Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique with Stephan Evans. Photo: Radet Anwar
The Department of History, one of the twelve teaching departments of the University of Dhaka (DU) was formally opened on July 1, 1921 with the inauguration of the University itself. Since the Department of History had begun its journey during the British Colonial period, teachers and students of the department have always been interested to explore the various aspects of relationship between the United Kingdom and Bangladesh. On the occaesion of its ninety years completion, the Department of History arranged a special event by His Excellency Stephan Evans, the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Bangladesh, celebrating 'UK-Bangladesh: 40 years of partnership' on June 27, 2011 at the Senate House of DU.
Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, the Vice Chancellor of DU graced the event as the chief guest while Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Harun Ur Rashid, and Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Professor Sadrul Amin, were present as special guests. Professor Shireen Hasan Osmany, Chairman. Department of History, DU presided over the programme.
It his address to the audience, Stephan Evans focused on different levels of interactions between the UK and Bangladesh. He pointed out the common interests shared by the two countries such as democracy, better healthcare and intellectual development. Commenting on the opportunities for foreign students at the UK, the High Commissioner says, “UK invites students from all over the world because it is an academic melting pot.”
During his speech, Professor Harun Ur Rashid, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of DU, thanked the High Commissioner to Bangladesh for his first ever official visit to DU and discussed the historical context of the relationship between the two countries.
“We think this kind of programme will increase the intellectual exchange between the UK and Bangladesh. We are very pleased to have Mr Evans amongst us and as he discussed the opportunities for Bangladeshi students in the UK, our students will be benefited as well. ”
“History also serves to explore new opportunities and with the presence of the High Commissioner, the programme was the perfect forum to talk about the various aspects of the historical UK - Bangladesh relationship,” says Iftekhar Iqbal, Associate Professor, Department of History, DU.
Besides delivering the special presentation, Stephen Evans also participated in a session where he received questions from the participant teachers and students on a wide range of issues. The question-answer session at the programme was quite unique as participants were invited to submit their questions in advance at the official page of the British High Commission, Dhaka on Facebook, whereupon, the selected questions were read out during the session for the High Commissioner to answer.
These kinds of exchanges between students and representatives of various organisations, both from the government and the public sectors should be encouraged further so that young students can be exposed to a world beyond books and classrooms.