Interview with Sharif Mustajib -The Asian Age

Sharif Mustajib is the founder and Editor-In-Chief of 'International Affairs', an online magazine. He is also the founder of 'Seed Bank' and currently pursuing his honor's degree at the Dept. of International Relations at Chittagong University. He has participated in Global Video Competition on Climate Change by the UNFCC and has been invited as a delegate in the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) at Harvard University.

In an exclusive interview, he shares with me his area of experiences with the above-mentioned additional areas of his academic life. Moreover, he also suggests that how youths of Bangladesh can contribute to enhance the country's reputation in a wider level and they can be fit for the new world. The entire interview is insightful, and intellectually rigorous. I believe Mustajib's story can enlighten the minds of youths and inspire them to take towering visions in life.

At first, I want to underpin your early life. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Chittagong city. My home is very near to Chittagong port and Chittagong Export Processing Zone. Since my childhood, I was very enthusiastic in creative things; I used to write rhymes, stories and poems. Some of my poems were published in children magazines. In my childhood, I used to enjoy the scenarios of the Karnaphuli River from our roof. I was mesmerized by colorful sails of Sampans and foreign ships.
What do you usually do in your pastimes?

I love travelling and photography in my free times.
Our life goes under change in the touch of a mentor, a book, or a model. What was the motivation behind your initiatives to found "International Affairs" and "Seed Bank"?

When I admitted at the discipline International Relations, I was wondering several global aspects. I was learning from various sources in internet. Thus, the idea appeared in my mind how it would be if we have our own intellectually vibrant platform to share our knowledge! And it's worthy to inform you that now there are a number of students, researchers from world leading universities and they are writing in International Affairs.

And you know I was a passionate nature lover from my childhood. Massive pollution is harming our climate. I always feel doing something for the beautiful nature. Seed Bank is such an idea. We made a video on Seed Bank. It's not a literal bank actually! In fruit season, we sow the seeds of food here and there, but if you collect and implant, it can be a great green endeavor.

What are the key aims of 'International Affairs' and 'Seed Bank'?

International Affairs aims to create a global youth platform where young generation can share their ideas and thoughts, engage each other, and show their solutions and responsibilities on the pressing issues of the present world. You know, nowadays, a problem faced by a single country can obviously impact the rest of the world.

Say, for example, a terror attack in the Middle East can be a source of fear in Bangladesh. So, we would like to gather global youth leaders, entrepreneurs, advocates, social workers in the platform to provoke thoughts and strategic ideas. On the other hand, Seed Bank is a climate campaign. We have made videos to spread climatic consciousness to mass people for a better world. We have designed a "climate class room" for institutions so that climatic wisdom can thoroughly inject into socialization process. If we get support, we can implement it.

You have international experiences as you have attended in Global Video Competition on Climate Change by the UNFCC and have been invited as a delegate in the HPAIR conference at Harvard University. What were the crucial things you have learnt from these?

I have mainly learnt competitive skills to walk in the same pace of the 21st century. Those experiences made more responsible citizen not only for my country but for the entire world. For our survival, environmental issues should be given top priority. In the globalized era, there are both positive and negative aspects for states. I have come to know from them that we need to effectively garner positive outcomes from globalization and to prepare for challenges of it.

In Bangladesh, there are lots of youth people who can be valuable human resource for the country. What are your suggestions for them to elevate the profile of Bangladesh and be competitively fit in the competitive world?

The youths of Bangladesh have huge potentials. Everyone can stand from his/her own position and can generate ideas from his/her own knowledge. When I thought to create such a platform, I didn't have any technical knowledge about it. However, gradually I gained it. I believe, on such way, any idea is possible to implement. And it will facilitate our society and obviously elevate the profile of the country. And to match in the competitive worlds, youths have to bag the 21st century skills.

The writer is a student at the Dept. of International Relations at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science & Technology University

---Shuva Das