News about the Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies
at UC Berkeley - Spring 2017
Spring 2017

Dear Friends,

Welcome back to Berkeley and best wishes for a healthy new year. The coming semester at the Center is full of lectures, performances, and workshops, and we hope you will join us. Let me just mention a few of the many upcoming events to give you a sense of what your participation and support of Bangladesh@Berkeley have made possible.

We are delighted to announce that the 2017 Chowdhury Center Distinguished Lecture will be delivered by Bangladeshi Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Sara Hossain. Past Chowdhury Center Distinguished Lecturers have included Dr. Amartya Sen and Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. Sara Hossain is a human rights lawyer who has served as a powerful voice for Bangladesh’s most disadvantaged and marginalized citizens, particularly women and girls. Ms. Hossain's lecture will take place on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 5 pm and is free and open to the public. Please join us in welcoming her to Berkeley. 

On March 10,  we will celebrate International Women's Day with a program jointly organized with the Bangladeshi Women's Empowerment Network of CA in which Monira Rahman, Co-founder of the Acid Survivor's Foundation in Bangladesh, and Anika Rahman, Former President and CEO of Ms. Foundation for Women, will talk about their groundbreaking work in conversation with UC Berkeley Sociologist, Prof. Raka Ray. 

On April 13, we proudly present an evening of Baul music by the eminent Baul singer from Bengal, Parvathy Baul. Other event highlights include talks by Anthropologist Naveeda Khan (Jan 24), and Hasan Mazumdar, The Asia Foundation Country Representative for Bangladesh (March 22).

Two events that are still being planned are a talk by Vivek Bald, Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT and author and director of Bengali Harlem, a book and documentary that details the overlooked waves of Bangladeshi immigrants to the United States, and a UC Berkeley launch of bestselling author and award-winning quality management consultant, Mr. Subir Chowdhury's newest book, The Difference: When Good Enough Isn’t Enough.

Please scroll to the bottom of the page to see a list of all the Chowdhury Center events this semester.

As part of the Center's focus on creating opportunities for collaborative research between UC Berkeley and universities in Bangladesh, we are delighted to share two new partnerships. The first is a remote internship opportunity with the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), a legal services organization in Bangladesh that focuses on human rights, law and justice. Select UC Berkeley students will have the opportunity to assist with research as well as drafting, editing and reviewing of press releases, case summaries, reports and publications. The second collaboration is between the Dept. of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley and the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) on a faculty exchange program. This exchange program will bring BUET faculty specializing in Bioengineering to UC Berkeley for a period of one to two months. During this time, they will have the opportunity to learn and engage in the educational and research opportunities at UC Berkeley's Bioengineering Department and allow for potential research collaborations to develop.

Plans are underway for further collaborations with the American Institute for Bangladesh Studies to host faculty members from Bangladesh and host joint conferences in both the US and in Dhaka. We are also in discussions with the London School of Economics to jointly host a series of conferences focused on current issues in Bangladesh to be held in London and Dhaka.

The Chowdhury Center provides three scholarships to Berkeley students for conducting research to improve the lives of those in Bangladesh. The awardees of the Chowdhury fellowships for 2016 are: Sayah Bogor (MPH Candidate, Infectious Diseases) was the recipient of the Subir Chowdhury Fellowship on Quality of Life in Bangladesh; Laura Boudreau (Ph.D Candidate, Business & Public Policy) was awarded the Malini Chowdhury Fellowship on Bangladesh Studies; and Abhishek Dalal (BA, Public Health, South Asian Studies, Class of 2018) received the Subir Chowdhury Undergraduate Scholarship.

In other news, the Chowdhury Center in partnership with the American Institute for Bangladesh Studies (AIBS) and the US Embassy in Dhaka host​ed​ five faculty members from top universities in Bangladesh to participate in a program focused on academic writing and publishing ​in October​ 2016​. Titled the Faculty Workshop on Research Writing & Publishing, this program​ brought​ ​five faculty members from Bangladeshi institutions of higher education to be in residence for one week at the Chowdhury Center, where they ​took part in workshops on research methodologies, writing, and the publishing process led by UC Berkeley faculty. Faculty arrive​d​ in Berkeley and ​were in residence from October 11-19, 2016. After the week at Berkeley, they travel​ed​ to Madison, Wisconsin for the annual South Asia Conference on October 20, 2016 ​where ​they attend​ed​ a pre-conference and present​ed​ their papers in progress. The final product, as a result of this workshop, will be an academic paper that can be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication. Further details about this program may be viewed here. The Center asked the visiting faculty to reflect on their time spent in UC Berkeley. These were recorded and can be viewed by clicking on the boxes on the right. 

During the 2016 summer, Sheikh Waheed Baksh (MDP candidate and Chowdhury Center intern) traveled to Bangladesh and India to research the various stakeholders needed to adapt new technologies for arsenic remediation. Waheed primarily focused on three aspects of arsenic remediation efforts in Bangladesh and India: the current engineering capabilities, the role of the government, and the role of socially responsible businesses. In Bangladesh, he found that there was interest from all three sectors in adopting Professor Ashok Gadgil’s revolutionary technology, ElectroChemical Arsenic Remediation (ECAR). Waheed shared his findings through a presentation at the Center (here are links to the PRESENTATION and event PHOTOS). Additionally, Waheed has also been talking about these issues with middle school students through the ORIAS Speakers Bureau, a program that brings UC Berkeley graduate students to Bay Area K-12 schools and community colleges.

As a result of Waheed's internship work in this area, the Chowdhury Center was selected by UC Berkeley to submit a Statement of Interest for the Sustainable diaspora Goals (SdG) Challenge to the US Department of State. We hope to have the opportunity to compete for funding to support arsenic remediation efforts in Bangladesh.

A list of all Chowdhury Center events this semester:
For those of you who were not able to attend our Fall events, please visit the Videos section on our website to view videos and podcasts of past programs. The most recent addition is Prof. Ashok Gadgil's talk on the problem of arsenic in Bangladesh's drinking water. 
We look forward to seeing you at one of our events this semester!

Sanchita Saxena
Director, Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies

The Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies, the first such center focused on Bangladesh in the United States, champions the study of Bangladesh’s economy, politics, society, art, and culture. Read more here

Bangladeshi Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Sara Hossain delivers the Chowdhury Center Distinguished Lecture for 2017

Thursday, February 16
5-7 pm 
Hearst Field Annex, D37 (Blanche du Bois Room)

Sacred Singing
A Baul Performance by Parvathy Baul

An evening of Baul music with one of the few female Baul practitioners, the eminent Baul singer from Bengal, Parvathy Baul.

Thursday, April 13
6-8 p.m.
Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center

Md. A. H. Pradhan
Assoc. Prof., Economics
, Shahjalal University of Science & Technology

Mubashar Hasan
Asst. Prof., Political Science and Sociology, North South University

Md. Jalal U. Sikder
Asst. Prof., General Education, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh

Md. Shanawez Hossain
Research Fellow, Institute of Governance & Development, BRAC University

Md. Rabiul Islam
Assoc. Prof., Institute of Social Welfare & Research, University of Dhaka

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Institute for South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley · 10 Stephens Hall · Berkeley, CA 94720 · USA

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