The first-ever Bangabandhu Chair was inaugurated yesterday at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Bangkok to promote research on “Sustainable and Integrated Smart Energy Modelling” in the context of Bangladesh and other developing countries.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai jointly unveiled the commemorative plaque of the Bangabandhu Chair at the renowned technology institute.
Speaking at a programme on the occasion, Mahmood said Bangladesh would be fostering advanced research on applied technologies and innovations in sustainable, affordable and clean energy under the Bangabandhu Chair at AIT.
The Thai foreign minister said they considered the Bangabandhu Chair to be a symbol of the warm bond of friendship and cooperation between Thailand and Bangladesh.
He expressed optimism that the Chair would lead to advance in research and innovation in the field of sustainable and affordable energy.
“I hope it will also deepen our common aspirations under the BIMSTEC and the ACD [Asia Cooperation Dialogue] for greater regional economic cooperation and energy connectivity.”
The Bangladesh government provided an endowment fund of $800,000 (23.7 million baht) for the Bangabandhu Chair Professorship and Doctoral Research Fellowship at AIT. It will support the professorship for four years.
Under the endowment assurance, a researcher will be working on his/her doctoral studies as the Bangabandhu Chair Fellow at AIT.
Dr Joyashree Roy, professor of economics and head of Global Change Programme in India's Jadavpur University, has been selected as the Bangabandhu Chair professor.
She is a national fellow of the Indian Council of Social Sciences Research and has remained a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the past decade. She was among the network of scientists who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the IPCC.
The Bangabandhu Chair professor will address the sustainable and integrated energy policy and related issues, especially in the context of Bangladesh, focusing on policies, regulation, market and incentive system for improving energy efficiency and wider deployment of alternative energy in the context of SDG7 (Sustainable Development Goal on energy).
The professor will work at the Department of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development at AIT's School of Environment and Development.
The programme will focus on the development of a smart and integrated energy model in the context of a densely populated country like Bangladesh and its energy vision for access to power and energy for all by 2021 under the government's Vision 2021.
The Chair professor, with support of other AIT faculty members at the Energy Programme, is expected to conduct research and provide educational support to doctoral students focusing on Bangladesh.
Mahmud Hasan has been picked as the doctoral student who will be working under the Bangabandhu Chair Professor at the AIT. He has enrolled at AIT in the January 2018 semester. Prior to joining the institute, he was working as assistant manager (technical) of Sylhet Gas Fields Limited in Bangladesh.
As the first doctoral student under the Bangabandhu Chair Professorship, Hasan has the desire to contribute to Bangladesh's development, especially in the sustainable energy sector.
The Chair has been named after Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who remained deeply committed to political, economic and social emancipation of the oppressed people and led Bangladesh to its independence in 1971.
The creation of the endowment fund is an outcome of the outstanding support of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. It was an initiative of Saida Muna Tasneem, ambassador of Bangladesh to Thailand.
Muna said Bangladesh has strengthened its association by endowing the Institute with a Bangabandhu Chair Professorship.
Top government officials from Bangladesh and Thailand, AIT Board of Trustee members, ambassadors and academics from universities in Thailand and Bangladesh were present at the programme.
Earlier in the morning, the Bangladesh foreign minister paid a courtesy call on Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.
After holding bilateral talks, foreign ministers Mahmood and Don Pramudwinai witnessed the signing of an agreement between Bangladesh and Thailand on exemption of visa for the holders of diplomatic passports.
Mahmood signed the citation on the Bangabandhu Chair Professor.