After a successful round of nationwide auditions held in Dhaka, Sylhet and Chattogram, the British Council organised the National Finale of FameLab Bangladesh 2019 on 23 March at The Westin Dhaka. Fourteen finalists, trained by Masterclass trainer from the UK competed in the final for the privilege of representing Bangladesh at the International Cheltenham Science Festival in Cheltenham, UK. A. S. M. Afrin Bin Nur Adib, student of BUET, became the winner of the competition.
The British Council has been hosting FameLab in Bangladesh since 2018 and this is the second year the science competition has been hosted in the country for young STEM enthusiasts. This year, the British Council took the competition to the divisional hubs of Sylhet and Chattogram to reach out to the brilliant minds outside Dhaka as well. After a two-month-long intensive promotional campaign for FameLab which included collaboration with major universities within and outside Dhaka where registration and activation booths were set up for students to register online; the British Council received over 600 successful applications nationwide. Auditions were held over three days in Dhaka, Sylhet, and Chattogram in February for shortlisted candidates numbering over 60 in Sylhet and Chattogram each and around 150 for Dhaka.
The judges were: Humaira Akhter, Professor at the University of Dhaka, M K Sharif Siam, Senior Lecturer at BRAC University and Dr. Mustak Ibn Ayub, Assistant Professor, University of Dhaka. The finalists were given Masterclass training to hone their skills and concepts by Malcolm Love, Media Producer, Public Communication Skills Coach and Trainer from the UK who spent two days with the candidates.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, Honourable State Minister, Ministry of Posts Telecommunication and Information Technology attended as the chief guest while Professor Abdul Mannan, Chairman, University Grants Commission Bangladesh, and Md. Sohrab Hossain, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Education were present as special guests. Representatives of the British Council were also present during the event.
The opening ceremony included a video about the journey of FameLab in 2019 which showed how it was launched, the audition rounds and finally the masterclass event for the divisional winners. It was followed by the performances of the divisional winners of Bangladesh, each of whom had three minutes to break down and communicate concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, announced the winner of FameLab Bangladesh 2019 who will be traveling to Cheltenham UK to represent Bangladesh in the international competition. He expressed his admiration for the way the finalists had explained a range of advanced STEM concepts to the audience and he conveyed his belief that the winner will go on to uphold the image of Bangladesh in the international arena. “FameLab has made science into a fun subject. It is the world's leading science communication competition and it’s designed to encourage, stimulate and develop scientists and engineers to actively engage with young minds in public groups and stakeholders.” Said, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP.
Mr. Palak appreciated the contribution of the British Council to disseminate the knowledge of science among the young generation and to motivate them to take a greater interest in this fascinating subject area that holds so much potential for the development of the country. Professor Abdul Mannan also appreciated the performances by the finalists and he encouraged the young generation to not be afraid of science but to embrace it. He was hopeful that the higher education institutes will provide greater opportunity to their students to engage and learn the concepts and application of scientific theories.
After receiving the award from Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, XXX expressed his delight to have become the second FameLabber from Bangladesh and promised to do his best in representing his country in Cheltenham.
Finalists from across the five continents will compete to be named as the most interesting, accessible and charismatic science communicator by a panel of expert judges. The final will take place at The Arena in front of a packed Cheltenham Festival audience. Thousands will watch the live-stream around the world and Afrin Bin Nur Adib will represent Bangladesh.
A partnership between FameLab and the British Council, since 2007, has seen the competition go global with more than 9000 young scientists and engineers participating to date. People can keep up with all of the action on Twitter by following @FameLab and @CheltSciFest, and join the conversation using #FameLab.