Dhaka, Feb 25 – The three-day Bangladesh School of Internet Governance (bdSIG) 2023 drew to a close in the capital on Saturday.
The seventh edition of the fellowship program brought together 61 fellows – youth and professionals from the private sector, government, academia, civil society, and media – to help them shape the future of the internet by bridging the gap between technology and policy.
The bdSIG, a community development initiative of the Bangladesh Internet Governance Forum (BIGF), began at the Daffodil International University (DIU) in Dhaka's Savar on Thursday with sessions on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things, big data, AR, and VR.
DIU lecturers Arid Hasan conducted the session "Artificial Intelligence in Natural Language Processing," Musabbir Hasan "Data Science," and Assistant Professor Apurba Ghosh ran the session "Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Technology."
DIU Vice-Chancellor Professor M Lutfar Rahman, AHM Bazlur Rahman, founder of the BIGF, and Mohammad Abdul Haque Anu, founder and secretary general of the forum, spoke at the final session of the day.
On Friday, at the YWCA Guest House and Training Center in Mohammadpur, Bazlur, also CEO of the Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Community, gave the fellows presentations about key internet issues, including the internet ecosystem; political, legal, economic, sociocultural, and technical dimensions of internet governance as well the local point of intersection of internet governance and Sustainable Development Goals.
He also had interactive conversations about the key actors in internet governance, digital infrastructure and adoption, digital rights, human rights, digital economy, digital divide, and geopolitical positioning.
Rezaul Islam, quality assurance manager of the BGD-eGOV CIRT, talked about cybersecurity and Bangladesh's preparedness.
Mamunur Rashid, consultant at the Enhancement of Bangla Language, conducted the session "Bangla Language in the Digital World."
Also, Anu discussed the activities of the BIGF and its communities, including the Bangladesh Women IGF, Bangladesh Youth IGF, and Bangladesh Kid's IGF.
He highlighted the aims and purposes of the bdSIG and briefed the participants about the school's sessions from 2017 to now.
"No matter what age you are and whatever stage you are at in your career, we have a programme for you. At the bdSIG, we want to listen to everyone and encourage them to learn with us as well as spread the knowledge," Anu said.
"Over the years, the bdSIG and BIGF have become platforms where we share knowledge and ideas, team up, and strengthen bonds."
Nazmul Hasan Majumder, vice-chair of the bdSIG, discussed the activities of the school in the last seven years in creating a digital talent pool of 602 fellows through networking, mentoring, and collaboration.
"The bdSIG fellows are picked through a multi-step evaluation process. The selection committee tries to achieve professional, geographical, age, and gender diversity in the selection."
"We follow a multi-stakeholder approach as we want our fellows – whether they are working in technology, academia, civil society, business or government – to understand how to partner with other stakeholders to advocate for internet-related key issues."
Ashrafur Rahman Piaus, secretary general of the bdSIG, discussed international fellowship opportunities and challenges for the participants to equip them with the knowledge they need to join a global community of like-minded people after the program.
Faisal Ahmed Bhubon, secretary general of the Bangladesh Youth IGF, discussed the activities of his platform in the last two years.
The program ended today with an understanding of Smart Bangladesh discussed by Fatima Islam, freelancing and monetization by Shamim Ahmed Zoardder, Famous IT, the digital economy in Bangladesh Tofael Ahmed of IBBL, the Digital Security Act by Khundkar Hasan Shahriyar, Advocate Supreme Court, the proposed Data Protection Act, and the fellows describing their learnings from the program and plans for taking the multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder knowledge beyond the fellowship. AHM Bazlur Rahman discussed on UN Global Digital Compact.
Hasanul Haq Inu MP, chair of the parliamentary standing committee on the information and broadcasting ministry and chair of the BIGF, was present at the closing session. He demanded the inclusion of the internet as a fundamental human right in the constitution and called for the elimination of digital discrimination. He called for arrangements to inform the United Nations by organizing a national consultation meeting by 2024.