A Bangabandhu Chair on Sustainable Energy at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) was formally inaugurated on 15 March 2018 following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Bangladesh.
Dr. Subin Pinkayan, Chairperson of AIT Board of Trustees, described the occasion as a testimony to the bond between Bangladesh and AIT. ”At a time when Asian countries are transitioning and the demand for energy is soaring, we need to implement measures that take in account both sustainable development and environmental preservation,” Dr. Subin remarked.
H.E. Nasrul Hamid, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources of Bangladesh, stated that he was “humbled that the endowment (of the Bangabandhu Chair) is dedicated to advanced doctoral level research on “Sustainable Smart Energy Modelling for Bangladesh.” I am honored to be a part of the joint inauguration of the “Bangabandhu Chair” by the Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh and Thailand and this is an “excellent manifestation of an ever-growing Bangladesh-Thailand friendship,” he said, The Minister added that the Bangladesh government is actively pursuing the target of a 15 per cent renewable energy mix.
H.E. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh described the Chair, which is named after the Father of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, as a “symbol of the dreams and aspirations of Bangabandhu for a technology-drive ‘Golden Bengal.’” He described the inauguration of the Chair as a “historic moment in Bangladesh’s special relations with Thailand.” “I am particularly happy that under this Chair, Asia’s leading hi-tech institute AIT established under the sagacious leadership of Thailand’s legendary late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, has come forward to work with Bangladesh in the field of sustainable energy,” the Minister added.
Ambassador of Bangladesh to Thailand, H.E. Saida Muna Tasneem introduced the welcome message delivered by Executive Director of UN Environment, Erik Solheim. She mentioned three exceptional facts about the Bangabandhu Chair at AIT. “This is the first doctoral endowment Chair by any country at AIT, and the first PhD level Chair named after the Father of the Nation of Bangladesh,” she said. Thirdly, it researches sustainable energy modeling for Bangladesh under a Chair Professor who was a member of the IPCC-2007 Nobel Peace Prize winning panel, she added.
Delivering the Bangabandhu lecture, Prof. Joyashree Roy spoke about the importance of research and linking it to policy making, “because research in ivory towers does not help humanity.” She stressed that climate change is a global issue that requires international cooperation. It is important to understand that each sector be it land use, electricity, transportation, buildings and industry add to overall emissions. “We have now crossed the luxury of focussing on one sector,” she added. A substantial reduction in emissions would require large changes in investment patterns, Prof. Roy said.
Presenting an energy efficiency case study from India, she outlined the scenario of transformation of industrial process in the country. The driving forces behind this transformation includes factors like cost competencies, influence of policy, price consideration, exportability, Prof. Roy added. Stating that the population growth rate in Bangladesh is lower than India, Prof. Roy said this has implications for climate change.
Delivering the vote of thanks, AIT President Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai expressed his appreciation to the Government of Bangladesh for endowing the Chair at AIT. Pointing out that this is the first Chair Professor established by a partner government at AIT, he termed it as a testimony of the strong bond between AIT and the Government of Bangladesh.
While Prof. Joyashree Roy of Jadavpur University (India) has been selected as Chair Professor; Mr. Mahmud Hasan, Assistant Manager in Sylhet Gas Fields in Bangladesh, has been selected as the doctoral student who will work under the Bangabandhu Chair Professor.
The lecture was followed by the signing of citation of Bangabandhu Chair Professor by the Guest of Honor, Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, and the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Mr. Md. Mahbub-uz-Zaman, Secretary, (Asian and Pacific), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Bangladesh, and AIT President Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai. A sapling of Bangladesh Dinajpur Litchi was also planted by the visiting Foreign Minister at AIT.
In a related event organized in the evening at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Foreign Ministers of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, and Bangladesh H.E. Mr. Abul Mahmood Ali jointly inaugurated the Bangabandhu Chair and unveiled a commemorative plaque at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.