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Hossain Zillur Rahman

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DUEDAA: Charting the Next Phase

Dhaka University Economics Department Alumni Association (DUEDAA) has already forged an enviable record of achievements in its nearly two decades of existence. The tireless efforts of previous Executive Committees as well as that of many individual alumni have served to establish DUEDAA as a role model for alumni associations in Bangladesh. Objectives were formulated with clarity and pursued systematically. As a result, the Association already has three landmark contributions to its credit - establishment of a fully-equipped and self-sustaining computer lab for the students and teachers of the Economics Department, major upgradation of the seminar room of the department, and, operation of a scholarship fund for deserving but needy students of the department. In addition, DUEDAA has published an alumni directory and facilitated annual alumni get-togethers. The new Executive Committee which was elected on 3rd April, 2009 thus begins its responsibilities on solid foundations.

In charting the next phase of the Association's activities, we will have a triple focus: on the alumni, on the department, and, on the subject of economics. Firstly, on the alumni. The Association has so far been able to register 650 members. We would like to increase this number to 1000 at least. A membership drive has been launched. This will be pursued both through individual links and through the internet. We welcome the pro-active role of all committee members and all alumni in this regard. We would like in particular to register alumni who maybe outside Dhaka and also those who are abroad. An updated directory under the supervision of the General Secretary Professor Farid Uddin will be published at the earliest. A special fund to address needs of sick alumni members who may require assistance is also under consideration. The tradition of annual alumni get-togethers will of course continue.

The scholarship program for needy students of the department is being further expanded. A list of those who have contributed to the scholarship fund and those receiving the scholarship will be published.

The launching of the web-site marks a major upscaling of Association activities. New eligible members can register online. I hope alumni members will regularly visit the site and share their news and achievements. Based on the inputs received through the website, a newsletter will be published.

DUEDAA also aims to undertake some new initiatives to promote the subject of economics. To popularize the study of economics amongst the youth, a national essay competition on Visions of Bangladesh's Economic Future will be launched. Discussion with media partners to facilitate such a launch is already under way. A second initiative being considered is an Annual Distinguished Lecture series through which teachers and students of the department can be exposed to the frontiers of economic thinking. We hope to initiate the first lecture in early 2010.

There are many alumni members who are involved in economics teaching at the college level around the country. Improving the quality of economics teaching at this level has emerged as a higher education priority. The Association aims to contribute to this need. A special project will be formulated in consultation with interested alumni to identify and implement viable activities in this regard. DUEDAA plans to support the establishment of a Centre for Promoting Excellence in Economics to take forward the above initiatives.