Centre for Research and Information (CRI) Vice-Chairperson and autism expert Saima Wazed Hossain has called upon everyone to create space for youths to take the country forward.
Recounting how Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at his prime jumped onto the political landscape out of his call to protect the interest of his community and finally founded a nation, Saima voiced for breaking the stereotype that age alone indicates one’s depth of knowledge.
“Let’s change this mindset ‘being minor in age means being minor in knowledge’, which has no ground. Rather the history of our country is studded with examples of youths holding ample knowledge and bearing the torch for others.”
Saima, a granddaughter of Bangabandhu and the daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, made this remark at the closing session of ‘Let’s Talk’ on Sunday, organised by Young Bangla, the youth wing of Centre for Research & Information (CRI).
With her speech, the curtain fell on the seven-episode of the programme held over three days.
“If we reflect on our Liberation War, if we think of the founder of our country – Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman - we observe that he set off as a youth volunteer dedicating himself to the needs of his community.”
Saima, also a thematic Ambassador at Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), said, “The life of Bangabandhu did not start with politics. He didn’t start with any big organisation. That part came later. He began his life by observing the gap in his community. He observed his fellows and he pondered on how he might help them.”
“There began his journey. His leadership quality was developed over there, from his youth, from his community activism. He had some moral values. He had his drives. He followed that compass. There were a lot of challenges arising across his way. He faced those obstacles. Still, he created his own space and it is from there that his leadership qualities developed. That is why we established ourselves as a nation. He learned from there," she said.
Saima said, “We need to learn those at an early age and if we whole-heartedly desire the progress of our country, we must make it a responsibility to create those scopes for our youths.”
Saima talked about the recommendations arising from the discussions of Let’s Talk in the last couple of days.
She said, “One of the biggest issues talked about was the education sector. Why are we imparting education to youths and sending them to schools? Are they ready for that? What are they learning from there? Are they simply studying or are they learning values? How can they contribute to the country? How will there be community involvement?”
“Are they learning about how they can make their surroundings better? They want it and we should work on that front.”
This time Young Bangla’s Let’s Talk featured seven episodes to create the bridge between what youths are thinking of to advance the country in the post-COVID period and what the policymakers are thinking for youths.
Young Bangla has been organising ‘Let’s Talk’ since 2014 to connect the country’s policymakers with youths.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina graced the programme with her presence before the 2018 election.
Prime Minister's ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy also interacted with youths in a handful of episodes of Let’s Talk.
Apart from the opening and ending sessions, Let’s Talk also featured discussions on five themes.
The recommendations from those sessions were also discussed in the closing programne.
CRI Trustee and Vice-Chairperson Saima Wazed Hossain thanked as the chief guest of the closing session of the seven-episode Let’s Talk on ‘COVID-19 Recovery: Youth Development’.
The ending session, conducted by Nobonita Chowdhury, was also attended by Planning Minister MA Mannan, Convener of Young Bangla Nahim Razzaq, MP, and Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office Ahmad Kaikaus.
Addressing youths, the planning minister said, “We have the eighth five-year plan ahead of us. Youths will leave their bold recommendations for that. We will incorporate your opinions in our plan.”
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed youths on the highway of development. Now youths have to march forward.
A new world is in sight and we must be equipped to access that, he said, adding, “Our youths will be able to harness that scope through technology.”