Only appropriate practice of democracy can stabilize the political situation and youth of Bangladesh should play effective role in strengthening democratic practice’, was the realization of every participant those who have come to EMK Center, in ‘Panel Discussion on “Youth in Democracy”. The panel discussion started with the welcoming speech by Shamimul Islam, President of Bangladesh Youth Empowerment Society (BYES). The panel discussion was moderated by Nabila Hossain, Vice president of BYES and Lecturer of American International University Bangladesh (AIUB).
At the program Md. Shariful Islam , Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Dhaka, Towheedul Islam , Assistant Professor of International Relations, University of Dhaka and Muhibbur Rahman , Research Analyst of BISS were present as a panelist at the panel discussion.
Around 55 students from University of Dhaka, NSU, Ahsanullah University of Technology, Daffodil International University, Brac University, Eden college, International Islamic University Chittagong (Dhaka Campus), Jagannath University, North South University, Sunnydale School and some more academic Institutions participated at that event.
Panel Discussion on “Youth in Democracy” opened the floor for the young participants to discuss on youth participation in democratic process. A panel discussant Towheedul Islam said “Youth participation brings qualitative change and they are forward looking to bring positive contribution at the democratic practice with their active participation through blogging and new media. It was our youth who had the glorious history in bringing democracy dismantling the autocratic regime in early 90s.“Still we have to inspire more youth to participate through new media, seminars and discussions to express their views” he added.
Participants at the discussion criticized the current student political practice at the university campuses and claims that only increasing numbers of youth participation can remove bizarre student political practice. One of the participants Sadik Hasan Shovo student of Public Administration of University of Dhaka says “Our civic engagement practice has been confined in the traditional student politics and the progress of these student political groups have been constrained by their internal groupings and group violence”
Discussants and Participants talks on democratic process of Bangladesh and United States of America and compares Bangladesh election process with United States. Zunaed Al Mamun a student from Peace and Conflict studies of University of Dhaka at the discussion said “I would prefer the US presidential debate for our next election in Bangladesh to ensure accountability of the candidate towards people”. Warda Azad a student of O level from SunnyDale International School said, “The difference between Bangladesh and USA election process is in transparent and lucid flow of information of the nominated candidates and vigorous debate among the competitors. In U.S.A before election electoral debates holds what makes people clear about the nominated candidates pledges and capabilities. But in Bangladesh we don’t see any electoral debate or don’t get transparent information on nominated personal affairs.”
In question of youth in democracy, Participants strongly said that student politics should have been the role model of youth democracy but unfortunately they are not on the right track. They blame the lack of transparency, lack of accountability, autonomous decision making and black interference of mainstream political parties on the student politics as result of their instability. Panelists argue that student politics should exist but they should run democracy from the very root level in order to smooth democratic practice and its institutionalization since the today’s youth is going to be the future leader. The discussants draw some effective and valuable salutations towards perfect democratic practice and they share their thoughts regarding the responsibility of youth organizations in this regard. They believe power of youth can lead the way to democracy.
A shadow pre-election debate according to US presidential debate was followed by where two of the participants were nominated by the discussants. The nominated participants placed their manifesto about what would they do for people and state if they were elected prime minister of this country. The verbal combat was pretty lively. An evaluation paper was to be filled up by the participants at the end of the event evaluating the program and overall discussion along with their suggestion towards strengthening democracy in Bangladesh. At 6.30 pm, participants left the EMK Center with a new dream of a democratic Bangladesh, after the program winded.