South Asian Think Tanks discussed opportunities, success and challenges in Regional Meet


Think Tank Initiative’s 5th South Asia Regional Meeting
South Asian Think Tanks discussed
opportunities, success and challenges
Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, ED, BIGD (3rd from left) seen in a session of TTI Regional Meet

BIGD’s Senior Staff members participated at the Think Tank Initiative (TTI)’s 5th South Asia Regional Meeting, held during 18-20 November, 2015 at Sohna, Delhi, India.  

Organised by India’s Centre for Policy Research (CPR) this year, around 100 participants from 14 think tanks in the South Asian region, based in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India, came together at the meet, to exchange ideas, discuss challenges and opportunities, and share successes on key national, regional and global public policy issues they work on. Along with the delegation from Regional Think Tanks, the attendees are also included high-level policymakers, donor representatives, and other policy stakeholders from the region in different sessions of the meeting.

The three-day meeting included four thematic sessions to focus on how think tanks are contributing to global challenges relating to urbanisation, public service delivery, climate change, agriculture and water, social development and poverty, and governance and accountability. The meeting also highlighted the continuity of  the exploration of how the continued support to the South Asian cohort of Think Tanks strengthen their capacities to generate new knowledge, become more effective and sustainable in policy engagement , thriving institutions within the policy and research ecosystems. The purpose of these sessions were to highlight key debates, showcase data and evidence, and share examples of how think tanks are instrumental in transforming evidence into policy action.

Led by Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director; the BIGD delegation also included Dr. Shanawez Hossain, Research Fellow; and Mr. Sarwar Jahan Chowdhury, Head of Operations.

The meeting also focused on facilitating and sharing lessons learnt about strategies for defining, building, and managing successful, sustainable Think Tanks with a wide range of policy research organisations and interested stakeholders. BIGD Executive Director Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman was a discussant in the session “Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for South Asia and the role of think tanks: Country Context” and  Research Fellow Dr. Shanawez Hossain made two presentations titled (i) “State of Governance in Health and Education in Bangladesh” and (ii) Partyarchy Democracy in Bangladesh.

Think Tank Initiative (TTI), a multi-donor programme funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), managed by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), is dedicated to strengthening the capacity of independent policy research institutions in the developing world.  


Conference on 40 years of Bangladesh: Retrospect and Future Prospects


Conference Theme

In celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Independence of Bangladesh, we focus on the relative successes and shortcomings of governance within the country, a core problem that affects meaningful development of Bangladesh, and look forward to future prospects of governance reform in the country. 
Over the last two decades the issue of governance reform is very much at the centre of debates on development, economic growth and poverty reduction. However, much of the thinking on what good governance should be is based on Western ideal-typical models and pays less attention to local, social, political and cultural dynamics, as well as specific historical trajectories which fundamentally shape the possibilities for development and democracy. While focusing on the wider phenomenon that characterize governance practice in Bangladesh, much of the scholarship has not reached deep enough into the social structures of everyday life of ordinary citizens and political behaviour that underpin these general features.

The conference encourages research which attempts to break away from some of the existing rhetoric that has begun to shape governance thinking on Bangladesh by offering deeper, richer and empirically grounded insights on the practice of governance, its challenges and the prospects for reform. IGS has facilitated such research on governance and organized a conference titling “40 years of Bangladesh: Retrospect and Future Prospects”.

The conference was arranged from 26-28th Nov. 2011 attended by worldwide renowned political scholars and international political scientists e.g. Dr. Geof Wood, Dr. Joe Devine, Dr. Graham Brown, Dr. Harry Wallace Blair, Dr. Akhlaque Haque, Dr. Jalal Alamgir, Dr. Iftekhar Iqbal, Dr. Navine Murshid, Dr. Sumaiya Khair, Dr. Asif Nazrul, Dr. Naomi Hossain and others have presented and shared their thoughts and researches on governance. The purpose of the conference was to highlight the Governance of Bangladesh in these 40 years; the failures and the future prospects that lie ahead and proposing better and effective ways of governance. The chief guest of the launching ceremony was Justice Habibur Rahman and special guest was Dr. Gowher Rizvi. Both of the honorable guests made their speeches at the launching ceremony of the conference at BRAC Centre Inn. The rest of the conference presentations were made at BRAC, BCDM, Savar, Khagan.

Participants’ Papers for the Website

1. Ahmed, Haydory Akbar, Lecturer,Dept.of Economics & Social Sciences, BRAC University; Hossain, Abul Maala, Tanvir, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Economics & Social Sciences, BRAC University; Rahman, Shahidur, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Economics & Social Sciences, BRAC University; PapersPresentations:

2. Ahmed, Imtiaz, Professor, International Relations, University of Dhaka; Papers 

3. Ahmed, Nizam, Professor of Public Administration, University of Chittagong; Presentations

4. Alamgir, Jalal, Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Boston;Papers

5. Aminuzzaman, M Salahuddin, Professor of Public Administration, University of Dhaka;  Papers:

6. Banks, Nicola Margaret, Head of Research & Evaluation Unit, BRAC Uganda; Papers:  ;Presentations:

7. Basu, Ipshita, Head of Research at the Institute of Governance Studies, BRAC    University; Brown, Graham, Senior Lecturer, International Development & Economics, University of Bath; Joseph Devine, Lecturer, International Development, University of Bath; Papers: ;Presentations:

8. Bhardwaj, Sanjay, Assistant Professor, South Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Papers:

9. Blair, Harry Wallace, Associate Department Chair, Senior Research Scholar, Lecturer, Political Science, University of Yale; Papers: ; Presentations

10. Chowdhury, Mridul, CEO & Founder, mPower Social Enterprises; Saleh, Asif, Director, BRAC Communications & Chairman, Drishtipat;  Presentations: 

11. Craig, Donna, Specialist, (LLM, York University); Rashid, A.Z.M Manzoor, Associate Professor, Forestry & Environmental Science, Shahjalal University; Mukul, Sharif Ahmed, Research Fellow, Centre for Research, on Land- Use Sustainability, Maijdee, Bangladesh; Papers: ; Presentations

12. Curtis, Donald, Public Management & Institutional Development Specialist; Papers: ;Presentations

13. Hasan, Kamrul, Research Specialist, Habitat Foundation; Jannat-Hasinae, Executive Director, Habitat Foundation;  Papers: ; Presentations

14. Haque, Akhlaque, Associate Professor, Public Administration, University of Alabama; Papers: ;Presentations

15. Haque, Kazi Nurmohammad Hossainul, Senior Research Associate, Institute of Governance Studies; Papers: ; Presentations

16. Haque, M Shamsul, Professor, Political Science, National University of Singapore; Papers: ; Presentations:

17. Hossain, Md. Abdullah Abraham, Assistant Conservator of Forests, Development Planning Unit, Department of Forestry; Mokhtar, Mazlin Bin, Professor, Principal Research Fellow & Director, University of Kebangsaan; Toriman, Mohammad Ekhwan, Faculty, Social Sciences & Humanities, University of Kebangsaan; Papers: ; Presentations

18. Hossain, Naomi, Research Fellow, University of Sussex; Papers: ; Presentations: 

19. Hulme, David, Professor, Development Studies, University of Manchester; Jahan,  Ferdous, Associate Professor, Public Administration, University of Dhaka & BRAC University; Shahan, Asif Mohammad, Lecturer, Development Studies, University of Dhaka; Roy, Manoj, Co-Director, Poverty & Climate Change, Urban Bangladesh; Papers: ; Presentations: 

20. Iqbal, Iftekhar, Associate Professor, History, University of Dhaka; Papers: ; Presentations: 

21. Khair, Sumaiya, Professor & Head, Department of Law, University of Dhaka; Presentations

22. Khan, Mohammad Mohabbat, Professor, Public Administration, University of Dhaka; Papers: ; Presentations: 

23. Khondker, Habibul Haque, Professor, Social Science & Humanities, University of Zayed; Papers: ; Presentations: 

24. Lewis, David, Professor, Social Policy & Development, London School of Economics & Political Science; Papers: ; Presentations

25. Mills, Pierre-Landell, Principal, Policy Practice Ltd. & Director, Partnership for Transparency Fund;Papers:  ; Presentations

26. Murshid, Navine, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Colgate University; Papers: ; Presentations: 

27. Nazrul, Asif, Professor, Department of Law, University of Dhaka; Presentations

28. Rahman, Md. Ataur, Visiting Senior Research Fellow, National University of Singapore, Professor & Founder-Chair, Centre of Governance Studies, University of Dhaka, Consultant, Bangladesh 2020; Papers:  ; Presentations

29. Rahman, Md. Ashiq-Ur, Faculty, Urban & Rural Planning, University of Khulna; Papers: ; Presentations: 

30. Rahman, Md. Mizanur, Senior Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Industries; Papers: ; Presentations: 

31. Rahman, Mohammad Habibur, Programme Leader, Graduate Studies of Business, Economics & Policy Studies, University of Brunei; Thomas Theodore, an Adviser, Institute of Governance Studies, BRAC University; Paperspers: ; Presentations: 

32. Robbani, Golam, Lecturer, Accounting & Information Management, University of Maastricht;Papers: ; Presentations

33. Stanislawski, Jens, PhD Student, International Development, University of Bath; Papers: ;Presentations:

34. Wood, Geof, Professor, International Development, University of Bath; Papers: ; Presentations

35. Wong, Sam, Lecturer, Human Geography, University of Bradford; Papers: ; Presentations

Conference Resources:







International Conference on Accountable Governance for Development- Setting an Agenda Beyond 2015


Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, in collaboration with the Institute of Governance Studies (IGS) of BRAC University, the United Nations Millennium Campaign – Asia and Pacific Region, Public Affairs Centre (PAC), Governance and Public Policy Program of North-South University and Monash University Governance Research Unit (MGRU) organised a two day international conference during 7-9 December 2012 in Dhaka on Governance and Public Service Transformation in South Asia. The conference provided an opportunity to collaboratively explore the governance reform journey in South Asian countries over the past two decades, highlight opportunities and challenges, explore governance deficits that hinder the acceleration of MDG achievement and recommend how the governance agenda can be concretely integrated into the Post 2015 development framework.

In the Conference as many as 15 papers of scholars and practitioners from across South Asia, as well as Australia, USA, UK, The Netherlands and Switzerland focused around the above thematic pillars were presented and discussed during the working sessions on 8-9 December. The papers ranged from topics - such as collaborative governance; public private partnerships; practices and challenges of social accountability; institutions and institutional building; leadership; aspects of culture and governance; citizenship, participation, democracy and governance; techno-centric tools for social empowerment and improved governance; public service delivery, corruption and performance management in the public sector.

Please click the links below to access the full papers of the presenters individually or CLICK HERE to download the zip file containing all the papers.

1. Introduction

2. Theme 1: Multidimensional aspects of Citizenship, Democracy and Governance

a. "Governance in the Technology Era: Implications for Information Delivery for Social Empowerment in South Asia"- Prof. Akhlaque Haque, Department of Government, University of Alabama at Birmingham, US

b. “Multiple Aspects of Citizenship, Democracy and Governance”- Rokeya Kabir, Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS), Bangladesh

International Workshop on Public Administration and Governance in Bangladesh 2013


A three-day international workshop titled “Four Decades of Public Administration and Governance in Bangladesh” was held at the Chittagong University (CU) campus from January 11-13, 2013. The workshop was organised by the Department of Public Administration, University of Chittagong in collaboration with the Institute of Governance Studies, BRAC University, and the Governance Innovation Unit of Prime Minister’s Office.

Distinguished academics from foreign universities such as Monash University and University of Canberra of Australia, University of Auckland, New Zealand, University of Bath, England, University of Delhi, India, McMaster University, Canada and different private and public Universities of Bangladesh such as University of Dhaka, Islamic University, Comilla University, Jahangirnagar University etc. attended the workshop. Among others, practitioners and officials from organisations such as the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and former Public officials attended the workshop. Around 93 participants from 38 different institutions and organisations attended the workshop.

Director of IGS, Dr. Rizwan Khair attended the conference as a discussant in a plenary session on Governance Innovation and Public Administration Reforms: Lessons of Experience and presented his paper titled, “Participatory Policy Process in Bangladesh: Efforts in Search for Participatory Governance”. IGS researcher Farhana Razzaque presented her paper titled “Introduction to Citizen Charter in Bangladesh: a New Dimension in Service Delivery”. IGS Researcher Mohammad Sirajul Islam also attended the conference as a participant.

BIGD, BRAC University International Conference 2014 on Political Economy, Accountability and Governance


(From Left) Dr. Syed Saad Andalib; Dr. Masihur Rahman; Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman; H.E. Brian Allemekinders and Ms. Julia Brunt, seen at the inauguration ceremony

A three-day International Conference on Political Economy, Accountability and Governance was held at Dhaka from 11-13 December, 2014. The event was organized by BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University, in partnership with Think Tank Initiative (TTI) of International Development Research Centre (IDRC), International Growth Centre (IGC) of London School of Economics (LSE) and Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID) of the University of Manchester.