Peace And Healthy Society – Manarat International University
Community Development for Peace (CDP), works to raise awareness against negativity like drugs
extremism from the very root level of the society in Bangladesh. The CDP has already arranged a
number of seminars emphasizing on students' thoughts on humanity and radicalism in a number of
schools, madrasahs, colleges and universities of Bangladesh. This time CDP organized a seminar on
“Peace and Healthy Society” at Manarat International University on 12 th December 2018.
This seminar was conducted by some high-level resource person like from the U. S. Department of
Justice ICITAP, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, The British High Commission in Dhaka,
Anti-terrorism Unit of Bangladesh Police, and faculty member of BRAC University. Throughout their
lectures all they intended is to raise awareness on the negative sides of drugs, crime to motivate students
to take a position against this crucial social issue.
The seminar started with the recitation from the Holy Quran.
The lectures were as follows:
Plenary 1: “The value of social involvement to create a positive nation, and being a humble human” by
Brig. Gen (Retd) Md. Mehdi Hassan Pramanik, psc. He is the Principal of Manarat Dhaka International
School and College.
He started his lectures by giving a short introduction on the establishment of Manarat International
University. He further continued by highlighting some beautiful quotes from Mahatma Gandhi’s
speech and also from some other philosophers. “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an
ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Mahatma Gandhi.Plenary 2: “The negative impact of drug and radicalism” by Karl Clark, Senior Law Enforcement
Advisor & Program Director, U. S. Department of Justice ICITAP.
He started his lectures by sharing some of his personal experiences which he gained during his post as a
police officer. Clark had worked in more than 40 different nations of the world, among which he loved
to work in Bangladesh.
He is working in Bangladesh for the last six years and yet he feels there is more to see, more to learn
from the culture of Bangladesh. He denotes that even though we, Bangladeshi’s are very attracted
towards the western world and its culture, but we should not underestimate our own culture and adopt
others culture. He further continued by saying that drugs do have the ability to crush a whole family,
which impacts on the society too. As he had seen some of his close friends live getting destroyed due to
the addiction of drugs.
3: “A consistent life and the scenario of darkness” by Tanik Munir, Program Management Specialist,
The U.S. Department of Justice, ICITAP, The U.S. Embassy Dhaka.
She started by donating:
“The only good is knowledge” and “The only evil is Ignorance”. These two things are interrelated and
connected with family values, upbringing, patience, tolerance and determination. These components are
all necessary elements to have a healthy and peaceful life. She continued that every individual is
fundamentally different with different opinions and perspectives, so instead of being judgmental we
should allow others to express themselves and respect their decisions.
Plenary 4: “The impact of radical thinking and a beautiful Life” by Khondokar Lutful Kabir, Deputy
Inspector General (DIG), Anti-terrorism Unit of Bangladesh Police.
In his lecture, he explained the Fundamentals of Radicalism. He said that though Bangladeshi society is
known for promoting openness and coexistence of differing thoughts and opinions, violence of different
types has also been an integral part of its history. Violent activities in Bangladesh were found recently
with an increasingly religious character which echoes international trends in terrorism. The rise of
religious radicalization leading to terrorism has risen in Bangladesh in recent times. The country was
founded on the basis of religious harmony and diverseness of ethnicity and culture, a unique
characteristic among Muslim majority countries. In recent years, Bangladesh has suffered from
transnational extremism, which has crept into the very fabric of the society.
In recent years’ violent extremism is a result of Islamist radicalization considered as one of the major
concerns in Bangladesh. After the Holey Artisan Bakery attack on July 2016, the depth of violent
extremism in Bangladesh unearthed the depth of extremists’ influence in our society. Bangladesh has
also seen random acts of terrorism perpetrated by young people throughout the country. He further
explained that how and why Radical groups targeting youth to carry out their agendas.
This is because the process of radicalization takes time as indoctrination, motivation and initiation in the
group done through multiple phases. Thus the key focus for all the existing terrorist groups is to
radicalize, recruit and use the youth for carrying out terror attacks. The advantages in targeting the youth
into joining terrorist groups are many and terrorists are displaying increased capability and capacity in
For instance, youths with no prior police records are especially sought after by these groups as they
allow terrorist and violent extremist groups more operational freedom by reducing the likelihood of
arrest of the more senior leaders. Youths are also, at times, given more dangerous tasks on the
assumption that if they are caught, they would receive lighter sentences due to their age. There is also
the possibility that young adults are targeted because of their skills, which will be helpful for the cause.
To prevent the youths fall into such traps parents and guardians need to monitor the activities and
behavior of their children. The family could play a significant role in creating awareness among the
youth about militant activities. Quality time with children is essential for family bonding. Attention to
their problems, accountability, effective communication among family members. Leadership in the
family could help to build ideology; help the children to understand the facts or situation rather
punishing them for their deviations. Teachers can also monitor the activities and behavior of students.
Educational institutions should arrange programs for awareness raising about the harmful impacts of
Educational institutions should emphasis on vocational education so that the learners do not frustrate
about their future job and employment prospects. Educational institutes can play the main role in
building a knowledge-based and progressive society through education. Inclusive education would build
the mind of a child to respect all religions and segments of society.
He ended his speech by saying, “Life is not all about achieving but also of sacrificing and accepting
Plenary 5: “Youth engagement with the UN to promote the culture of lawfulness” by Marina Yakunina,
Program Officer, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Bangladesh.
In her lecture, she discussed about the objectives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. She
said tolerance is the key to maintain global peace around the world by tolerating one another and
working together to achieve success in overcoming the challenges of the society. She talked about the
establishment of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Bangladesh was done 10 years back.
Currently, they are working on some projects among which Dhaka University came up with an idea
“Think twice, Act twice” project where they conduct workshops for no hate speech on the internet. Their
other project is jointly done by UNODC and UNESCO supporting education and preaching the young
students about the harmful effects of drugs, as they are an easy catch for the drug dealers. Their motto is
to secure the young generation from devastating their future by using drugs. As these youths are our
6: “The Success of a failure and a glorious life” by His Excellency Honorable Mr. Kanbar Hossein
–Bor, Deputy British High Commissioner, The British High Commission in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
His Excellency Mr. Kanbar Hossein –Bor was the chief guest of this seminar. He shared his personal
life’s failure stories to inspire younger generations that “Failure is the pillar to success”. According to
him, “If a person never failed in life that means he never tried to achieve anything in life”. He said one
should not lose hope, determination, and self-confidence or have negative feelings if he fails. Rather, he
should treat it as self-development to become successful in life. Failure ends up having negative impacts
and self-doubts. One should learn from his society, surroundings and adapt it.
After this, a question/answer session started where a student asked Karl Clark, why is it always a Muslim is
framed to be a terrorist?
To this Karl Clark replied, I know what you are going through. It’s as bad as bullying might seem to you
today. You may have noticed that hatred towards Muslims comes not only from non-Muslims, but also
from other Muslims. And hatred isn’t limited to religious groups. The role of media is to shape opinions
and presenting a particular version as reality. They also play an important role in structuring the
audience perspectives about the issues that happen around the world. For this matter, they are believed
and expected to portray a fair picture on any issues occur both at the local and international level.
However, in portraying Islam, especially after the September 11 attacks, a number of researchers found
that the International media tend to negatively depict Islam by associating it with terrorism. He continues
that there is a perception that international media plays a vital role in creating a relationship between
Islam and terrorism in their media that leads to the formation of labels on Islam and terrorism which is
not true always.
Program Director: Muhammad Ferdaus
Photo Credit: Habib Ullah
Report Writer: Nilufar Yeasmin