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September 12, 2003

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Junior Chamber Makes an Impression

Mishu Rahman

When young minds come together, the conviction to achieve a higher order is stronger, goals more daring and challenges more conquerable. Possibly, it is due to the belief that we are assuming the privilege of a longer time span than an older generation, or that of the techno-asset related advantage or just sheer, youthful spirit to make the world a better place for all.

Whatever the explanation, when the United Nations decided to invite young members of Junior Chamber International (JCI) to their famous abode in New York, they had hardly expected to be so overwhelmed! At the end of the JCI-UN Summit from 6th to 9th August this year with 189 representatives of 100 member countries of Junior Chamber from all five continents, the possibilities seemed endless.

Junior Chamber is an international organisation of young professionals and entreprenuers within the age group of 18 to 40. It was founded in 1910 in the United States and spread around the world to 110 countries with more than 200,000 members and a multiple of this in alumni. They are all dedicated to developing themselves to serve the community better. This is achieved through world class training, workshops, seminars, community involvement and international networking. The United Nations felt it would be a great partner organisation in implementing its Millennium Development Goals, to which countries must consort to, in order to continue receiving support from the United Nations. The goals include, halving the number of people below the poverty line, gender equality, reducing child mortality, environmental sustainability, ensuring primary education for all, overcoming fatal diseases like HIV /AIDS, malaria etc. Most importantly, creating a global network of partnership for development.

At the summit, the participants were thoroughly briefed on each of the nine development goals by the highest officials in each group. On the second day, the participants were divided into nine working groups and each came out with a proposal to incorporate ways to achieve the millennium development goals through the activities of Junior Chamber, nationally and internationally. Given the immediate pledge of all 100 participating nations, the immensely challenging goals seemed easily achievable.

There were three delegates from Bangladesh: Nessar Maksud Khan, Rumana Khan and Mishu Rahman. Nessar Maksud Khan is also part of the international body, responsible for training upcoming member countries. The Bangladeshi team was greatly appreciated for being so active in community activities and members' training. At the working group session, a documentary on the non-formal primary education programme of Bangladesh was presented. Moreover, everyone appreciated the fact that most of the activities necessary for the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals, such as promoting the pharmaceuticals industries, environmental concerns, world trade issues, primary education, better and stronger human resources, were already addressed by the activities of Junior Chamber Bangladesh. Presenting such a positive and forward thinking image of our country was one of our greatest achievements at the JCI-UN summit.

The United Nations was represented in this event by Gillian Martin Sorenson, Assistant Secretary General for External Relations, Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Executive Director. Anne Annan, wife of SG Kofi Annan, Dr. Desmond Jones, New York Director for UNAIDS, Marta Mauras, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN and a few others. JCI World President Bruce Rector was Co-Chair for the whole event.

Being part of a global network that will help to enhance development across nations, Bangladesh will be able to give support in terms of trained personnel in development activities (we do have the greatest number of active NGOs!). The technological and infrastructural advancement of our nation will also be upheld to a global business community, which can only grow larger with time, given its young, dynamic and farsighted entrepreneurs. Such involvements are mutually beneficial to the business community of our country and society in general.





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