The 2nd international conference of the South Asian Institute of Social Transformation (SAIST) was held on Saturday at Dhaka University (DU), focusing on education, health, and the environment for sustainable development.
SAIST Foundation Advisor Professor Habibul Haque Khondker, convener of the conference, said a conference is an opportunity to share ideas and sharing ideas is a great approach to accumulating knowledge, and bringing scholars from different arenas together.
"We should have respect for the truth. Currently, we observe the rise of populism, spreading fake and misguided information through different media, which has no relationship with the truth," he added.
Emphasising ethics of responsibility, he said it is mandatory to be a good reader to be a good researcher.
In his speech of the chief guest of the conference, Professor Zia Rahman appreciated the SAIST for contributing to the dissemination of knowledge in society regarding social sciences and health.
He also praised the "South Asian Journal of Social Sciences" published by the SAIST.
SAIST Foundation Chairman Md Abdul Awal, who attended as session chair at the programme, said, "Our university lags in research and that is one of the primary reasons that we are at the bottom of world university ranking."
The conference was divided into three different sessions: environment, climate change and sustainable development; access to education and sustainable development; health and sustainable development.
The first session began with a keynote presentation titled "Look Who's Asking – Reflections on Participatory and Transdisciplinary Research Approaches in Addressing Challenges around Climate Change and Sustainable Development" by Dr Samiya Selim, Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development.
The second session commenced with a keynote oration titled "Reimaging Secondary Education for the 21st Century Bangladesh" by Prof AQM Shafiul Azam, Director of Planning Wing and the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, Bangladesh.
And in the final session, the keynote oration titled "Bangladesh at 50: Advances in Population Health and Future Outlook" by Dr A Mushtaq Chowdhury, Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, USA.
Besides, many presenters from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Australia and the UK joined the sessions.
IDRC Canada, Kathmandu University, UChicago Bangladesh, Dhaka University Research Society and Structural Engineers Limited are working as main partners of this conference organised by SAIST.
The first international conference of SAIST was organised in December 2016 to envision a common future in South Asia regarding education, health, and the environment.
The SAIST, governed by the SAIST Foundation, is a non-profit research institute based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Recognised as a South Asia-based think tank, it creates a hub of knowledge for analysing problems and prospects for South Asian countries.