Speakers at a discussion in Dhaka on Saturday have stressed the need for widening the scope for youths to join politics and other constructive activities.
The speakers have also called on to establish platforms imbued with the non-violent philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi to make them true changing agents of the country.
They also focused on ensuring the rule of law, good governance, freedom of speech and peace in the country to check militancy, and ensure sustainable development and peace.
Gandhi Ashram Trust (GAT) arranged the programme titled ‘Role of Youths in Social Change’ at Brac Centre Inn in Dhaka, marking the International Day of Non-Violence and 147th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal was present at the programme as the chief guest held with GAT Chairman Debapriya Bhattacharya in the chair.
Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla, British High Commissioner Alison Blake, UNDP acting country director Nick Beresford, Dhaka University’s associate professor Robayet Ferdous, North South University teacher Musharrat Sharmee Hossain, and Teach for Bangladesh founder Maimuna Ahmed, among others, addressed the programme.
Minister Mustafa Kamal said it is the young people who are behind Bangladesh’s development success and the country has a large number of working population.
“Nearly 76 percent of our total population is working age people. It’s a great opportunity for us to transform our economy and move forward,” he said while speaking in the programme.
He said the government has a plan to turn the young generation into very skilled human resources by changing the existing education pattern.
Kamal said they are also working to bring every citizen of the country into the mainstream economy and highlighted that ‘no one will be left out’.
The minister added that their government is now giving importance to job creation for nearly 29 million people who now remain unemployed.
He described Gandhi as a great philosopher and said he left a legacy onto us and we’re prepared to carry it forward.
Indian HC Harsh Vardhan said, “No matter how fast and technologically advanced our lives have become since Mahatma Gandhi’s times, the essence of Gandhiji’s truth had not changed because human nature itself has not changed. In view of the increasing incidence of terrorism and violence and societal disorder on a global basis and the failure of contemporary societies in comprehensively addressing these challenges, it may be time for us to actively revisit the truth and non-violence teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. Their universalisation will pave the way for national as well as international peace and security,” he said.
The Indian High Commissioner said Gandhi firmly believed in creating from the youth a cadre of inspiring and competent role models and change agents with the courage of conviction, who in turn would catalyse the process of building a healthy nation.
Mentioning that Indian High Commission has arranged an exhibition of photographs on the ‘Life and Times of Mahatma Gandhi, including two rare photographs of Gandhiji’s visit to Noakhali in 1946, he said they have proposed to partner with other stakeholders to move this to a more accessible venue for easier public viewing, shortly.
British High Commissioner Alison Blake termed the younger generation as a powerful agent of social change and emphasised their skill development and employment so that they can accelerate the national development.
She also said her government is actively working with Bangladesh for capacity building of its younger generation.
Nick Beresford focused on ensuring the good governance, the rule of law, quality education and employment generation for keeping the young generation on the right track.
Debapriya said the number of young people is gradually growing in Bangladesh which is an opportunity for the country to properly utilise them.