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Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh Philosophy Olympiad 2016

Update : 05 Apr 2016, 12:51 AM
In school, the importance of philosophy is often underestimated. Mohammad Salim Miah began the Bangladesh Philosophy Olympiad keeping that in mind. Class VII to HSC and A level students from numerous schools across the nation were asked to write up an essay on “war and peace” by March 31, and their response was quite hefty. With that, the movement kicked off.Why philosophy“How do we find our way in this immense reality? Can we use our minds and intellect? Philosophy (phileo-sophia) is an attempt to help us find our bearings in a clever and sophisticated way. Philosophers are like cartographers - they map our world. The milestones, however, are not road signs or signposts. They are ideas and values. In our lives, we walk not only through valleys and mountains, but also pass through paradigms and principles. Thus we need ethics, aesthetics, logics and metaphysics,” elaborated Ivan Kolev, Associate Professor of Sofia University in Bulgaria and one of the founders of the International Philosophy Olympiad.Dhaka Tribune - Heritage School Philosophy Olympiad 2016The competition shall award two essay writers with a chance to participate in the International Philosophy Olympiad, which will be held in Belgium in May. Last year, Saprava Roy, a student of Heritage School, represented Bangladesh in the International Philosophy Olympiad for the first time.In Saprava's wordsPhilosophy in high school is a less acknowledged field in Bangladesh. It isn’t practiced in schools, something I consider to be really unfortunate. Philosophy always had an immense amount of contribution to the human society. If you scrutinise the history of man, you are sure to find countless trails of philosophy’s significant contribution. You may be familiar with the names of Aristotle, Plato and so on. These philosophers are some of the most distinctive figures in history with boundless contribution. I wasn’t quite familiar with philosophy either, until I was informed about the International Philosophy Olympiad by my mentor at the Heritage School. I wasn’t sure about participating in the competition, but he convinced me to participate. Despite financial difficulties, my school sponsored me to attend the 23rd International Philosophy Olympiad, giving me the opportunity to title myself as the first ever Bangladeshi to attend the world’s largest philosophical competition for the youth. 40 countries, including Bangladesh, took part in this goliath event, which was organised by Federation International Philosophical Society (FISP), along with the direct support from UNESCO. After going through the basics of the subject for a couple of days, we packed our bags and left. On May 13, we landed in Estonia, the country which hosted the 23rd International Philosophy Olympiad. My mentor was by my side, and we strode forward as Team Bangladesh. While the welcome was warm, the contrasting climate chilled me to the bone. Even my thickest jacket was useless against the chilly winds. When we arrived at Tartu, a small yet extraordinary city, the surrounding greenery was beautiful! We checked into a hotel and went out for a walk other fellow participants. They were very friendly, and with every step, our evening become even more extraordinary as the conversations progressed. The competition was five days long, where you only had to attend an exam for four hours. The spare time was for getting to know others and enjoy the time. Every separate day had its own specialty. From the second day, my mentor was separated to another hotel, with all students bound to reside in another. As I checked in, I took my pass card and dashed in the room where I met my new roommate. Despite the differences in age, we eventually grew to become best friends. Afterwards, we cascaded down the stairs to the hallway. With a room on the second floor, the lift was not necessary. I joined the large group downstairs and eventually become friends with them too. Apart from roaming around the city, the greatest enjoyment were the discussions we had about various topics. They shared their opinions. I did too. Eventually, I came to meet people from 39 different nations and learned about their opinions. It was a treasured experience. Furthermore, we toured the University of Tartu, enjoyed a marvelous river cruise along the narrow stream encircling the university, and visited the breath taking science museum known as AHHAA. The university is ancient and brimming with history, while the science museum was a real thrill. The exam was taken on the last day. After breakfast, we were escorted to the exam hall in the university’s faculty of philosophy. After more than four hours and 1500 words, all the students gathered down at the hall, exhausted and brain-dead. With a group discussion with professional philosophers and a debate competition, the exam session ended and we were escorted back to the hotel. Time finally ran out. I shed a few tears that day. The bonding was exceptional and the separation became rather painful. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to have such an experience and lucky to have met so many wonderful people from all around the world. I am eternally grateful to my school and the people who made the trip possible. I will treasure this memory for a long time. - See more at:
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