An international seminar on the development history of Bangladesh, as well as the world, was held on the 5th floor of Bishwo Shahitto Kendro in Dhaka on Friday (20 May).
The seminar titled "Development History and Bangladesh: Why History Matters for Development Practice?" was aimed at creating a network for global professionals, young researchers, historians, and learners to share their knowledge on the topic, reads a press release.
The event was organised jointly by US-based education and research organisation Global Center for Innovation and Learning (GCFIL), and Open Access Bangladesh, an organization working to make research facilities available to everyone.
Farida Yasmin, executive director of the Disabled Rehabilitation and Research Association (DRRA), moderated the event.
The keynote speaker Dr Michael Gubser, professor of History at James Madison University in Virginia, USA, argued about the significance of history in the development of a country.
He mentioned "a history" and discussed in detail about factors affecting the rise of "a historicism" from the post-world war era, its effects, and its implications.
He noted that development is "history in action", so it should not be limited to technical expertise only.
"History needs to be revisited and taken as cautionary tales."
The panel speakers included Professor Emeritus of BRAC University Dr Manzoor Ahmed, Head of the Division of Interventional Hepatology at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Professor Dr Mamun Al Mahtab, and Jamuna Television Special Correspondent Md Mahfuzur Rahman Mishu.
Dr Manzoor Ahmed agreed with Michael that the exclusion of historical context is a part of the problem.
He suggested the need to look at the larger context and go further and deeper to reach the Bangladesh we envisioned, and develop an understanding among ourselves regarding how we can progress from the current situation.
Professor Dr Mamun Al Mahtab briefly mentioned his experience during the pandemic.
He said, "We have forgotten our history and heritage, which needs to be amended to prevent the distortion of history and development."
Md Mahfuzur Rahman Mishu, being a journalist, raised questions like whether there's any existence of a correlation between history and development.
According to him, Bangladeshi people can easily adapt to new initiatives, which is why we have come a long way from a "bottomless basket".
He suggested that it would be more helpful in development if people rely on our history and capability.
The seminar was followed up by taking questions from the audience in a delightful session.