Bangladesh Association of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows (BACSAF) organised their Annual General Meeting at Platinum Suites, Dhaka with the support of the British Council in Bangladesh on behalf of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK. It was a milestone event for BACSAF attended by the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Chairman of University Grants Commission (UGC) among other special guests. 

Over 70 Commonwealth alumni travelled from across Bangladesh to participate in the programme which aimed to provide a platform for them to voice their opinion regarding the finalisation of BACSAF’s structure and its journey forward. Through three separate group discussions the alumni engaged with their peers, bouncing ideas back and forth to put forward their final thoughts about the association’s constitution, its membership modality and financial system and the type of activities the members would like to take part moving forward. It was the opportunity for the alumni to develop a sense of ownership over their association and they took up the challenge with commendable enthusiasm. “We wish to contribute actively to the sustainable development of Bangladesh through our future activities,” expressed an inspired alumnus.

Her Excellency Alison Blake British High Commissioner to Bangladesh had earlier expressed her interest in the activities of BACSAF and she was pleased to witness the alumni taking charge of their association with such vigour. She reiterated the UK’s intention in supporting the alumni as they look to engage with the wider community. Chairman of UGC Professor Abdul Mannan expressed his hope that together, the Commonwealth alumni will be able to make an invaluable contribution to the various economic and social sectors of Bangladesh through their expertise and knowledge. 

The programme concluded on a high note with the alumni promising to exercise greater focus in directly engaging with the community through the organisation of panel discussions, skills development workshops, outreach programmes, etc. The alumni also shared their tips for current scholars studying in the UK which will be displayed by the Commonwealth Commission in their Welcome Reception in London. The feedback received from the alumni regarding the association’s structure and other aspects will be incorporated in the finalisation of BACSAF. Furthermore, it is also notable to mention that BACSAF has been fully established and now run by alumni themselves. The association was envisioned to be a platform through which alumni can network, share expertise and support departing as well as returning Commonwealth scholars. The alumni have already had a successful community engagement programme with women affected by gender violence. A mentorship programme has also been launched this year where the British Council is supporting the alumni to engage at an individual level and provide guidance in academic and career development areas.