Grooming Purpose-Led Leaders for A Better Tomorrow



News Desk, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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In conversation with Saad Jashim, Head of Human Resources, BAT Bangladesh

Saad Jashim, Head of Human Resources at BAT Bangladesh speaks on managing one of the biggest workforces in Bangladesh and how they are adapting to the 21st century demand of future-fit young leaders to create the best talent pipeline of the country.

BAT Bangladesh has been acclaimed for its diverse & inclusive work culture. Given that diversity is currently one of the most talked-about topics, could you share with us how BAT Bangladesh created such an exemplary working environment?

It’s great to hear that Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is such a widely discussed topic at the moment. For us at BAT Bangladesh, D&I is more than just a current buzz word, it has been at the core of what we do, for over a decade now. Our culture of nurturing our employees in an environment where we respect and celebrate each other’s differences lies in the belief that our diverse talent are our biggest asset and our best brand. And a testament to our consistent effort in this arena is accreditations like the Top Employer Award or the Global Equality Standard (GES) Certification we proudly received in 2021.  Diversity to us isn’t limited to just gender diversity, but also includes diversity of thought. From grooming female STEM talent via Supernova, mentoring platforms like Inspirit and bringing in cross-industry professional recruits, we leave no stone unturned to ensure that our workforce is composed of diverse pool of perspectives and connected to diversity is inclusion. Our policies and opportunities are consciously designed to be inclusive and fair. In fact, we are proud to say that even international learning exposure is not just limited to BAT managers, but high-performing factory employees also get the opportunity to travel different countries to take part in trainings. We firmly believe that workplace culture is a product of the whole organization meaning that the onus lies with everyone to act in an inclusive manner. Year on year, keeping our core consistent, we ensure that this inclusive ecosystem evolves to help our employees feel empowered & inspired to keep growing. 

One of the most lucrative programs for young grads of Bangladesh is BAT’s Global Graduate program, can you elaborate how it has been designed to promote fat-paced growth?

At BAT Bangladesh, we are evolving at a pace that’s unlike any other organization. The Global Graduate (GG) Program is our flagship 18-months management trainee role for high potential fresh graduates and young professionals to get a fast-tracked career. The aim of the program is to raise future leaders of BAT by grooming them in a stretched & exciting environment from day one. The program is carefully designed, with functional & cross-functional roles, to prepare and instill our purpose-led Ethos in our young leaders from day 1. GGs also get the opportunity to take part in BAT Grad Academy to build a network with other GGs from different parts of the BAT world. The concept is to develop a well-rounded & inclusive business leader who is prepared to take on strategic deliverables on broad streams of our business.

Beyond fast-paced growth, how do you think BAT’s Global Graduate program is designed to groom young leaders to be future-fit and socially conscious?

The core purpose of this interesting program is to shape leaders of tomorrow to become competent & inclusive business leaders. At the core of our dynamic business ecosystem is our farmer community in Kushtia and via our recent collaboration with Prerona Foundation, we rolled out three community development projects there. To foster a sense of inclusion, we are sending our GGs for a 15-days immersive Fellowship experience with these farmer communities.

This initiative named, Be the Change Fellowship Program is a way for our GGs to take a step closer to their North Star. Our GGs participate in the community development projects by living with and like the families of our farmer beneficiary community to gain first-hand experience of a reality that is different from their own. By exposing them to the grassroots of our business, we hope to help them grow as empathetic leaders.

This Fellowship seems like an interesting new initiative, could you elaborate what the GGs are doing daily during this 15-days immersive program?

I believe that the youth now are more conscious and look for purpose in everything they do. They are the shapers of tomorrow and being purpose-led is what sets this generation apart. The Be  the Change Fellowship was created to anchor our GGs and help them find their North Star, perhaps delving into the daily acts will help to clarify.

On a day-to-day basis, the two -weeks immersive experience allows them to work with marginalized communities under the three community development projects - Education, Empowerment and Youth Leadership. Under each project, there are courses taught to beneficiaries and their families by experts of the field. For example, under the education pillar there is the Adult Literacy center where aged farmers, who never got the opportunity to avail formal education, learn basics like writing and mathematics. Living with these farmers, learning their stories, and even teaching them helps groom these young leaders into future-fit leaders of tomorrow.

As we know, Bangladesh is progressing towards its Vision 2041 and BAT Bangladesh plans to run major initiatives on youth employment and inclusion. What is your view on the need to invest on future-fit youth leaders?

As a fast-developing economy, Bangladesh needs to increase the pace at which we develop talent. The country needs high-quality talent to meet its increasing demand in a very competitive global economy and this is a challenge that needs strategic partnership across government, academia, and employers to ensure that together we develop the human capital of the country. BAT Bangladesh, as a proud development partner to the Government of Bangladesh, has already launched several key projects to address the needs of Bangladeshi youth. As an organization, we take pride in spearheading such initiatives and we will accelerate our efforts in the coming years to create next generation leaders.

Fair group stands for developing technical skills of Bhutanese youth



News Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
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Photo: Collected

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Fair Group has stood beside the youth of Bhutan for developing the technical skills.

In response to a request from the Bhutan Embassy in Dhaka on behalf of the Bhutan government, Fair Group organised a monthlong special internship program for them in smartphone, consumer electronics products and automobile maintenance and servicing.

Sunday (June 26) at an informal ceremony held at the Banani Autograph Office of the Fair Group, the internship certificates were handed over to eight young people from Bhutan by Ambassador Rinchen Kuentsyl and the Chairman of Fair Group , Ruhul Alam AL Mahbub. Do Young-A, Country Director of Korea Overseas Co-operation Agency in Bangladesh, KOICA, Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Rezaul Karim Lotus, President of Bangladesh DCAB, AKM Mainuddin, General Secretary, and General Hamid R. Chowdhury RCDS, PSC (Ret.) Hasnain Khurshid, Head of Communication and Corporate Philanthropy, Khandaker Hafiz Al Asad, Director, Fair Services Limited and Bijay Mukherjee, Head of Services, Fair Technology were present on the occasion.

Bhutan was the first country to recognise Bangladesh as an independent country. During the war of liberation, on 6 December 1971, Bhutan officially recognised Bangladesh.

Referring to the deep ties between the two countries, Ambassador of Bhutan Rinchen Kuentsyl said that Bangladesh's role in the socio-economic development of Bhutan is immense.

Expressing deep gratitude to the Fair Group on behalf of the Government and people of Bhutan, he said that Fair Group has provided hands-on education to the youth of Bhutan through internship programs.

He expressed confidence that they would return to Bhutan to be partners in socio-economic development.

Ruhul Alam Al Mahbub, Chairman, Fair Group, assured to continue the cooperation in the development of human resources in Bhutan.

He said Bangladesh-Bhutan friendship is eternal. He also said that skilled trainers will be sent from Fair Group if necessary to enhance the skills of the trainers in Bhutan. Fair Group's partner Fair Solutions, Mirpur Samsung Center, trained six young people of Bhutan on smartphones and consumer electronics products, and at Fair Technology Hyundai 3S Center in Tejgaon, two young people in Bhutan were trained in automobiles.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's pledge - 'Made in Bangladesh' Fair Group is continuously working to implement. They are producing South Korean famous Samsung smartphones and consumer electronics products at the Fair Electronics Factory in Shibpur, Narsingdi and marketing them all over Bangladesh.

The work of setting up a fair technology factory at Bangabandhu Hi-Tech Park in Kaliakair, Gazipur is now nearing completion, where they will soon be assembling South Korea's famous Hyundai SUVs and sedans.

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Padma Bridge, the Wonder of Bangladesh



News Desk, Barta24.com
Padma Bridge, the Wonder of Bangladesh

Padma Bridge, the Wonder of Bangladesh

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The wait period is over. The dream came true. Today (June 25), the door of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, which stands on the two banks of the river Padma, is opening.

This dream bridge of about 60 million people in 21 districts of the south-west is a proud history of the whole country. The wonder of the whole world. The bridge connecting Mawa in Munshiganj to Banglabazar in Shariatpur is a harbinger of a new day in the country's economy, investment, trade and overall development.

The celebration of Padma victory will touch the whole country today. Various programs have been taken all over the country on the occasion of inauguration of Padma Bridge. The people of the south are happy with the new day.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will open the much-anticipated 6.15-kilometer Padma Bridge for vehicular movement on Saturday which will bring massive progress in road connectivity of 21 south and southwestern districts with the capital of Dhaka and other major cities.

Marking the grand opening of the bridge, a festive mood is prevailing in the country, particularly in the southern and southwestern region which will be directly facilitated through the major road connectivity.

The premier will join the Padma Bridge inaugural ceremony at Mawa point in Munshiganj at 10 am.

As per the premier’s programme schedule, she will also unveil commemorative postage stamps, souvenir sheets, opening day cover and seals at 11am at Mawa point to mark the grand opening of the country’s biggest self-financed mega project which is likely to boost GDP by 1.2 to 2 percent.

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Bangladesh Floods: Six Million People Marooned



News Desk, Barta24.com
Bangladesh Floods: Six Million People Marooned

Bangladesh Floods: Six Million People Marooned

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Incessant rains and gushing waters have marooned at least six million people in Bangladesh, prompting authorities to call in the Army to assist in the rescue and relief operations.

Officials estimate that six million people were marooned at their nearly inundated homes or were forced to take makeshift refuge elsewhere as water level in rivers in northeastern and northern regions continued to rise.

“Water now continued to surpass much above the danger lines in two of the country’s four major river basin. The situation appears to be nearly as bad as that of the 2004 flooding, a Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) spokesman said. The FFWC attributed the flooding to excessive rainfalls simultaneously in upstream Meghlaya and Bangladesh.

Many people were forced to initially take refuge on their rooftops amid gushing rising waters until rescue boats came in Sunamganj, said local officials. Meanwhile, due to huge rainfall, many districts of norther Bangladeh are facing threat of fresh flood.

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CHT, Bay of Bengal and Security Perspective



Dr. Mahfuz Parvez
CHT, Bay of Bengal and Security Perspective

CHT, Bay of Bengal and Security Perspective

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The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is a group of districts within the Chittagong Division in southeastern Bangladesh, bordering India and Myanmar (Burma) and covering 13,295 square kilometers. Historically settled by tribal groups, now the CHT is also inhabited by huge Bengali settlers.

The CHT region witnessed bloodshed beginning in the early 1970s, when ethnic groups protested the government’s policy of recognizing only the Bengali culture and language and designating all Bangladeshi citizens as Bengalis.

The CHT Peace Accord, signed in 1997 with the promise to end ethnic insurgency and grant a host of benefits to the people, was hailed by all.

With two decades passed since the signing of the CHT Accord, its lack of implementation has reached alarming levels. Ethnic groups and Bengali community are also demanding different types of political, citizenship and land rights.

As per ground realities, there could be fresh tension, political confrontation and security problem in the CHT if the emerging issues are not addressed.

The fact that the CHT people are overwhelmingly in favor of peace as a necessary precondition to all round development of the region is good augury. But the biggest challenge is to continue the peace that has emerged from the conflict with the wisdom, determination and political skill of the leadership.

However, the proximity of the Chittagong Hill Tracts to the Bay of Bengal (BoB) poses a security risk. In a research report, Angshuman Choudhury, Siddharth Anil Nair, Ashutosh Nagda & Garima Maheshwari mentioned the BoB region is one of the most climate-vulnerable in the world. Its strategic, political, social and economic faultlines are also extensive. Together they create fertile ground for volatile security dynamics, social friction and violent conflict. It is a textbook example of the complex relationship between climate change and security, and how an aggregate of both could create emerging challenges for policy-planners (CLIMATE SECURITY IN THE BAY OF BENGAL, 18 Jan, 2022, 212, IPCS Special Report).

Growing strategic significance of the Bay of Bengal within the emerging and increasingly contested geography of the Indo-Pacific, is sharply visible in various ways. BoB's strategic location at the heart of the Indo-Pacific, and ponders the unfolding challenges to regionalism in the Bay of Bengal. It is important for Bangladesh to intensify its efforts to construct a more secure and cooperative Bay of Bengal littoral (C. Raja Mohan, "The Bay of Bengal in the Emerging Indo-Pacific").

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, Political Science, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh; Associate Editor, www.barta24.com



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