Eleven Bangladeshi universities including eight private ones have made it to the list of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asia University Ranking 2021.
"This year's ranking of the top Asian universities featured 650 institutions and it had been constructed using 11 indicators, including academic and employer reputation," QS Quacquarelli Symond said.
University of Dhaka claimed the 134th spot in Asia, followed by Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (199) and North South University (228).
Brac University (271-280) and Independent University (351-400) came next in the list.
And Daffodil International University, East West University, and United International University ranked between 401-450.
Khulna Science and Technology University ranked between 451-500, while Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology, and American International University of Bangladesh fell within the range of 551-600.
National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, and the University of Hong Kong became the top three academic institutions in Asia.
"Mainland China leads the way with over 120 universities included this year, with India, Japan, and South Korea the next most-represented study destinations," QS Quacquarelli Symond said.
Participants in a webinar on Saturday said ensuring efficient budget allocation, sufficient acquisition of vaccines and equitable distribution will prove challenging for Bangladesh.
They aired these apprehensions at a virtual meeting titled, “ESC Dialogue Episode 5 - Vaccine Diplomacy: Prospects and Challenges for Bangladesh,” chaired by Dr Rumana Huque, Professor of Economics at University of Dhaka.
Dr Rumana talked about the global struggle to contain the highly pervasive virus including how the authorities in Bangladesh only began to take preventive measures after the first Bangladeshi COVID-19 patient was identified.
“Due to rapid trials and accelerated vaccine development, the discussion has now shifted towards the distribution of vaccines and the challenges countries like Bangladesh will face to implement it successfully,’ she added
Dr Rumana said ensuring efficient budget allocation, sufficient acquisition of vaccines and equitable distribution will prove challenging for Bangladesh, she also informed the audience that Bangladesh had already taken measures to secure 6 crore doses of vaccine from Gavi -the Vaccine Alliance, and 3 crore from India.
Dr Senjuti Saha, a scientist with the Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF) where she helped sequence the first genome from Bangladesh of the novel coronavirus, said although mankind was facing a new virus and was forced to come up with new vaccines, the equitable distribution of vaccines was an old issue that was obstructed by the lack of health data especially in developing countries like Bangladesh.
She explained that the genetic composition of the COVID-19 virus may vary geographically which could render foreign vaccines less effective. That was why health data from Bangladesh like the genomic sequencing of the SARs-CoV2 strain in Bangladesh, the project she led, was so important to ensuring that the vaccines distributed in Bangladesh were tailored to the type of virus introduced.
Dr Senjuti was rather optimistic about Bangladesh’s vaccine distribution capabilities as it hosts one of the highest vaccine coverage (and lowest vaccine hesitancy) in the world. Bangladesh has an accessible landscape due to high population density and has had a commendable track record in immunising children.
She also highlighted the need to collect health data while vaccines are provided to gauge the success of implementation.
Dr Senjuti emphasised on the need for the development of vaccine production capability by the country’s own pharmaceutical sector as she argued that the equitable distribution of vaccines is highly unrealistic even in the future.
In explaining the difference between equality and equity, she ended by saying, "Nobody is safe until everyone is safe."
On the subject of vaccine diplomacy and the challenges Bangladesh will face to acquire vaccines, Dr Delwar Hossain, Professor of International Relations at DU, expressed his perplexity at the lack of global cooperation regarding vaccine distribution despite the COVID-19 pandemic evolving into a global humanitarian crisis.
He argued that instead of collaborating, many developed countries that have been hit hard by the pandemic have resorted to vaccine nationalism to secure vaccines for its own people which reflected the growing dissatisfaction of multilateral governance.
Dr Delwar said that Bangladesh had resorted to both bilateral (with China and India) as well as multilateral agreements (Gavi, COVAX) to secure vaccines. Bangladesh has made it loud and clear that vaccines should be considered a public or collective good with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina saying so at the UN Assembly.
He also hinted at the scope for aid diplomacy as Bangladesh tries to secure funding from the World Bank and JICA to ensure a smooth distribution process while he noted that the country has sufficient currency reserves to finance the process herself.
He emphasised that the level of success in the distribution of vaccines by Bangladesh depended on how well it executes its plan (which tries to ensure coverage of 80% of the population in three phases), the extent of cooperation and support from its bilateral and multilateral partners, and whether vaccine patents and intellectual property rights will be relaxed to enable the country’s pharmaceutical industry to produce its own vaccines.
Dr Ashikur Rahman, Senior Economist at the Policy Research Institute said the tension between vaccine diplomacy and vaccine nationalism continues which reflects a lack of cooperation among countries.
He expressed “cautious optimism that Bangladesh will get on the vaccine ladder as soon as it’s available." He addressed the need for equity in meting out vaccines to the cohort with the most vulnerabilities, comorbidities and high mortality.
Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen has extended his sincere congratulations to Ambassador Hussein Ibrahim Taha from the Republic of Chad who has been elected as the new Secretary General for a five-year term starting from November 17, 2021.
Al-Othaimeen expressed his wishes for success to the new Secretary General, in his mission to continue working for promoting joint Islamic action, in the interest of the peoples and countries of the Islamic world.
Ambassador Hussein Taha, was honored to take the oath after announcing his election as Secretary General of the organization, at the forty-seventh session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, which concluded its work on Saturday in Niamey, Niger, according to OIC Secretariat.
On his part, Al-Othaimeen also thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the hosting state of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, headed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his crown prince, HRH Prince Muhammad bin Salman, for their continuous trust and support during his tenure.
He also thanked Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan for his continued support, in addition to all colleagues in the Foreign Ministry.
Bangladesh has urged the OIC member States to continue political and humanitarian support to Bangladesh until dignified repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar is ensured.
Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Bangladesh Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr Mohammad Javed Patwary made the call at the 47th session of the Islamic Council of Foreign Ministers in Niamey, Niger on Saturday.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen was supposed to lead the Bangladesh delegation at the meeting but his visit was cancelled as he had tested positive for COVID-19 hours before his departure.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen also missed the event as he also tested positive for COVID-19.
The meeting discussed various issues including ways for supporting the Rohingya case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), according to Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh.
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district.
The Gambia filed a more than 500-page Memorial, which also includes more than 5000 pages of supporting material, in its lawsuit against Myanmar at the ICJ in The Hague, making its case for how the Government of Myanmar is responsible for genocide against Rohingya.
In November 2019, The Gambia opened a case at the ICJ, also known as the World Court, against Myanmar for failing to prevent or punish genocide against Rohingya Muslims.
On January 23, 2020, the ICJ unanimously indicated legally binding provisional measures, requiring the Government of Myanmar to take all steps within its power to prevent the commission of all acts of genocide, such as killing, causing serious mental or bodily harm, and other acts listed in the Genocide Convention.
The OIC CFM was opened on Friday by Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger, who affirmed that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is important to its member states, and that his country plays an active role in the Organization.
He also extended his appreciation to the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen for the work he did for the Organization.
On his part, Dr. Al-Othaimeen said that the choice of the theme for the session, “United against Terrorism for Peace and Development”, is a strong reminder that “terrorism is the single most serious threat to the region and the world, given its negative impact on growth rates and cooperation ties, in addition to worsening Human Development Indices (HDI) ranking.”
He also valued the role assigned to the OIC Sawt al-Hikma (Voice of Wisdom) Center, which acts in coordination with the International Islamic Fiqh Academy to bring reason to bear and promote moderation and tolerance.
The Secretary General offered his gratitude to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Niger for his gracious patronage of the meeting, and also thanked the people and government of the republic of Niger for the organization of the meeting and the warm hospitality.
He extended his appreciation to all African member states for their keen involvement and support of the work led by the OIC.
Al-Othaimeen also commended the dedicated efforts the United Arab Emirates (UAE) exerted during its tenure, as the Chair of the esteemed Council’s 46th session, and the efforts the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia deploys in its capacity as the host country of the OIC and chair of the 14th Islamic Summit.
He expressed his deepest gratitude and appreciation for the care and attention given to the Organization’s activities in their entirety, under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and His Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman, may they be under Allah’s protection forever.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and its representative as Chair of the Islamic Summit, said that the Kingdom has donated a piece of land for the construction of the permanent building of the OIC General Secretariat.
Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation in the UAE, delivered a speech where she referred to the activities that Abu Dhabi carried out during its chairmanship of the 46th Session of the ICFM, noting that her country has learned from the Organization the importance of advancement in diverse issues.
Al-Hashemy handed over the chairmanship of the Council to the Foreign Minister of the Republic of the Niger.
Speeches were also delivered by the foreign ministers of Tunisia, Senegal, Turkey, on behalf of the Arab, African and Asian groups, in addition to the speech of the African Union, the guest of this Session.
The 25th annual general meeting (AGM) of the Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) will be held on Sunday at its Segunbagicha office in the capital.
"The election of the professional body will be held on November 30," DRU President Rafiqul Islam Azad told UNB on Saturday.
He said they would hold their AGM and election giving special attention to health issues amid the pandemic.
"The inaugural session of the AGM will start at 10am and the working session of the non-political body will begin at 11am. The organization's financial report will also be placed at that time."
Azad said 41 candidates will compete for 21 posts in the DRU election this year. Some 1,693 voters out of 1,800 members of the professional body will cast their votes on Monday.