The Department of Economics at North South University (NSU) organized a two-day long conference during 12-13 March, 2017 on the occasion of 25th anniversary of the university as well as of the department. The theme of the conference was “Bangladesh toward Upper Middle Income Country Status: Challenges and Opportunities”. More than forty (40) papers were received from top researchers and economists in Bangladesh and abroad on multifaceted issues ranging from trade, development, growth, labor, to experimental economics. These insightful studies and ideas were presented in ten (10) technical sessions where students, faculty members and researchers from leading private and public universities and institutions in Bangladesh participated. International participants were from the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Asian Institute of Poverty Alleviation, and Kathmandu University. The conference was sponsored by IPDC Finance and supported by the Young Economists’ Forum (YEF), the student club representing the Department of Economics, NSU.
The opening ceremony on March 12, 2017 was graced by many distinguished dignitaries. Dr Mashiur Rahman, Economics Affairs Advisor to the honorable Prime Minister, GoB, inaugurated the conference as the chief guest, while Dr Zahid Hussain, Lead Economist of The World Bank, delivered speech as a special guest. Mrs Rehana Rahman, member of Board of Trustees of NSU, graced the event as a guest of honor. The Vice-Chancellor Prof. Atiqul Islam chaired the opening session, while Prof. G. U. Ahsan, the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Designate) and Prof. Mahboob Rahman, Dean, School of Business and Economics, were present as special guests. Prof. Ismail Hossain, Chair, Department of Economics, welcomed all the guests and participants on behalf of NSU.
The technical sessions on the first day were followed by a panel discussion by eminent economists and policy makers on the topic “Human Resource Requirements for Bangladesh’s Upper Middle Income Country Status: Challenges for the Education Sector”. Prof. Shamsul Alam, Member (Senior Secretary), Planning Commission, General Economic Division, GoB, moderated the panel discussion. Members of the panel included Prof. Nazrul Islam, former Chairman of University Grants Commission, GoB, Dr. Mustafa K. Mujeri, Executive Director of Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), Dr. Ahsan Mansur, Executive Director of Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh, Dr. K.A.S. Murshid, Director General of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, and Dr. Faisal Ahmed, Senior Advisor to the Governor of Bangladesh Bank and former Country Representative in Cambodia, IMF.
The highlight of the closing ceremony was the conference speech by distinguished development economist Prof. Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Economics at Yale University. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT, as co-chair of its Urban Services Initiative and of its Environment & Energy Sector work. He leads the Bangladesh Research Program for the International Growth Centre (IGC) at LSE. He presented findings from his nearly decade-long research on seasonal poverty and seasonal migration in north-western districts of Bangladesh. The closing ceremony was chaired by Prof. Gour Gobinda Goswami, Treasurer of North South University, while Mr Mominul Islam, Managing Director and CEO of IPDC Finance, was present as a special guest. The two-day long conference ended with a vote of thanks from the Conference Convener, Dr. Ahsanuzzaman, followed by a sumptuous dinner.