The year 2021 is significant for both Bangladesh and the University of Dhaka as both the entities will turn 50 and 100 respectively. The fates of these two entities are intertwined in many respects. Even before the existence of independent Bangladesh, University of Dhaka started its journey in 1921 and has contributed to the knowledge and faculties of this land. The University of Dhaka also played a historic role in the freedom struggle for an independent Bangladesh. The students of this university laid down their lives to establish the right of mother language for the entire Bengali nation in 1952. It was again the students of this university who raised for the first time the flag of independent Bangladesh on 2 March 1971, nearly a month before the declaration of independent Bangladesh and the war of independence in 1971. The teachers, students, and staff of this university had been brutally killed, tortured and humiliated during the nine-month war of independence by the Pakistani army and its local collaborators in 1971. The sacrifice, however, has not gone in vain, and the University of Dhaka is proud of it.
The illustrious graduates of the University of Dhaka since its foundation have contributed to knowledge and skill both at home and abroad. The alumni have practically abolished the traditional North-South knowledge divide and created a bridge between the two with their significant contribution to both academic and non-academic excellence. The International Conference on Celebrating 100 years of the University of Dhaka is an opportunity for the University to bring back these graduates to their alma mater so that they could recall their memorable years and contribute to the development of the oldest university of Bangladesh.
The original plan of the International Conference was to invite the noted alumni to the campus to celebrate the occasion. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, forced us to reorganize the event and have the conference on the online platform. The conference is now divided into six thematic webinars, where the alumni, both national and international, will share their ideas, goals and dreams for the development and prosperity of Dhaka University and Bangladesh. More than 100 papers will be presented at the International Conference. A volume on each of the six themes will be published at the end of the conference.
Finally, University of Dhaka takes pride in having its esteemed alumnus, H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Honourable Prime Minister of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, as Chief Guest to inaugurate the International Conference. Let us celebrate this historic moment and mark the centenary celebration of our beloved alma mater.
Professor of International Relations
University of Dhaka