Omar Raad Chowdhury, an ardent debater and current President of the Economics Study Center|University of Dhaka, shares his journey and words of wisdom with aspiring juniors.
“While in school, I was very ordinary. I was not interested in much besides public speaking. I discovered so when I joined my school debating club. I took part in some debating competitions and delivered a few speeches here and there. In terms of learning, I do believe I have gathered a few life lessons from school. I was a science student, to begin with, but I have migrated to Economics because of all the experiences I had gained from my activities at the Notre Dame Debating Club.
If you ask me, Notre Dame College is the starting point of my debating career; I basically started training and full-fledged competing in various events. I realized that I need all sorts of knowledge to debate well. Things I had already known, I had to brush up my ideas on them and learn new things involving politics, economics etc. Unlike science, human society does not follow a set rule. It is largely based on political economics. That was the main drive for me to switch to social science for my Bachelors. With my debating team, we took several inter-college championships, inter-club competitions etc. It was a good experience.
While preparing for my entrance exams at Dhaka University, I noticed I didn’t need as much preparation as the others because of my already existing “out” knowledge. When I joined my department, I found out about the Economics Study Center. It was established back in 1973 and was on its revival phase when I joined. I always had the idea of spreading positive impact on the society through political economy. I do believe a large chunk of our societal problems lie in the political-economic sphere and thus, we need a thorough idea on the subject. So, we decided to use the platform of ESC to convey this idea; we wanted to catalyze the economic way of thinking of the students of our department through various operations and programs and relay our results and findings to students and general people. This is an integral part of our philosophy.
I was heavily involved in organizing the fresher’s cultural program that is hosted by ESC every semester, and that is where I fell in love with the club and all its members. As for my journey to the presidency, I would say, to be an executive you need to very be extremely diligent and I think that is what drove us. I am not any different from the other members; maybe they liked my management skills. I was selected as the president back in November 2017.
At ESC, we try to cater to general students and the general public. We promote research that is outside our academic discipline. For example, we can arrange a dialogue space where we can discuss economic issues, share opinions, hold workshops etc. These are just some of the initiatives of ours based on our philosophy. To convey our message to the general public, we operate a blog and YouTube channel and creating content for our online presence, we are also garnering various soft skills. For eg: we publish a weekly digest where we write about recent economic issues of Bangladesh and also try to provide an analysis for our readers. I must say I am immensely proud of my colleagues and my juniors, we have a few exciting plans for the future and I am sure we will reach new milestones.
As for future plans, I love being spontaneous with my life. I don’t really have any plans, but I do want to contribute to the progress of the society, using my academic experience. If you are an aspiring junior, then you need to realize your passion and you need to have an extensive research on your interests so that you don’t regret half-way through your journey. And just enjoy life, in fact, enjoy what you do.”