Against all odds, Bangladesh rose from the ashes of war and became the 41st largest economy in the world in 2019. The journey from Kissinger's "Bottomless Basket" to a global player has been interesting. However, a nation's health depends on much more than the size of its economy and while Bangladesh has seen undeniable growth in the last 49 years, we still have a long way to go. As Bangladesh approaches the golden jubilee of its independence, it's time for us to take stock of where we stand as a nation, identify our faultlines, and pave the 'Road to Reforms'.
With a focus on preparing a youth-led reform matrix for a paradigm shift in Bangladesh, Youth Policy Forum (YPF) has announced its "Road to Reforms" series.
The series will critically analyse the progress, challenges, and possible reforms for different sectors including healthcare, education, social protection, etc. In that regard, YPF has formed sector-based 'reform panels' consisting of youth and experts.
Diplomatic prowess is critical, especially in a world fraught with uncertainty due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. In a previous discussion with YPF, Professor Nurul Islam, Deputy Chairman of the First Planning Commission of Bangladesh, shared his wisdom saying, "When a small country is facing a big power, it has to be three times smarter than the bigger power."
Accordingly, YPF has chosen "Foreign Policy" as the first sector to be explored. The inaugural episode of the series will be aired on YPF's Facebook page on 18 July 2020 at 6:30 PM in partnership with BEI. Panelists Mr. Shahriar Alam, MP, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Humayun Kabir, and Dr. Akhtar Mahmood will speak on "Bangladesh's Foreign Policy Priorities in the Wake of the COVID Pandemic" following a presentation by YPF. The session will be moderated by Mr. Farooq Sobhan.
Inclusivity, community, and collaborative learning are at the heart of YPF. To ensure that the people are adequately represented, YPF will host a "Youth Consultation: Foreign Policy" session on 15 July 2020 at 8:30 PM. In this session, YPF will hear from the people about the reforms they wish to see in foreign policy. Shahed Aziz, First Secretary at the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi, and Rezwanul Haque Masud, Researcher and Foreign Policy Specialist, will join as panelists.
Episodes of the "Road to Reforms" series will be aired periodically leading up to Bangladesh's 50th anniversary of independence.