Dr. M. Asaduzzaman, Research
Director and acting Director. He is interested in rural development,
micro-finance, global agricultural trade issues, environment, rural
energy, and networking issues. Dr. Rita Afsar, interested
in urbanisation and migration. She has written a research proposal along
with Alia Ahmad at Lund University on social capital. She also
gave us a research proposal, which we will have a look at comment upon.
Dr. Atiur Rahman, senior
research fellow, head of the Human Resource Division, interested in
environment, informal economies, and participatory development. He presented
a paper on ethnic nationalism at the NASA meeting at Møn, Denmark
in 1992, where Staffan met him. He also came to Lund at that time and
gave a lecture on the Grameen Bank. He is the Chairman of the NGO Unnayan
Shamunnay, a non-profit Institute for research, development and cultural
Dr. Salma Chaudhuri Zohir,
research fellow, got her PhD from Manchester and was guided by Diana
Elson on a four year scholarship from Sida SAREC. She works on gender,
industry, garment workers, etc, and also has some collaboration with
Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman,
Senior Research Fellow, presently on leave to work with the NGO Power
and Participation Research Centre. Staffan met him in Manchester
somewhere in the early 1980s along with Lisbeth Arn, and he also
visited Lund in that connection. He has written his thesis on material
from Noakhali, and is currently a resource person for the Danish evaluation
of the Noakhali project (Sten Folke and Kirsten Westergaard).
He was in Copenhagen in December.
1. Prof. Asaduzzaman presented the two webpages that is currently
maintained, the one presenting the institute,
and the other the Gateway presenting the Sustainable Development Networking
Programme (see separate report below).
2. Dr. Afsar asked about the scope for collaboration with Swedish
researchers and funding possibilities. Staffan answered that there are
some possibilities for funding Asian scholars in a research programme,
like the Swedish Research Links Programme
3. Dr. Afsar also asked about the possibility of getting travel grants,
and our answer was that SASNET can only give travel grants in connection
with Planning and Networking grants.
4. Dr. Afsar asked for help in getting competent referees, especially
in non-economic disciplines. Staffan answered that we will try to help.
5. A question was raiswed about possibilities for higher studies in Sweden,
and taking courses in special subjects, PhD courses, etc. Staffan informed
about the Sandwich system developed in some institutions in Sweden, financed
6. Dr. Zillur Rahman suggested that one possible collaboration
could be in managing the upper end of the research process in terms of
copyrights and publication of results (management of knowledge). He mentioned
the Comparative Research Programme
on Poverty (CROP), based at Bergen, Norway, as an example. The question
is how to market ideas from research in the South and how to establish
Meeting with the gateway personnel at Bangladesh Institute
of Development Studies, BIDS, Thursday 21 March
After our meeting with the professors at BIDS we went to see the production
of web pages for the BIDS web site.
Here is also produced an excellent web site in collaboration with, and
most probably also financed by UNDP, United Nations Development Programme.
This web site presents the Sustainable Development Networking Programme
Bangladesh (SDNBD), and is found at http://www.sdnbd.org.
It is a tremendously rich site providing material on many different aspects
of Bangladeshi society and all development problems that the country faces.
Four people are now employed at the department; one webmaster, two researchers;
and one technician, and the equipment is quite modern. The communication
is fast, because it is based on satellite links, not on telephone lines.
A lot of effort to collect relevant material, which then is edited by
the staff here. Mr Rahman mentioned that a copy of the printed catalogue
of the medical corps in Bangladesh which is not available on the
Internet had just been bought and was now scanned, after which
the information will be presented on the web site.
Among the most interesting features on the SDNBD gateway is the Library
Search, which is a useful catalogue of books available at a number of
Bangladeshi research libraries, including the SNDBP Virtual library.
In this connection we told them about the discussions about putting working
papers from the entire world available on the web, in which SASNET has
been involved along with NIAS in Copenhagen, and other Scandinavian institutions.
Another interesting feature is the extensive local news service which
SDNBD is able to provide through an agrement with the Bangladesh Press
Club. This institution provides SDNBD with fresh news every morning, compiled
from 22 different Bangladeshi newspapers and other news sources.
Mr Rahman who is the driving force behind the work was pleased to see
the SASNET gateway, which we demonstrated for him. He offered us all possible
help in further co-operation in developing our web site.
Similar web sites giving information on developmental and environmental
aspects of South Asian countries are available on the Internet. Concerning
the entire SAARC region it is is found at www.rainbowsaarc.org,
for Pakistan at www.propoor.org, and concerning
India it is supposed to be found at a site named Oneworld.
Meeting with Prof. Dr. Raquib Ahmed, Geography
and Environmental Studies, Rajshahi University
Dr. Raquib Ahmed had previously
written to SASNET and was very keen on seeing us while we were in Bangladesh.
Therefore he came down from Rajshahi (six hours away by bus). Rajshahi,
the fourth largest city in the country with a population of 500 000 people,
has the second largest university in Bangladesh.
Dr. Ahmed is interested in land use and environmental issues, uses the
GIS system, and has developed data base management systems. He is also
interested in early warning systems, and has done some work in Vietnam
on that. Other areas of interest: Environment and land use change; Forest
degradation at Sundarbans; and the effects of shrimp farming
Dr Ahmed studied for his PhD in Mysore, India, and has connection with
the Remote Sensing Institute
in Dehra Dun. He has contacts with Anders Närman and Peter
Pilesjö, and visited Göteborg in December 1999. He also
visited Kelaniya University in July last year and met with Prof
Kamal Karunanayake and others.
He now wants a sandwich programme to strengthen his M Phil and PhD programme,
courses, library, etc.
Meeting with Prof. Ishrat Shamim, Chairperson,
Dept. of Sociology, Dhaka University
Prof. Ishrat Shamim, visited us and
gave some pamphlets and reports on her work with an NGO, Centre for
Women and Children Studies. She has worked on children´s problems
for a long time, and also on womens participation in local governance
since 1996, that is, concerning the local bodies like Uppazilla panchayats,
in which one third of the members are supposed to be women. Those of them
who are members of the NGOs do well, while others have no voice at all,
being patronised by the men.
She mentioned three networks:
EU and Least developed countries, with one focal point in Dhaka.
World Bank and Developing Countries Network (DNG) funding networks
South Asia Network with a centre in New Delhi, which funds research
activities. She had participated along with Indian researchers in one
She promised to send information about these links.
Meeting with Prof. Gyasuddin Molla, Political Science,
Prof. Gyasuddin Molla invited
us for lunch. He and his his wife, who is also a political scientist working
in a government college, live in an apartment in the Dhaka University
Prof. Molla did his PhD in Bombay and has after that visited many countries,
such as Germany, US, Japan, Sweden etc. Currently he is engaged in a comparative
study of South and Southeast Asia and may go to Japan this summer to finish
a book. His thesis related to the food aid given to Bangladesh, and it
showed how the US food aid during the 1970s was deliberately used as an
instrument to promote a government of their liking, that was, not the
party of the liberation war. He has also written one study on Panchayati
Raj and decentralisation. He said that the previous government instituted
local village governments called Gram Sarkar, but the current government
has abolished these institutions.
Prof Molla is also very interested in studying ethnic insurgency in South
Asia and we suggested him to contact Björn Hettne at Göteborg