ক্রিয়েটিভ সোসাইটি। নামটার মাঝেই কেমন একটা সৃজনশীলতার আঁচ পাওয়া যায়। তরুণ প্রজন্মকে যোগাযোগ দক্ষতা, উপস্থাপনা দক্ষতা, নতুন নতুন আইডিয়া উদ্ভাবন ও উদ্বুদ্ধকরণ এবং মানসিক দক্ষতায় দক্ষ করার উদ্দেশ্য নিয়ে ২০১৪ সালের ০১ লা নভেম্বর “ক্রিয়েটিভ সোসাইটি”র প্রতিষ্ঠা হয়। বেগম রোকেয়া বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের পরিসংখ্যান বিভাগে পড়ুয়া তিন বন্ধু আবু সাঈদ আল সাগর, আল-আমিন ইসলাম ও কাজী সানজিদুল ইসলাম শুভর প্রচেষ্টাতেই গড়ে উঠেছিলো এই প্ল্যাটফর্মটি। read more
Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) history has a deep-rooted bond with Harvard University. It was there that BYLC’s founder, Ejaj Ahmad, while completing his Masters, conceptualized the idea of a program that teaches adaptive leadership while bringing together young people from different backgrounds. read more
বেশ ক’বছর আগের কথা। আমার এক আত্মীয়ের হার্টের অসুখ ধরা পড়লো। উনি সিগারেট খেতেন প্রচুর আর রিচফুড ছিলো উনার সবচেয়ে প্রিয়। সপ্তাহে তিনদিন গরুরমাংস না খেলে উনার চলতোই না। read more
Football, being the most popular sport in the world, is immensely celebrated in all aspects and likewise, the sport has seen some incredible leaders, who came along to significantly change the landscape of the game. These people brought something into the game that others had not seen, they foresaw opportunities and revolutionized the universe of 3.5 billion football fans. read more
‘Charismatic’, ‘brave’, ‘daring’, ‘motivating’, ‘confident’ – these are just a few of the numerous words we hear when the qualities of a leader are described. We hear about leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and we hear about what great ‘visionaries’ they were. Sometimes, however, ‘inspirational’ stories of these great ‘influential’ figures derail our understanding of the true meaning of leadership. The young generation of today is constantly being fed the idea that they have to be ‘big leaders’ in their fields, and in order to achieve that position, they must inherit the ‘big attributes’ portrayed by big leaders. Focus is then turned away from the work of the leaders, which is actually the most important aspect, and turned towards how to become charming, appealing, poised, and the list goes on. read more
In this busy, dusty city of Dhaka, one is consumed by so many occurrences in a day that they hardly get time to take a step back and contemplate what is happening around and how one is getting influenced by their environment.
We are living in both exciting and dispiriting times. On one hand, we are witnessing extraordinary advancements in technology that is connecting us in ways that was once unimaginable, while on the other, we are seeing an uprising of populism and a rejection of globalization. While Uber launches in Dhaka, their engineers in Silicon Valley are experimenting with driverless cars. We are also seeing, simultaneously, societies turning inwards, looking to close borders and build walls, manifested recently with Brexit and the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. There seems to be a crisis in leadership. Where have all the good leaders gone? read more
Ever since I was young, I always considered myself as a person who got along with everyone. I enjoyed keeping myself busy with different kinds of activities, meeting new people, and having new experiences. Little did I realize that the world around me was not as big as I perceived it to be. Going to an English medium school, my life revolved mostly around friends from school, and I hardly ever had the opportunity to meet anyone from other education mediums in Bangladesh. I thought that there would be little that I would be able to connect with them on, even if our paths crossed, as it was difficult to think of much that we may have in common.
For example, in this day and age, when you think about Madrassa students, many preconceived notions come to mind, such as extreme conservatism and lack of tolerance for diverse views. Similarly, perhaps, English medium students are also subjected to certain stereotypes such as being too vain, or trying too hard to emulate Western values and culture. In reality, however, the fact that young people from different backgrounds don’t have many avenues to interact in society leads to such broad generalizations in their views about each other.
We must ask ourselves, does this bode well for Bangladesh? In a country where 52% of the population is less than the age of 25, our future will in large part be shaped by the next generation of young Bangladeshis. What would that future look like if young people with diverse perspectives cannot reconcile their differences? In truth, I would have never been prompted to even consider this issue had I not learned about the BBLTJ program at the Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center. The BBLTJ, or the Building Bridges through Leadership Training Junior, is a month-long leadership training program that brings together students from diverse backgrounds. It features English, Bengali, and Madrassa medium students who come together in the classroom to explore their ownselves, and try to bridge their differences through team building, reflection, and service learning.
I applied to the program with a lot of trepidation, not knowing what to expect, but felt that the opportunity would at least push me out of my comfort zone. And I felt that without moving to the edge of your competencies, you cannot grow as an individual. The next few months that I spent at BYLC were truly memorable. I grew more than I could ever imagine in self-confidence and motivation, and felt that I could accomplish anything that I set my mind to. What inspired me in this journey were the friendships that I had forged with my fellow participants who came from all walks of life. Their leadership journeys and struggles to be the best versions of themselves inspired me to also live for a bigger purpose than just my own.
My preconceived notions about Bengali and Madrassa medium students were also shattered. I realized that we all really have the same aspirations in life – to do well for ourselves while making a positive impact in society through our work. Most importantly, however, I learned that when a group of diverse individuals come together as one, great things can happen.
One of my best experiences in the program was during the Leadership in Action phase. In this component of BBLT-J, we went out to underprivileged communities and tried to deliver a positive and sustainable intervention as a team. In this project, the diversity of our team led to approaching the problem at hand from a multitude of perspectives and added to the richness of our project. It helped reaffirm why diversity and building bridges is instrumental to creating positive change. Differences can often be translated into strength, if all the voices are given an equal chance to be heard.
I am sharing my thoughts with you today to also encourage you to step out of your comfort zones to meet other promising young men and women who share the same passion and drive for change in society, but do not necessarily hail from the same background as yourself. Based on my own experience, such interactions can often be transformative and seminal in your growth as a person.
The program that first provided me with that opportunity is taking applications for its latest batch of participants. The tenth BBLTJ program has launched and the deadline is set for February 28. I encourage everyone to visit the website www.bylc.org/bbltj and apply.
Monoshita Ayruani, a graduate of BBLTJ 1, is an undergraduate student at the University of Liberal Arts, and Copywriter and contents strategist at WebAble. She is also the Co-founder of the blog Mad Koffee.
It has been a year since I have been working at BYLC, and it has been a remarkable experience watching and learning how leadership can be taught. I have had the opportunity to meet young people from different backgrounds and observe interesting dynamics between people who normally would not have met each other. I have watched as common assumptions were challenged in class, stereotypes were broken during group activities, and fears were conquered during public speaking workshops. read more