On April 18-19, 2019, Department of English and Humanities of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) hosted the fifth instalment of “Inter-University Student Conference and Cultural Competition” at their permanent campus in Mohammadpur, Dhaka.
This year’s theme, “Romantic Miraculous Year”, celebrated the 200th year of “Spring Odes” by British poet John Keats, “Ode to the West Wind” by P.B. Shelley and the first canto of “Don Juan” by Lord Byron. Students from 15 universities took part in the event by conducting extensive research on the given theme to present their ideas before an independent panel of judges.
The conference was divided into two parts: academic session and cultural competition. The first day of the event welcomed 29 students to present their academic papers to a panel of judges and audience members. The contestants were judged by Dr. Chidananda Bhattacharya, Professor and Head of Department of English, Rabindra Bharati University; and Prof.Abdus Selim, Chairperson of Department of Language-Literature, Central Women’s University.
The winner of this section was Shamael Mortuza from ULAB for her paper titled “The Fault in Coleridge’s Stars: A Contrapuntal Reading,” while the runner-up was Mairuna Farhin from BRAC University for her paper “The Darkling: A Depiction of the Byronic Hero as an Anti-Villain.”
The second day of the event included the cultural competition, where students from five different universities presented their interpretations of Romanticism and Gothicism through poetry, acting, and other methods of theatrics. The jury for this part of the competition included Dr. Chidananda Bhattacharya; Dr. Kirsten Hackenbroch, Director, Goethe-Institut Bangladesh; and Ziaul Karim, Head of Brand and Communication, Eastern Bank Ltd.
Abdul Munim Khan Chowdhury, Shahneela Tazrin, Sheikh Tasmia Mirnmoi, Tasnim Hasan and Vincent Dip Gomez from ULAB took home the winning title for their performance titled “A Failed Student at Cambridge” based on the life of the Romantic poet S.T. Coleridge. Team from University of Asia Pacific (UAP) was announced the runner-up of the competition for their portrayal of “La Belle Dame sans Merci”— a drama narrative based on John Keats’ poem of the same name.
The closing ceremony included Prof. Jahirul Haque,VC, ULAB; Prof. Imran Rahman, Special Adviser to the ULAB Board of Trustees. The vote of thanks was given by Prof. Shamsad Mortuza, Pro-VC, and Head of Department of English and Humanities, ULAB.
When asked about the purpose of the event, Conference Coordinator Sohana Manzoor PhD said, “Through this competition we want to create a platform for young scholars. This year we focused on exploring literature but throughout the years we’ve tried to focus on language and have open discussions on various topics.”
The winner of the academic session received cash prize of BDT 10,000, while the runner-up received BDT 8,000. The cultural competition winner received a prize of BDT 15,000 and the runner-up team received BDT 10,000. All the winning participants and runner-ups were given crests, medals and certificates for their work.