A four-year endowment fund of $800,000 has been given for the Bangabandhu Chair professorship and doctoral research fellowship at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Bangkok, Thailand.
The fellowship is aimed at the advancement of the sustainable development aspirations of the people of Bangladesh.
It was envisioned by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his dream for a “Golden Bengal” and has been continued by his daughter, the current prime minister Sheikh Hasina, in her “Vision 2021” for sustainable energy and development.
The funds have been deposited in a special account in Thailand, to be administered jointly by the Bangladesh Embassy in Bangkok and AIT under the guidance and supervision of the National Committee on the Bangabandhu Chair at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka.
The funds were provided under the direct patronage of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, according to the Bangladesh Embassy in Bangkok.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali inaugurated the Bangabandhu Chair on Thursday evening.
The Bangabandhu Chair is geared towards work on energy sector development with a focus on ensuring access to “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy”, a key Sustainable Development Goal.
The Bangladesh government is going to fund a doctoral student under the fellowship at AIT, who will be selected from the Ministry of Energy, Power and Mineral Resources of Bangladesh through a national level search.
The creation of the Bangabandhu Chair and Endowment Fund at AIT was first proposed at an annual meeting of the AIT Board of Trustees in early 2015 by Ambassador of Bangladesh to Thailand, Saida Muna Tasneem.
The ambassador, who is an elected member of the AIT Board, forwarded the proposal for such a fellowship to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh and sought supporting funds.
She also proposed the subject matter of the research to the Bangladesh government and played a sustained and instrumental role in coordinating between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, the Prime Minister’s Office and the AIT to bring the initiative to fruition.
According to the Bangladesh embassy in Bangkok, this is not only the first doctoral level endowment made by the government of Bangladesh, but also the first that has been established at AIT by a partner government.