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AMBASSADOR MARCIA BERNICAT’S REMARKS
DELIVERED AT DAFFODIL INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION DAY CEREMONY
January 28, 2017
Mr. Mohammad Sabur Khan, Honorable Chairman
Dr. Yousuf Islam, Honorable Vice Chancellor
Mr. Abdula Matlub Ahmad, President of FBCCI
Dr. Sheikh Mohammad Mahbub Ul Haque Majumder, Pro-Vice Chancellor
It is my pleasure to be with all of you as you celebrate your 15th Foundation Day.
One of the strongest connections between Bangladesh and the United States is our profound respect for education, commitment to teaching, and passion for learning. An exceptional education can change and improve a person’s life. An exceptional university can change and improve a community. DIU is an exceptional university with a mission to prepare well-educated and highly productive citizens to attain meaningful careers, to enjoy enriched lives, and to contribute to Bangladesh.
I am proud to say that DIU and the U.S. Embassy enjoy a special partnership. Antara Basak and Tahsina Yasmin were part of our E-Teacher Scholarship program. Syed Minhaj Hossain is an alumnus of our Community College Initiative program. These are just a few examples of our deepening cooperation.
In 2015, DIU also hosted our English Language Specialist, Claire Bradeen Siskin. As an English Language Specialist, Ms. Bradeen Siskin worked with faculty on modern teaching techniques. She also partnered with four faculty members to develop an English Language Learning app called “Live Code” that teaches users English through games and puzzles. Last April, Ms. Bradeen Siskin and DIU assistant professor, Shamsi Ara Huda, presented “Live Code” at an international conference in Baltimore.
Of course, I hope you know our EducationUSA offices are eager to help if you want to continue your education in the United States. Last year more than 6,500 students from Bangladesh went to the United States to study. Bangladesh now ranks eleventh in the world for the number of graduate-level students who attend universities in the United States. EducationUSA will support you every step of the way. Partnerships like ours help to strengthen teaching and make learning more fun, more meaningful, and more impactful.
As students of Daffodil International University, one of the top universities in Bangladesh, you have made an investment in yourselves and your futures. After you complete your studies and earn your degrees, you will undoubtedly be well positioned to pursue your careers. But while you are here at DIU, I want to encourage you to keep three things in mind: be thankful, be bold, and be generous.
Be thankful. Fewer than seven percent of people around the world have a university education. You are part of a privileged group of people who have received an amazing gift: the opportunity to learn and engage with some of the brightest people in Bangladesh and from around the world.
You are also fortunate because DIU offers the resources to ensure you receive a quality education. DIU’s digital campus, multiple research labs, qualified professors, and connection to universities around the globe provide you the opportunity to critically engage the world around you, the qualifications to compete for the jobs you want, and the confidence to stand up for what you believe.
Today, Foundation Day, is a day to celebrate and be thankful for the education and opportunities you have received. I think Daffodil International University can be thankful for so many remarkable students because just like in the United States, students in Bangladesh are the cornerstone of success and progress. To continue the long history of change-making student leaders in Bangladesh, I encourage each and every one of you to be bold.
We recently celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States and at the Embassy. It’s an important day that reminds us that we must be diligent in our pursuit of equality. On February 1, 1960, four African American college students sat down at a lunch counter in North Carolina. After they were refused service, they staged a peaceful protest, a sit-in that inspired people in the United States and around the world to stand up for equality. These four students helped change the way we think about equality and about peaceful protest.
It was just a few years before these students sat at the lunch counter that university students in Bangladesh helped to lead the movement protecting the right to use the Bangla language, a movement that changed history for all Bangladeshis and established International Mother Language Day for the entire world.
As Dr. King said, “the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.” Your job as students is not just to learn and memorize, but to take on difficult problems, ask tough questions, and think critically. I challenge you to develop new technologies, build socially responsible companies, and conduct the research necessary to explain the world around us. You have the resources, the opportunity, and the responsibility to better your community, your country, and the world.
Finally, be generous. I’m sure many of you are dreaming of successful careers. After all, you have been given access to the special educators and resources that DIU has to offer. Now you must find out where your deepest passion meets the world’s greatest need. In Bangladesh and around the world, there are young minds waiting for an education like yours. When possible, provide them with their own opportunities to learn: mentor them and support them.
As you move into your careers ask yourselves, how will your next invention alleviate hunger? How will your next app help first responders? How will your company help employ more people? How will your research shed light on the world around us?
Be sure to share Bangladesh with the rest of the world. Bangladeshis are some of the most vibrant, hospitable, industrious, and curious people I’ve met. As you can see from our already close relationship, the U.S. Embassy wants to make sure that the best American minds have the opportunity to teach and learn from the best minds here in Bangladesh. So I encourage all of you to consider applying for our cultural and educational exchange programs, because we have so much to learn from each other.
Thank you all for inviting me to celebrate your Foundation Day here at Daffodil International University. Remember: be thankful, be bold, and be generous. I can’t wait to see what you all accomplish, now and in the years to come.
In Bangla (1.42 MB)