention here that in the award ceremony 2008 I had been awarded the 'First Prize of the Academic Excellence Award' in recognition of the achievements on academic PhD study in Demography (Population Health) from the period of 2005-2008. I felt proud to be the only Bangladeshi as well as South Asian who got this prestigious award. I felt very proud when the name of my country in Chinese-Meng Jia Le Guo(Bangladesh) and my name- Ma Yinu (meaning hard working horse) were announced as the audiences applauded.

Finally, here I would like to give my cordial thanks to Peking University for giving me such an honor. I will never forget my PKU life in China where I spent four years and one year in Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU). After getting the award I was selected by the Office of International Relations of Pekig University to meet the President of People's Republic of China- Hu Jintao, the President of China, along with other selected international students. That was really rare incident to meet the great leader of the China and the Secretary of the Party. During my conversation the president highly praised Bangladesh as a very good friend (hen hao pengyou) of China. Representing Peking University I was able to contribute in Beijing Olympic 2008 as model to participate in the volunteer promotion programme. I also attended some events in memory of 2008 Sichuan earth quake- one of the tragic disaster in Western China. During my PKU life to assist Office of International Relations of Peking University and the international students every year, I worked as a volunteer for the fresher receptions, which helps to make more international friends at Shao Yuan and PKU campus. Moreover, during my stay at PKU I was able to represent Bangladesh every year in the International Cultural Festival (ICF, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008) with the active supports from Office of International Relations, Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing and Bangladesh student's community in Beijing.

(The Author is an Assistant Professor, Department of Population Sciences, University of Dhaka, and also alumni of Peking University who received his PhD Degree in July 2009. e-mail:mainulbdcn@gmail.com )

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