Bangladesh has shown success in countering violent extremism, which is a priority area for the government24 January, 2012
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This was the observation made by Major General (Retd) Tariq Ahmed Siddique, Security Affairs Advisor to the Honorable Prime Minister at the inaugural session of a Regional Conference on Countering Violent Extremism through Strategic Communications, which concluded in Dhaka yesterday. His Excellency Mr. Dan W. Mozena, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, who was the Special Guest, stated that the U.S. would continue its support towards Bangladesh in countering violent extremism. The Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) organized this conference in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Center for Civil-Military Relations (CCMR). This conference brought together 47 participants from Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Participants included civilian government officials, senior military officials and officials of law enforcement agencies.
The objectives of the conference were to share best practices and explore ways to coordinate counter-radicalization efforts among the represented countries. The Chief Guest at the Inaugural Session was Major General (Retd) Tariq Ahmed Siddique, Security Affairs Advisor to the Honorable Prime Minister. Mr. Farooq Sobhan, former Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, and currently President of BEI, Ambassador (retd) Humayun Kabir, Vice President, BEI, Dr. Paul Clarke and Dr. Tom Mockaitis from the Center for Civil Military Relations of the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School were the moderators of the three day workshop.
Five plenary and eleven breakout group sessions were held during the three days of the conference. The country presentations made by the participants highlighted that South Asian nations have begun adopting a more holistic approach in their counterterrorism strategies to counter the development of extreme attitudes and behaviors that can encourage acts of terrorism. This conference particularly highlighted the importance of strategic communication as a tool to counter violent extremism. Participants deliberated in detail on the use of strategic communication by their respective countries to counter violent and radical narratives perpetrated by extremist groups. Participants in the conference discussed the need for strengthening relationships among the organizations and agencies involved in counter-radicalization efforts and areas of cooperation and collaboration. Throughout the three days, conference participants heard from experts and fellow professionals on the challenges facing the region and their experience in countering messages of violence.
The conference facilitated the sharing of best practices in countering extremism through strategic communication, accentuated the need for a comprehensive strategy to counter-extremism in each country and strengthens oversight mechanisms. The conference concluded with policy recommendations for follow up actions and the awarding of certificates to participants.
Teesta deal soon: Rizvi, The Daily Star, Wednesday, December 21, 201121 December, 2011
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Signing of the delayed Teesta water sharing deal between Bangladesh and India will take place very soon, said Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Gowher Rizvi yesterday at a dialogue in the city.
Popular perception is that failure to sign the Teesta deal during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh in September is a major setback to the improvement of Indo-Bangla bilateral relationship, he said.
The sooner it is signed the better, the adviser said.
Time is crucial in regard to signing the deal, Rizvi said adding three-fourth people of Bangladesh expect an improved relationship with India.
Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) and Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation (ORF) jointly organised the two-day dialogue on Bangladesh-India security, third of its kind, at a city hotel.
Though Indo-Bangla relationship experienced some success and progress in border demarcation, resolution of enclave issue, adversely possessed land, access to Teen Bigha corridor and duty-free export of 98 per cent commodities in recent times, signing of Teesta deal got stalled, said Rizvi.
The relationship could thrive further on water cooperation, joint river basin management and regional connectivity, he said.
Bangladesh and India share common aspiration for secularism, pluralism and peace, he said, and there is no such fundamental issue that should deteriorate the bilateral ties.
Farooq Sobhan, president of BEI, said that collaboration in combating terrorism can provide the bedrock of Indo-Bangla mutual relationship.
MK Rasgotra, president of ORF, said that people of both the countries should push their respective government for open border, free trade and common currency that would automatically resolve many discords in bilateral and regional relationship.
Unfortunately, he said, the Saarc has since the eighties amounted to nothing. It has made enormous progress on papers but not on the ground.
A number of retired ambassadors, former ministers and former government officials attended the dialogue.
Investment for skill building in focus, The Daily Star, November 27, 201127 November, 2011
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Gowher Rizvi, an adviser to the prime minister, speaks at a workshop on vocational training, jointly organised by British Council and Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, at The Westin Dhaka yesterday. Farooq Sobhan, extreme right, BEI president, is also seen.Photo: STAR
Star Business Report
The country's private sector should contribute for training and skill building in human resources developing in collaboration with the government, said an adviser to the prime minister yesterday.
The government has facilitated the readymade garment sector by waiving various taxes and duties, said Gowher Rizvi.
"If a small fraction of that would have been done for developing the skills of RMG labourers and the labour force we send abroad would result in heavy returns," he said at a workshop at The Westin Dhaka.
The event titled "Improving social business and entrepreneurship through technical and vocational education training in Bangladesh" was jointly organised by British council and Bangladesh Enterprise Institute.
Farooq Sobhan, former ambassador and BEI president, moderated the programme.
The government has allocated a large amount of money in the budget for the first time for vocational training and skill development, said the adviser.
Every year one million new people are joining the job market, he said, adding that it is not possible for the government to provide skill building and employment development training to all the young population.
The government is committed to dissolve the disparity between the educational system and the labour market by developing proper technical and vocational education training systems, said Shafique Alam Mehdi, labour secretary.
The systems, he added, will be easily accessible, affordable and relevant to labour needs.
There are problems with social perceptions in the country which prompt people neglect studies at vocational training centres, said Nazrul Islam Khan, national director of Access to Information Programme of the Prime Minister's Office.
He said the negative perceptions should be shunned by raising social awareness.
He said the country has more than 7.50 crore mobile phone handsets but there is no training centre for repairing the device.
BEI President Farooq Sobhan chaired a session on Managing International Migration and Flow of Remittances:Recent Global Developments and Implications for South Asia at Fourth South Asia Economic Summit on Global Recovery,New Risks and Sustainable Gro23 October, 2011
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The Daily Star, Sunday, October 23, 2011
Costly migration raises concern
Analysts speak at regional summit in Dhaka
Star Business Report
Analysts yesterday expressed concern over high costs of migration and suggested collective negotiation by South Asian countries with the receiving countries to reduce the costs.
Speaking at a regional summit, Dr Tasneem Siddiqui, chairman of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, said migrant workers have to pay double the actual amount and most of the cost is charged by the destination countries. “Even if a worker uses all of his earnings, though it is not possible, it will take 17 months to repay the cost.”
It is not possible for Bangladesh alone to resolve the migration cost issue, Siddiqui said. South Asian countries should work together to solve it, she added.
The Centre for Policy Dialogue, a private think-tank, organised the two-day Fourth South Asia Economic Summit on Global Recovery, New Risks and Sustainable Growth: Repositioning South Asia at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka.
Farooq Sobhan, president of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, chaired a session of the summit -- Managing International Migration and Flow of Remittances: Recent Global Developments and Implications for South Asia -- where experts from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka expressed their opinions.
Siddiqui said Bangladesh has been losing its share of labour market in some countries due to less skilled workers. “Though the concerned ministry has taken several steps to increase skills of the workers, it is not working because it is not part of the national planning,” she said.
Dr Ganesh Gurung, founding chairperson of Nepal Institute of Development Studies, said the migration costs have increased over the last one decade, but not wages.
He felt that regional leaders must attach importance to the migration agenda at the forthcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit.
Dr Selim Raihan, who teaches economics at Dhaka University, stressed the need for conducting panel studies to learn about the flow and use of remittance.
“We don't know how the money is used by the family members of the migrant workers,” he said.
He also suggested more bilateral initiatives by the government with the destination countries to solve different problems of migrant workers.
Farooq Sobhan mentioned 10 recommendations, including concentration on better management, adoption of development friendly migration strategy and implementation of a programme to strengthen the migration management capacity that he will put out at the Commonwealth Summit to be held this week.
Democracy to dawn on Middle East in future Hopes Turkish envoy, The Daily Sun, October 13, 201113 October, 2011
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People in the Middle East have now awakened to rule of law and democracy, said speakers at a discussion on Wednesday.
They have also risen in protest against autocracy and injustice prevailing over a long period of time in society.
The speakers made the observations at a roundtable on “Middle East: economic condition and development” organised by Bangladesh Enterprise Institute in the capital.
Guest Speaker Prof Dr Turkkaya Ataov from Turkey presented the keynote paper delineating the background of popular uprising in some countries of Middle East.
Prof Dr Turkkaya Ataov in his keynote paper said people in the Middle East have started to protest against injustice in society.
He mentioned that the world economic meltdown also led onto the Egyptian crisis.
The people in Egypt protested against corruption, unemployment and demanded social justice, he added.
Turkkaya Ataov said a worker in a printing press of Egypt draws salary of around US$100 while a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) US$ 65,000.
Against such discrimination in the society, around 15 million Egyptians, including peasants, took to the street, demanding redistribution of payment, Ataov said.
He added that Christian fundamentalism is also spreading fast.
Terming Christian fundamentalism an arm of neocolonialism, the guest speaker said it is the worst fundamentalism.
In his address, former ambassador Farooq Sobhan said very important events have recently taken place in the Middle East, especially in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Turkish Ambassador H E M Vakur Erkul said democracy can’t just be confined to certain countries.
People in the Middle East have now awakened to democracy, he said, hoping that democracy will dawn on the Middle East in future.
In the question-answer session, noted Historian Professor Dr Syed Anwar Husain, also editor of daily sun, asked how the uprising in the Middle East is a revolution, as there is no philosophy, no leadership and no organisation for this.
Turkkaya Ataov also agreed that the upsurge by Egyptians is not a revolution.
Former ambassador and chief information commissioner Muhammad Zamir and former ambassador M Humayun Kabir, among others, attended the programme which was presided over by BEI president and former ambassador Farooq Sobhan.