South Asian Economics Student's Meet, 2012: Laurels for the Department of Economics, DU
Sunera Saba Khan
The Bangladesh SAESM team with president of Nepal, Dr Ram Baran Yadav
The South Asian Economics Students' Meet (SAESM) is an annual conference of undergraduate Economics students and one of the most prestigious academic events
in the South Asian region. It was initiated in 2004 by some enthusiastic teachers and students from the department of economics, of a few leading universities in South Asia. The forum invites distinguished economists from the region to make deliberations on pertinent economic issues of the region and globe. Each year SAESM is organised by one of the member universities where students representing the different universities take part. The student participants of this meet were from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
This international conference has various strands. Students from renowned universities of the sub-continent take part in paper presentations on the given specific economic issues. They also take part in a quiz contest, panel discussion and a World Bank policy dialogue competition. One challenging item is the 'Budding Economist Examination' where the participants have to initially go through a series of written tests in the preliminary rounds followed by an audio visual round and in the final stage face an interview round. Each SAESM ends with a retreat which allows students to experience the cultural heritage of different countries, visit places of historical significance and natural beauty.
This year's SAESM meet took place in Kathmandu, Nepal from December 17-22, 2012 and was hosted by Tribhuvan University, Nepal. This was the 9th in the series of conferences. The theme was 'Towards a Green South Asia' and students from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka discussed sustainable development solutions related to a green economy.
As we set off for Kathmandu on the 17th of December with our teacher leaders Qamrun Naher Taslim and Abdullah Sonnet, the adrenaline gushed as wild torrents in my veins. I was appointed as the team leader of the student group and realised that finally our Nepal dream was the coming true. The Himalayas greeted us with smiling chills and winding up the hilly roads to the grandiose Hotel Yak and Yeti. As there were no programmes scheduled for the first day, my Bangladeshi peers set off for shopping while I went to meet up with my Nepali friends. Soon the sun set peacefully in the depths of the snowy mountains and it was time to retire to bed.
The second day started off in the delightful company of Dr Ram BaranYadav, Honorable President of Nepal. This was followed by the inaugural session at 'Yak and Yeti', Kathmandu. The plenary session and the World Bank Policy Dialogue was held afterwards. For this we all had to participate in a blog writing competition and suggest a policy for 'Green Growth'.
In the evening we set off for Nagarkot, where we stayed at 'Country Villa Hotel'. At Nagarkot I got the scenic beauty of Himalayas stretching from Mount Kanchanjunga in the far east to the Annapurna mountains in the far west. The breathtaking sunrise basked the entire valley in yellow.
The rest of the conference took place at Nagarkot. With so much greenery around us, I was in no mood to prepare for my presentation. However, I knew I had to win for my department and for Bangladesh. Despite the pressures of performing in a foreign country, we emerged victorious in Nepal. My classmate Nirman Saha won the Budding Economist competition and I won the best paper award under the theme, 'Green trade and commerce'.
With the hype of victory, our elated hearts almost forgot that it was now time to bid adieu to the heavenly place. The conference had come to an end within no time. Before leaving, we were taken to Bhaktapur, which is known as the cultural capital of Nepal. It was full of beautiful ancient temples and shops. Befittingly SAESM 2012 came to an end with an outstanding speech from the Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.