About BACSAF.

Introduction
Bangladesh maintains strong bilateral ties with other countries expressed through organizations such as the Department for International Development (DFID-UK). Bangladesh and the UK has a long tradition of cultural and academic exchange, and Commonwealth Scholarship since its independence in 1971, wherein opportunity is provided to students from Bangladesh to pursue Postgraduate and Doctoral studies in various universities of the UK. Since independence more than a thousand scholars have availed of this opportunity.

To address the long-standing need and demand from the Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows of Bangladesh who had attended their academic and research trainings at different UK academic/research institutions, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) felt that it is necessary to support the establishment of an association in Bangladesh.

Background
With above context in mind, a whole day gathering was organised for the Commonwealth Alumni on Saturday, February 22, 2014. A vibrant group of 68 Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship holders, of previous years gathered at the Hotel Sarina, Dhaka. They spent the whole day knowing each other, learning from each other and most importantly exploring the ways how this group of gems can actually contribute more from their respective positions. And it all started with the unanimous decision on establishing an association for the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s (CSC) award holders.

The whole day was divided into morning and afternoon sessions. To boost up the energy of the group, the event started with a fascinating session on “Networking Skills Development”, conducted by Robin Davies, Director Partnership & Programmes, British Council Bangladesh. The 40 minutes’ session was highly interactive and it can be best understood from the following comment of a participant- “I have never learnt so much in only 40 minutes”.

Following the much appreciated session, South Asia’s Regional Manager of Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP), Towhidur Rahman presented an overview of the existing CSC Alumni Associations and their activities in our neighbouring countries. This informative session was followed by lunch and group photo session.

A group of 15 scholars and fellows volunteered in putting their names forward and enthusiastically agreed to work on the proposal development for an association of Bangladeshi scholars and fellows. From that day onwards, the group has worked together to come up with a proposal.

Establishment of the Association
The aforesaid Association has been established by the interested Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows in Bangladesh with an endowment from the CSC and the British Council. It is now called ‘Bangladesh Association of Commonwealth Scholars And Fellows (BACSAF)’. The British Council  supports the initiation through guidance and mentoring by forming a working group and by facilitating the approval of a proposal. The proposal was sent to the CSC for approval. The fund needed for the initial activities of the Association is being decided upon negotiation among the volunteer group, the British Council and the CSC.

Mission
Bind all Bangladeshi commonwealth alumni together, enable them to utilise their individual and collective expertise towards positive impacts on the socio-economy of Bangladesh, and contribute to a sustainable relationship between Bangladesh and the UK.

Vision
A sustainable future for the citizens of Bangladesh