Photo: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
Rakibul Hasan is a 25-year-old achiever. His all-time smiling face with a balbo beard gives him a look that befriends him with anyone and everyone instantly. A visionary, and a compassionate youth, Rakibul has broken barriers to be one of the most inspiring youth leaders in the world.
He had published numerous research papers and articles on fighting extremism, violence and terrorism in many international journals. For his efforts he was selected as one of the Queen's Young Leaders in 2015 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to join the prestigious leadership course titled “Leading Change” at University of Cambridge, UK. Rakibul was also the recipient of the 2nd Global Youth Award 2014 conferred by the Club 25 International, Manipur and Government of Manipur, India, for his activities to establish peace in the South Asian countries. Rakibul has also been nominated as the “Family Planning Young Leader” by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and now waiting for the result of the global votes and final declaration.
Rakibul's ideas and works have showcased a positive and a progressive Bangladesh. His works on battling extremism and violence with the weapon of peace, harmony and dialogue has won the minds of the global leaders who selected Rakibul to join the cohort of twenty inspiring global young leaders from all over the world.
'Women Deliver' one of the most renowned international non government organisations has awarded Rakibul with the prestigious three-year long fellowship programme on leadership in the USA for his initiative called Peace Empire. Among the 200 selected youth leaders from all around the world, Rakibul was selected as one of the 20 leaders who have the potential “to improve the lives of thousands of people all over the world”. As one of the top 20 leaders, Rakibul received a grant of US$ 5000 to boost and spread his globally recognised initiative, Peace Empire.
Through this initiative, Rakibul has been fighting extremism by establishing rights of women and girls -- a unique idea that can bring about a revolutionary solution to the global problem of terrorism.
“Seeds of violence and extremism develop deep in the families of our society where our children are raised under an authoritarian rule," says Rakibul. "In these families, children often see that beating up female members of the family is legitimate and forced marriage without any consent of female children is acceptable.”
“I believe these social malpractices and abuse of human rights which they experience so closely and from the very beginning of their lives make them extremists and radical in their mindset. This is why my initiative to fight extremism in the society is to raise community awareness to prevent any kind of violence against women and girls and completely eliminate child marriage." According to Rakibul, child marriage is the root cause of all kinds of social unrest and violence.
As part of the initiative, Rakibul has been working with a thousand students in Narayanganj from different educational backgrounds including faith-based madrassa institutions and impoverished Bengali medium schools. By involving community journalists, youth leaders and peer educators Rakibul has set the plan to launch a series of campaigns to end violence against women and to prevent child marriage in the country.
These campaigns will include a wide range of activities such as digital storytelling, advocacy workshops with students, community workers and government representatives, different kinds of student competitions and school based activities. As part of the campaigns, Rakibul is also developing a mobile phone application which will enable the citizens to report any incident of child marriage to the appropriate local authorities such as local government representatives and police stations.
A student of the Alia madrassa system, Rakibul studied in Rupganj, Narayanganj. He completed his higher secondary studies from Notre Dame College and then completed his graduation in 2014 from Dhaka University's Department of Peace and Conflict Studies.
Rakibul's inspiring footsteps of integrity and hard work towards social good is an example for Bangladeshi youths. We can certainly hope that young leaders like Rakibul will redefine leadership in Bangladesh and guide the nation to a better and progressive future.