Important activities of last 5 years

Humboldt Club Bangladesh is one of the oldest Humboldt clubs in South East Asia, which was first formed in 1983. Initially its name was Humboldt Club Bangladesh but for better management it was renamed as Association of Humboldt Fellows Bangladesh in 2004. In recent years the Association has been significantly activated, achieving its aims and objectives.

According to the Constitution of the Association of Humboldt Fellows Bangladesh, the objectives of the Association are: i)To provide a form for ex-scholars from Bangladesh to meet together, exchange ideas and share their experiences of the Federal Republic of Germany.
ii)To promote academic and cultural relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Bangladesh through meetings, seminars and exchange of visits etc.
iii)To help ex-Scholars in obtaining various kinds of supports from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for their academic and research pursuits in Bangladesh.
iv)To receive dignitaries from the Federal Republic of Germany in Bangladesh and provide them the necessary exposure to Bangladeshi scientists and educationists by organizing lectures by such dignitaries and meetings, etc.
v)To draw attention of Bangladeshi academicians and research workers to the Humboldt Foundation and its activities, to encourage them to apply for the Humboldt Fellowship, to give them the necessary guidance and help for this purpose.
vi)To provide necessary help and guidance to Humboldt Scholars proceeding to the Federal Republic of Germany for the first time.
vii)To maintain close liaison with (a) the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bangladesh. (b) the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), (c) the German Alumni Association of Bangladesh and international Networking of Humboldt Fellows of different disciplines.

The Association is working to materialize all these objectives and also in addition to achieving these objectives we have extended our works to some social activities for helping mass education. In order to depict a picture of our activities of recent years I start from the year 2004, the year when we celebrated 50th Anniversary of the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation in presence and active participation of the Deputy Secretary General of the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation Dr. Gisela Janetzke as Special Guest in our Programme.

Prior to this event on Feb. 20, 2004, five Parliamentarians from the German Bundestag namely: Dr. Wolf Bauer, Mr. Johannes Pflug, Mr. Josef Winkler, Mrs. Angelika Graf & Mrs. Ulrike Flach made a state visit to our country. As General Secretary of the Association of Humboldt Fellows Bangladesh I was honoured by the then Ambassador of Germany in Bangladesh H.E. Mr. Dietrich Andreas to be introduced to them in a Lunch Party, Organized by him. I narrated to them about the activities of our Association, letting them know of our preparation for celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation and about the participation of Dr. Gisela Janetzke in our event and in that meeting as I was asked to put up important suggestions, accordingly it was my proposal to the esteemed Parliamentarians to take necessary steps in Govt. level to enhance bilateral co-operations in all vital sectors, especially to take steps to develop exchange program in University faculties leading to establishment of a German-Bangladesh Friendship University & Hospital. The Parliamentarians highly appreciated the activities of our Association. After five years five Parliamentarians from the German Bundestag came again to our country on official visit and again as General Secretary of the Association of Humboldt Fellows Bangladesh I had the opportunity to talk to them, having been invited by H.E. the Ambassador of Germany in Bangladesh Mr. Frank Meyke in a Dinner party, organized by his support. I tried to give a message to them about our idea in enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two countries. As mentioned, just two months later on April 20, 2004 we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation in Dhaka Sheraton Hotel. In the Inaugural session, the Chief Guest was Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan, MP, the honourable Minister, Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology, Govt. of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh. Special Guests were: Deputy Secretary General of the Humboldt Foundation, Dr. Gisela Janetzke; H.E. the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bangladesh Mr. Dietrich Andreas; Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University Prof. S.M.A.Faiz and Vice-chancellor of Jahangirnagar University Prof. Khandaker Mustahidur Rahman. At the Inaugural session Dr. Gisela Janetzke gave a speech on “Recent Developments concerning the sponsorship programmes of the Humboldt Foundation” and I gave a talk on “Alexander Von Humboldt- the Great Explorer, Naturalist and Scientist”. Followed by there was a technical session, where Prof. Dr. med. vet. Hermann Mueller from the University of Leipzig gave a talk on “Inmmunosuppressive viral Diseases in Poultry”. The Humboldtian Dr. M. Eusuf also gave a talk on “Energy & Environment in Bangladesh”. The Minister Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan was so impressed that he was present in the technical session too. Even the Defense Adviser from the German Embassy in Delhi was present in that program for whole time. The news came out in different national dailies. DAAD Alumni Special Newsletter from New Delhi gave news Heading: “Humboldt Club Bangladesh celebrates 50th Anniversary of AvH Foundation.” On the next day Dr.Giseta Janetzke had a courtesy call to Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University Prof. S.M.A Faiz and visited laboratories and talked to teachers of two Departments of Dhaka University, Dept of Chemistry & Dept. of Applied Chemistry & Chemical Engineering and she expressed her deep satisfaction.

December I, 2004 there was a Dinner party, given in honour to two German Professors: Prof. Thorsten Benter from Wueppertal University and Dr. Klaus Ruscher of the Hannover University, who actually came to attend Bangladesh Chemical Congress. The Dinner party was given by the President of the Association Prof. M. Muhibur Rahman, inviting Humboldt Fellows in his house. The Association raised money to help some schools which were severely affected by the devastating flood in the year 2004. A call was made to all Humboldt Fellows and their associates, both in Bangladesh and abroad. Professor Thorsten Benter of the University of Wuppertal, made an appeal to the faculty members of that University, and the money raised was later handed over to the association when he visited Bangladesh in December 2004 to participate in the Bangladesh Chemical Congress. Since then, Professor Benter has been raising money through the program “Kinder Forschertage” in his University to contribute to the fund of our association for the rehabilitation of flood affected schools.

On July 19, 2005, a cheque of one lakh and eighty thousand Taka (equivalent to more than two thousand Euro at that time) was ceremonially handed over to a flood affected school, Solmaid School of Bhatara Union near Dhaka city as a donation from our Association in presence of Charge D’Affairs of the German Embassy in Dhaka. The news came out in national dailies.

In 2006 we contributed from our Association Fund a sum of one lakh Taka equivalent to more than one thousand Euro to the following flood affected schools for reconstructions:
1. Fatullah primary School
2. Fatullah Pilot High School
3. Fatullah Kindergarten School.
A decision has been taken by the Executive committee to donate further one lakh Taka equivalent to more than one thousand Euro to Solmaid School to develop laboratory facilities as soon as possible in presence of the representatives from German Embassy. We aim to continue this type of practice of our Association. As already stated, one of the objectives of our Association is to promote academic and cultural relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Bangladesh through meetings, seminars and exchange of visits. With that aim in view, every year we are doing Annual General meeting followed by seminar, symposium, where not only local Humboldians participate but very distinguished personalities from home and abroad, especially from Germany are participating. The seminar topics are selected on contemporary national issues. For example in 2007 we had AGM and seminar on “Arsenic pollution in Bangladesh and its mitigation”. February 14, 2008 the Association of Humboldt Fellows Bangladesh celebrated 10th Anniversary of the Georg Forster Fellowship Programme. The programme was attended by H.E. the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Mr. Frank Meyke, Cultural Attache of the Embassy, Vice-Chancellor of Jagannath University, Pro-Vice-chancellor of Dhaka University, Pro vice-Chancellor of Jahangirnagar University, Chief of GTZ Bangladesh, Director of the Goethe Institute, Deans and Heads of different faculties and depts. A symposium was held on this occasion on “Biotechnology& Environment. Several distinguished scientists delivered lectures on their research findings on different topics, related to the theme of the Symposium, like “Biotechnological solutions for sustainable crop production in the changing environment”; “Avian influenza and human pandemic influenza: Where do we stand?”; “Arsenic mediated intracellular signal transduction”.

December 2008, Association of Humboldt Fellows Bangladesh organized a Dinner Party in a restaurant in the diplomatic zone to invite Prof. Sandhoff from University of Bonn, supervisor of Humboldtian Prof. H.K.M. Yusuf and another Professor from Japan.

This year on February, 2009 we already had the AGM, followed by a symposium on “Contemporary Scientific Thoughts on future Development”. The Programme Venue was Dhaka Sheraton Hotel. There were a number of very distinguished foreign participants, who gave valuable speeches like: Professor Dr Rudi Van Eldik from university of Erlangen-Nuernberg (Humboldt Fellow), Prof. Dr.Thorster Benter from University of Wuppertal, Prof. Jan Hoinkis from Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Sabyasachi Sarkar from IIT, Kanpur, India(Humboldt Fellow), Professor Dr V.Agarwal, Parliament Member of Nepal (Humboldt Fellow). Among Guests and distinguished participants were: the German Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. Frank Meyke, the Cultural Attache of the German Embassy, the Director of Goethe Institute in Dhaka, Chief of the GTZ, the Vice-Chancellor of the Daffodil University, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Dhaka University, Deans and Heads of different departments, potential Humboldtians.

Again in November this year we plan to organize Humboldt Kolleg in Dhaka on the theme: “Environmental Challenges in the New Millennium”. As already planned there will be more than 100 whole time participants in that conference along with some 16 Humboldt Fellows from different countries and 4 German Professors. In order to select participants for that I went to several departments of Dhaka University and also Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and worked liked an Ambassador of the Humboldt Foundation. I noticed that in many of the important Depts. of Dhaka University like Applied Physics and Electronics, Computer Science and Engineering, Geology, Pharmacy, Genetic Engineering, Microbiology and in Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology in depts. like Chemical, Mechanical, Metallurgy & Material Science, Electrical, Civil Engineering, still not very many have definite knowledge on Humboldt Fellowship programme and its status. I realized that such type of informal visits and discussions on Humboldt Fellowship programmes could be very much fruitful for the potential Humboldtians. Even the Deans of Faculties and Heads of several depts. were so much impressed knowing in detail about the Fellowship Programmes that they themselves decided to participate in the programme of Humboldt Kolleg for whole time, though they are normally very much busy with project works. They also nominated some potential young researchers to participate in the event. I think this has been a real good thought of having informal discussions with the potential Humboldtians of different disciplines about the Fellowship Programmes and could be a very good practice which could act as a catalytic force to increase the number of potential applicants for this prestigious Fellowship, especially in the field of Engineering & Technology, which our country needs more for its sustainable development. We plan to continue such discussions with potential Humboldtians in educational institutions of not only the capital city but also in other cities. Soon there will be web site of our Association to encourage further the junior researchers through our outstanding activities.

Besides such activities we maintain liaison with other Humboldt Associations around the Globe. For last five years we are constantly participating in Humboldt Colloquiums, Humboldt Kollegs, Conferences, organized in different countries like India, Thailand, Malaysia, Germany, etc.

The activities of our Association are well expressed through a letter of Dr. Gisela Janetzke to me in April 2007: “Thank you very much for your continuous efforts to strengthen the ties between your country and the AvH.”

Professor Dr.-Ing.Rafiqul Islam
General Secretary
Association of Humboldt Fellows Bangladesh


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