By Nava Thakuria
Bangladesh’s lone Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus is expected to grace the forthcoming Bodoland International Knowledge Festival at Kokrajhar in western Assam scheduled for 27 February to 2 March next.
Widely acclaimed as a banker to the poor, Prof Yunus is going to address the inaugural function of the unique festival, organized for the first time by the Bodoland Territorial Region, a territorial autonomous council in Assam, in Bodoland University.
Thematic areas of the four-day festival, to be held in Bodoland University of northeast India, include Science & Technology, Livelihood, Indigenous Knowledge System, Gender Empowerment, Child Rights & Protection, Peace Building, Good Governance, Human Rights, Sustainable Agriculture, Youth Entrepreneurship, Intellectual Property Rights, Quality Education, Climate Justice & Action, Health & Wellbeing, Art & Culture, Communication & Media, etc.
Prof Yunus, who was honoured with the Nobel peace prize (along with the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh in 2006), conceptualized the small loans to women borrowers without any collateral a few decades back. The soft-spoken gentleman is recognised as a revolutionary economist turned a successful banker, social entrepreneur turned a civil society leader.
Once a professor in Chittagong University, Dr Yunus has penned some valuable books and been awarded with several other national and international honours including the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom.Pramod Boro, chief of Bodoland Territorial Council, stated that the unique festival has been initiated with the goal to create, foster and promote knowledge exchange and solution sharing.
‘It seeks to provide a platform for thought leaders, educators, researchers and practitioners to engage with constituents of higher education institutions in BTR through participation in interactive and collaborative workspace, discussions and presentations’, said Boro adding that a plethora of sessions aiming to encourage spontaneous and informal exchange of ideas and discussions for deepening ties and partnerships will be key features of the festival.