An International Webinar Conference

Bangladesh at 50

Streamed globally via Zoom at the University of Queensland St Lucia campus
7-8 October 2021

March 26, 2021 marked the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's emergence as an independent nation-state. Immediately upon its emergence and during the first two decades, the development partners and commentators had serious concerns about the future of the impoverished nation. However, defying all odds, Bangladesh's development trajectory over the last two decades, has not only proven the sceptics wrong but also put her on a firm footing as an impressive role model for development.

Today, Bangladesh is one of south Asia’s and the world's fastest-growing economies, consistently achieving an annual growth of around seven per cent or even more except since COVID-19.

Bangladesh has met UNCDP’s all three eligibility criteria for graduation to a developing nation: income per capita, human assets index (HAI), and economic and environmental vulnerability index (EVI). Importantly, Bangladesh has set its sight on becoming a middle-income country by 2030 and a developed country by 2041.

Coinciding with Bangladesh celebrating 50 years of its independence, senior academics, researchers and professionals from six Australian universities, other organisations, and Amra Kojon The Legacy of Bangbandhu Australia Inc. have joined hands in organising an International Webinar Conference at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia on 7-8 October, 2021.

The key objectives of the conference are to:

1. Showcase Bangladesh's achievements in selected key areas, and to identify challenges and assessing the prospects of sustaining its growth.

2. Set the direction that Bangladesh needs to take to achieve the 2030 and 2041 goals.

3. Elucidate lessons that can be gleaned from Bangladesh’s own development experience as well as what it needs to learn from others.

The golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence corresponds with the centenary of the birth of the nation’s founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, adored by the masses as Bangabandhu (friend of Bengal). He was not only the central figure in leading the nation in its heroic struggle for emancipation from colonial exploitations, he also instilled in them the dream of a bright future for them, teeming millions of impoverished population.

With the passage of time, Bangabandhu’s recognition as a legendary leader has reached increasing heights and, he has emerged as a leading statesman of the global stage of the 20th century and beyond.

In 2017, UNESCO included in its Memory of the World Register his historic 7th March 1971 speech to a million-strong crowd, urging them to join the struggle for liberation. In 2018, UNESCO established Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Prize for the Creative Economy.

This conference is dedicated to the memory of Bangladesh’s founding father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman without whose indomitable courage, personal sacrifice and legendary leadership, Bangladesh and its people would not have succeeded in realizing their dream of an independent and prosperous homeland.

Contact Us


• Positioning Bangladesh on the Global Map: Achievements, Opportunities, and Challenges
• Inclusive Wealth in South Asia Concentrating on Bangladesh
• Bangabandhu and Bengali Nationhood: Leadership and Strategy
• Bangladesh Agriculture: From Self-Sufficiency to an Exporting Nation
• Energy Generation: Development and the Environment
• Education: Building Human Capital with a Vision for 2041
• Health Services: From Serving the Nation to Health Tourism
• Apparel Industry: Competitiveness beyond COVID- 19

Special Conference Event:
Positioning Bangladesh on the Global Map - A Round Table Discussion with
Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta

Featuring economists and environmental scientists of international standing:

• Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom)
• Professor Edward Barbier (Colorado State University, United States)
• Professor Carl Folke (Beijer Institute, Sweden)
• Professor Shunsuke Managi (Kyushu University, Japan)

Bangladesh at 50 – Conference 2021 Program – 7 October

Theme Speaker Date and Time
Introduction Honorary Assoc Prof M Alauddin,
Prof Shams Rahman & Prof Tapan Saha,
7 October:
1:50 – 2:00 pm Brisbane time
9:50 – 10:00 am Bangladesh time
3:50 – 4:00 am GMT
Bangabandhu and Bengali Nationhood: Leadership and Strategy Prof Rehman Sobhan
Chair: Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury (Q & A)
7 October:
2:00 – 3:00 pm Brisbane
10:00 -11:00 am Bangladesh time
4:00 – 5:00 am GMT
Bangladesh Agriculture: From Self-Sufficiency to an Exporting Nation Dr Shamsul Alam
Chair: Honorary Assoc Prof Mohammad Alauddin
Discussant: Prof Md Abdur Rashid Sarker
7 October:
3:15 – 4:00 pm Brisbane time
11:15 am – 12:00 pm Bangladesh time
5:15 – 6:00 am GMT
Education: Building Human Capital with a Vision for 2041 Prof M Zafar Iqbal
Chair: Emeritus Professor M Rafiqul Islam
Discussant: Prof Firoz Alam
7 October:
4:30 – 5:15 pm Brisbane time
12:30 – 1:15 pm Bangladesh time
6:30 – 7:15 am GMT
Health Services: From Serving the Nation to Health Tourism Prof M Shahidullah
Chair: Assoc Prof Rasheda Khanam
Discussant: Dr Tahmeed Ahmed
7 October:
5:30 – 6:15 pm Brisbane time
1:30 – 2:15 pm Bangladesh time
7:30 – 8:15 am GMT
Energy Generation: Development and the Environment Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury
Chair: Prof Tapan Saha
Discussant: Prof Saifur Rahman
7 October:
7:30 – 8:30 pm Brisbane time
3:30 – 4:30 pm Bangladesh time
9:30 – 10 30 am GMT

Special Conference Event

Positioning Bangladesh on the Global Map – A Round Table Discussion with Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, Professor Edward Barbier, Professor Carl Folke, and Professor Shunsuke Managi

Moderators: Mohammad Alauddin, Clevo Wilson, Tapan Saha & Shams Rahman

3:00-4:30 pm GMT, and 9:00 – 10:30 pm Bangladesh time 7 October AND 1:00 – 2:30 am Brisbane time, 12:00 am Japan time 8 October

Note: This event falls at the start of 8 October for Asia Pacific e. g., Japan, and Eastern Australia. Please follow 3:00-4:30 pm GMT on 7 October to any avoid confusion.

Bangladesh at 50 – Conference 2021 Program – 8 October

Theme Speaker Date and time
Positioning Bangladesh on the Global Map: Achievements, Opportunities, and Challenges Prof M Farashuddin
Chair: Prof Shams Rahman
Discussant: Honorary Assoc Prof M Alauddin
8 October:
1:00 to 2:00 pm Brisbane time
9:00 – 10:00 am Bangladesh time
3:00 – 4:00 am GMT
Apparel Industry: Competitiveness beyond COVID- 19 Mr Faruque Hassan
Chair: Prof Amrik Sohal
Discussant: Prof Shams Rahman
8 October:
2:15 – 3:00 pm Brisbane time
10:15 – 11:00 am Bangladesh time
4:15 – 5:00 am GMT
Inclusive Wealth in South Asia concentrating on Bangladesh keynote address Prof Shunsuke Managi
Chair: Prof Clevo Wilson (Q & A)
8 October:
4:00 – 4:45 pm Brisbane time
12:00 – 12:45 Bangladesh time
6:00 – 6:45 am GMT

Conference Speakers


Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury

Bir Bikram, is Adviser (with the rank and status of a Minister) to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh for Energy, Power and Mineral Resources

Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Bir Bikram, is Adviser (with the rank and status of a Minister) to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh for Energy, Power and Mineral Resources since January 2009. Presently he is continuing in the same capacity in the third term of the present government. The Prime Minister holds the portfolio of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources.

Under the audacious and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh witnessed unprecedented growth in power and energy sector during 2009-2020. For instance, power generation increased by fivefold, access to electricity from 47% to over 99 % and more than 4 million solar home systems were installed.

Dr. Chowdhury was born in 1945, studied Economics at the Universities of Dhaka and Punjab and joined the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) in 1968 after a two-year stint as Lecturer in Economics in the Dhaka University.

In 1971, abandoning his job in the central government of Pakistan as the Sub-Divisional Officer of Meherpur, Kushtia, he joined the Liberation War of Bangladesh, was commissioned in the Bangladesh Armed Forces and appointed as sub-sector Commander of Sector 8. Decorated for gallantry (Bir Bikram) against the occupation Pakistan Army, Dr Chowdhury was one of the chief organizers of the historic event of the Proclamation of Independence and the swearing-in ceremony of the first Government of Bangladesh in Mujibnagar, Meherpur on April 17, 1971.

Later he reverted to the civil service and after several assignments, went for higher studies at Leeds University, UK (1975) and did his PhD from Harvard University, USA (1983). He was CEO and Managing Director of the Industrial Bank of Bangladesh. Dr. Chowdhury served as Secretary to the Government of Bangladesh for nearly a decade in the Ministries of Food, Statistics, Power Energy & Mineral Resources and Planning. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Economic Growth Centre of the Yale University. Dr. Chowdhury retired in 2002 and later worked as a consultant to, among others, UN agencies and multilateral organizations.

Dr. Chowdhury has authored several books and published articles in reputed journals. His recently published book: “Chariot of Life: Liberation War, Politics and Sojourn in Jail” by Penguin Random House India has been widely acclaimed.


Dr Shamsul Alam

Currently State Minister for Planning, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh after serving as a Member (Senior Secretary) Bangladesh Planning Commission (July 2009-June 2021) and a professor at Bangladesh Agricultural University (1974-2009).

Led the preparation of National Planning Documents as Member, General Economics Division, Bangladesh Planning Commission during 2009-20: Sixth Five Year Plan FY2011-FY 15; Revised Accelerated Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper II (FY09-FY11) entitled, ‘Steps Towards Change’; ‘Perspective Plan of Bangladesh 2010-21- Making Vision 2021 a Reality’; National Sustainable Development Strategy (2011-2021) and First & Second Implementation Review of the Sixth Five Year Plan (1912). He led the preparation of the Bangladesh National Social Security Strategy (2015-2025), the Seventh Five Year Plan (2016-2020) and the 8th Five Year Plan (July 2020-June 2025). He led the preparation of the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 and the Bangladesh second Perspective Plan (2021-41) based on Bangladesh Vision 2041. He also, led the preparation of a number of evaluation and annual Progress Reports on MDGs (15) and SDGs (26). During his tenure in GED, under his supervision and editorship, 114 knowledge products (plans, evaluation reports, research books) were published by GED.

Accompanied Bangladesh Prime Minister's official entourage to the UN General Assembly Sessions (2010-2019 except 2017), to Turkey (7-14 May 2011), and to Japan (26-29 May 2016).


Professor Rehman Sobhan

Chairman, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh, Former Member, Advisory Council of the Caretaker Government (1991) and Former Director General, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS)

Professor Rehman Sobhan was educated at St. Paul’s School, Darjeeling, Aitichison College, Lahore and Cambridge University where he was awarded an MA in Economics. He began his working career at the faculty of Economics, Dhaka University in 1957 and retired as Professor of Economics in 1977. He served as Member, Bangladesh Planning Commission, in charge of the Divisions of Industry, Power and Natural Resources, and of Physical Infrastructure, as Chairman, Research Director, Director General and Emeritus Fellow, BIDS and as a Visiting Fellow, Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford. He was a Member of the Advisory Council of the President of Bangladesh in 1991, in charge of the Ministry of Planning and the Economic Relations Division. He is the founder and Executive Chairman of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD). He has been the Executive Director, South Asia Centre for Policy Studies (SACEPS), a Visiting Scholar, Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University and a Senior Research Fellow, at the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance, Harvard University. Currently he is the Chairman of CPD.


Professor Dr. Mohammed Farashuddin

Chief Adviser, East West University, Bangladesh

An economist by training and socio-economist by conviction as well as practice Mohammed Farashuddin is currently the Chief Adviser, East West University (EWU). The work entails significant responsibilities in management and compensation of 500 or so employees academic and non-teaching. He also was the Founder Vice Chancellor 1995-98, of EWU which is now a permanent sanad holder. In addition, he is (a) a Senior Fellow and Member of the Board of Trustees of BIDS (b) Founder Member, Governing Council and Academic Council of the Bangladesh School of Economics (c) Senate Member, University of Dhaka (d) Syndicate Member, Jagannath University (e) Visiting Professor (occasional) at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka and East West University.


Professor Muhammed Zafar Iqbal

Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh

Professor Muhammed Zafar Iqbal was born in 1952. He obtained his Bachelors and Masters degree from the Department of Physics, Dhaka University and PhD from University of Washington, Seattle. He worked in California Institute of Technology and Bell Communication Research before returning to Bangladesh in 1994 and joining Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet. He worked as Head of the Department of several departments and Dean of several faculties before retiring in 2019. Prof. Iqbal has written more than 230 books. He is a popular columnist, activist and is credited with popularizing science and mathematics Olympiad movements in Bangladesh. He has received numerous awards for his literary and academic contributions.


Professor Dr. Mohammod Shahidullah

President, Bangladesh Medical & Dental Council (BMDC)

Professor Dr. Mohammod Shahidullah is now working as Chairman in the Department of Neonatology in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU). He became medical graduate in January, 1982. He did Post Graduation FCPS (Paediatrics) in January, 1989. He worked in John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, Australia as Registrar in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for two years.

Current positions:

• Chairman, National Technical Advisory Committee on COVID 19
• President, Bangladesh Medical & Dental Council (BMDC)
• Chairman, National Technical Working Committee (NTWC) on Newborn Health
• Chairman, Board of Management, Dhaka Shishu Hospital
• Chairman, National Certification Committee for Polio Eradication
• Secretary General of Child Health Foundation, Bangladesh
• Member, National Research Ethical Committee, BMRC
• Advisor to Regional Director of WHO-SEAR in Immunization TAG committee


Faruque Hassan

President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Managing Director, Giant Group, Board Member of International Apparel Federation (IAF), Founder Member of Board of Trustees of Bangladesh, University of Fashion and Technology (BUFT), Honorary Consul General of Greece in Bangladesh.

Mr. Faruque Hassan is the President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Before becoming the head of BGMEA, he served the association as elected Director for two consecutive tenures, and as elected Vice President for three terms. He has been elected as a Board Member of the International Apparel Federation (IAF) in May 2021. He was the first from the BGMEA Board joining the IAF in 2013. He is the Managing Director of Giant Group, a renowned business conglomerate having apparel, textile, and agro business.

Mr. Hassan has been working for the development of textile and readymade garments sector in Bangladesh at large in many capacities, especially in promoting sustainability across the industry. He was the Co-chair of the Steering Committee of Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PACT) project jointly implemented by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and BGMEA to reduce the water footprint in the textile processing industries with an aim to make the sector sustainable. He was also a member of the Steering Committee of WRG 2030 (World Bank Group), working towards cleaner water and sanitization for the community. He is a Founder Member of the Board of Trustees of Bangladesh University of Fashion and Technology (BUFT).

As President of Dutch Bangla Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DBCCI), the first bilateral chamber in Bangladesh, Mr. Hassan has extensive experience serving as the Vice President of the French Chamber, alongside being involved in the German and Switzerland Chamber in Bangladesh. He is appointed by the Greek government as the Honorary Consul General of Greece in Bangladesh. He is also a Director of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, the national flag carrier airline of Bangladesh.

Mr. Faruque Hassan did his post-graduation in Management from the University of Dhaka. He completed the Capstone course National Defense College (NDC) in the year 2019. He is an alumnus of Bangladesh Association for Overseas Technical Cooperation and Sustainable Partnerships (AOTS).


Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta

Emeritus Professor, Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Fellow: British Academy, Royal Society. Member: Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Foreign Member: US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Honorary Fellow: London School of Economics, Trinity College (Cambridge). Volvo Environment Prize (2002), John Kenneth Galbraith Prize (2006), Zayed International Environment Prize (2011), Blue Planet Prize (2015), Tyler Prize (2016). Honorary Doctorate: Wageningen University, University of Bologna, Tilberg University, Catholic University of Louvain, Harvard University, University of York.


Professor Edward Barbier

Professor in the Department of Economics, Colorado State University and a Senior Scholar in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability

Edward B. Barbier is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Economics, Colorado State University and a Senior Scholar in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. His main expertise is environmental and resource economics as well as international environmental policy. He has consulted for a variety of national, international and non-governmental agencies, including many UN organizations, the World Bank and the OECD. He has authored over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, written or edited 26 books, and published in popular journals and social media. Barbier is a Fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and is a highly cited scholar on global environmental and sustainability issues. He is the author of The Water Paradox: Overcoming the Global Crisis in Water Management. Yale University Press, New Haven and London.


Professor Carl Folke

Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Professor Carl Folke is Director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He is also founder and Chair of the Board of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University.
Carl is a systems thinker in integrative science for sustainability, recognized for his research on social-ecological systems and resilience thinking. Since the mid-1980s he has broken new ground in understanding the dynamic interplay of humans and nature, of economy and ecology, from management and stewardship of ecosystem services in the seas and on the land to global sustainability. His work has illustrated how progress, prosperity and wellbeing will benefit from reconnecting development to the biosphere.
Carl has contributed in fostering a new generation of sustainability science researchers internationally and in Sweden, built internationally leading research centres and institutes, and worked with scholars across the natural and social sciences and the humanities. He has a long record of science, policy and practice collaboration, working with key actors from local landscapes in Sweden to international bodies and transnational corporations. He is genuinely engaged in the arts-science interface.
Carl has produced some three-hundred publications and is recognized as highly cited researcher. He has received the Gunnerus Award in Sustainability Science (2017), the International Geographical Union’s Planet and Humanity Medal (2016), the Sustainability Science Award of the Ecological Society of America (2004), and the Pew Scholar Award in Conservation and the Environment (1995). He is member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2002) and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2017).


Professor Shunsuke Managi

Professor & Director of Urban Institute at the Kyushu University, Japan

Shunsuke Managi is the Distinguished Professor & Director of Urban Institute at the Kyushu University. He is a director for Inclusive Wealth Report, a lead author for the IPCC, a coordinating lead author for the IPBES, a coordinating lead author UNESCO Assessment, an editor of “Economics of Disasters and Climate Change”, “Environmental Economics and Policy Studies” and editor of "The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Economics in Asia". He is the co-chair the Scientific Committee of the 2018 World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists. He was the recipient of a JSPS Prize and council member of The Science Council of Japan.

Conference Organising Committee

Honorary Associate Professor Mohammad Alauddin
School of Economics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Development Economics, Environmental Economics, Economics Education, Agricultural Economics, Applied Econometrics.

Professor Shams Rahman
Department of Supply Chain and Logistics, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Supply Chain sustainability and circular economy; Cybersecurity in supply chains; Regional connectivity and development; Quality and lean supply chain, and Talent management.

Professor Tapan Saha
School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Queensland.

Power systems analysis, Renewable energy integration to the national grid, electrical infrastructure ageing and their life assessments.

Anup Sarker [Conference technical and logistic support]
Information Technology System Specialist
Lilac Shahid [Conference public relation and Media support]
Senior HR and Business Consultant

Professor Clevo Wilson
Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane Australia.

Environmental, ecological, agricultural, tourism, transport, energy, and development economics with a special interest in using environmental valuation techniques, both revealed and stated.

Professor Emeritus M Rafiqul Islam
Macquarie School of Law, Sydney, Australia

International Law, International Trade Law, International Criminal Law, International Human Rights Law, Foreign Direct Investment Law, and Constitutional Law of Bangladesh.

Associate Professor Rasheda Khanam
Economics, School of Business, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia.

Applied Economics, Economic Development and Growth, Economics of Education, Public Health and Health Services, and Health Economics.

Associate Professor Parvinder Kler
Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.

Labour economics, gender issues, job and life satisfaction, economic development, economics of education and financial market regulation.

Professor Firoz Alam
School of Engineering (Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing) at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

Aerodynamics of aircraft, road vehicles, trains, buildings, and sports balls; energy and energy policy, and engineering education.

Dr Shamsul Arafin Bhuiyan
Principal Research Scientist, Sugar Research Australia/Adjunct Associate Professor Griffith University.

Sugarcane farming system, integrated crop management, soil health, biosecurity, application of genomic and phenomics in disease diagnosis, and screening for disease resistance.

Dr Abu Sina
NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow, Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Cancer, Cancer Diagnosis, Bionanotechnology for cancer detection.

Dr Iqbal Ahmad Chowdhury
Senior Medical Officer (Psychiatry), General Adult Psychiatry, Redcliffe Adult Mental Health Team, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Queensland Health.

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