Prof. Dr Harun-Or-Rashid is Bangladesh Chair at South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, Germany

Bangladeshi political scientist Professor Harun-or-Rashid, University of Dhaka,  has joined the South Asia Institute (SAI), Heidelberg University, Germany as Bangabandhu Professorial Fellow. The Bangladesh government recently revived the chair after two decades of closure

Sep 17, 2021
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Prof. Dr Harun-or-Rashid

Bangladeshi political scientist Professor Harun-or-Rashid, University of Dhaka,  has joined the South Asia Institute (SAI), Heidelberg University, Germany as Bangabandhu Professorial Fellow. The Bangladesh government recently revived the chair after two decades of closure.

Prof. Rashid will occupy his position for a period of six months from September 2021. During his stint, Dr Rashid will research on changes and political development in Bangladesh over the last 50 years of its independence, aside from delivering public lectures and taking classes.  His study will focus on the Bangladesh state formation and various aspects of changes and political developments in Bangladesh, including the performance of various governments, building and working fundamental institutions, the role of political parties and leaderships, rise of political Islam, the role of the judiciary, crisis of electoral integrity and Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord (1997), from the perspective of state and nation-building.

The Bangabandhu Professorial Fellowship under the Bangladesh chair is the outcome of the signing a memorandum of understanding in December 2019 by Rector Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel, representing Heidelberg University, and Imtiaz Ahmed,  former Bangladesh ambassador to Germany.  The chair was first established in the year 1999. 

The aim of the Bangladesh Chair Professorial Fellowship is to promote exchange between the SAI and academic institutions in Bangladesh, expanding and strengthening visions of the countries concerned, further with a focus on research and development in South Asia. The chair is open to active researchers in Bangladesh belonging to the disciplines of geography, history, modern-languages South Asia studies, the cultural and religious history of South Asia, political science, development economy and anthropology.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr AK Abdul Momen made a formal announcement in a virtual platform of Prof Rashid's nomination in the presence of the German ambassador to Bangladesh, the chairperson of University Grants Commission, representatives of Heidelberg University and  high officials.  The Bangbandhu Professorial fellowship is funded by the government of Bangladesh and it is enabling Bangladeshi scholars to conduct academic research for a period of six months at the SAI.

Prof Rashid studied political science at the University of Dhaka and the University of London, from where he obtained his doctoral degree in 1983 for his thesis covering pre 1947 partition Bangla and Indian politics over the period from 1906 to 1974. Since 1995 he has been professor of political science at the University of Dhaka. He served the university as pro vice chancellor during 2009-2012. He was vice chancellor of the National University of Bangladesh for two consecutive terms during 2013-2021. Politics of pre-partition Bengal and India, post partition Pakistan and present Bangladesh is the main focus of his academic works. Professor Rashid has authored 17 books and numerous articles published in Bangladesh and abroad. He has recently edited ten volumes of encyclopaedia of Bangladesh War of Liberation (in Bangla) published by the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.

Professor Hans Harder, the Chair of Modern South Asian Languages and Professor Rahul Mukherji, the Chair of Political Science and the executive director of the South Asia Institute warmly welcomed Professor Harun-Or-Rashid to the chair, SAI said in a media release. 

The South Asia Institute (SAI) at Heidelberg University brings research and teaching together with a focus on South Asia and neighbouring cultural regions. The new visiting professorship supplements the Heinrich Zimmer Chair for Indian Philosophy and Intellectual History, the Allama Iqbal Professorial Fellowship (funded by the Government of Pakistan) and the Sri Lanka Chair (funded by the Government of Sri Lanka) covering research on the respective countries.

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