The Aga Khan Foundation organizes a discussion titled ‘Public Service: Its Joy and Challenges’ in Bashundhara, Dhaka
The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) organized a panel discussion on public service on Saturday, bringing together representatives from the government, civil society, academia and the private sector to discuss the importance of public service on the life and development of the nation, and the challenges and opportunities in the service.
The event, titled “Public Service: Its Joys and Challenges,” was held at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre in Bashundhara, Dhaka.
Among the speakers attending the event were Dr Gowher Rizvi, international affairs adviser to the prime minister, M Syeduzzaman, former finance minister and member of policy think tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Board of Trustees, and Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, economist and former adviser to caretaker government.
In his introductory remarks, Gowher Rizvi said while the phrase “public servant” or “bureaucrat” often has negative connotations associated with it, it is important to “recognize that public servants have solved some of the most fundamental problems in our lives.”
He also lauded M Syeduzzaman, who recounted his personal journey as a public servant in his keynote address.
“Everything a public servant should be, Mr Syeduzzaman has been,” Rizvi remarked.
Dilshad Dossani, chairperson of the Aga Khan Foundation (Bangladesh)’s National Committee, said the Aga Khan Foundation had an interest in the notion of public service as defined in its broadest sense of a service rendered in the public interest.
“This definition is not limited to those who work in government services, but encompasses all individuals, civil society and organizations that work for the benefit of the people of Bangladesh.” she further said.
The panel agreed that, within public service broadly defined, the concept of “public ethics” – or the notion of trying to do something better for society and to create a more humane world – is important and needs to be revived and strengthened.
The panellists also agreed that the quality of institutions that groom public servants, including the education system as a whole, play a critical role and can bring in all the available wisdom within society to help public servants understand their role and motivate them to serve for the betterment of their societies.