By Alfred D’ Costa
22nd National Conference was organized by Bangladesh Catholic Students’ Movement and was a four day conference held in Lokkhipur, Sylhet. Bangladesh Catholic Students’ Movement is considered by many, the leading students’ movement for educating students about Catholic Social Teaching. The main theme for this year’s National Conference was “Endangered Environment: Youth solidarity for environmental protection, ensuring natural beauty”. I’m a member of Dhaka archdiocese and representatives of Tejgaon BCSM, and I looked forward to the conference, believing that I would learn a lot about the ongoing environmental disasters and as a Catholic student what I could do to protect the world that I live in, the world that we call Home.
The conference itself was directed towards helping BCSM members to achieve the following goals –
- To educate everyone the concept of climate change
- To make them understand the consequences of global warming
- To inspire everyone to make a stand against climate change
- To help members to cooperate with students from all over the country
- To raise awareness among everyone about the vicious effects of climate change
- To make students “Think globally, work locally.”
The conference had a good response, with over 130 participants, the executive committee tried to involve the participants in the conference as much as possible. Throughout the conference, there were many demonstrations and activities for us to do.
All over, I was very much happy with the conference, as it met positive expectations I had before coming. Although the conference had a few weakness and several strengths, overall there were three aspects that attracted me making it a successful experience. Firstly the conference had highly qualified speakers who had provided us important information and knowledge about the climate change and what could we do about it as a student from our place. The resource persons were very much proactive in making the participants more involved in the sessions. Secondly the conference provided us the opportunity not only to attend sessions or to have discussions but also in allowing us go on exposures and meeting indigenous people face to face, knowing about their everyday life and their connection with environment as they live surrounded by nature and use natural elements in their day to day lives. The participants and me personally love this sort of field work as it helped us to be more involved in our activities and helped us to learn even more for why climate change is so dangerous for the world that we live in. Thirdly, the conference gave all the participants the platform to stand up and speak in front of everyone to eradicate the shyness that holds them back. And the proactive, informative sessions allowed the participants interact with BCSM members from all over the country and that they could learn how the Movement is performing all over the country.
The presence of Cardinal Patrick D’ Rozario and his wise words in the session greatly inspired me to work more precisely for the society that we live in. His sharing proved to be very much successful as the participants took it very seriously and promised to do whatever necessary to protect the our planet Earth, our Home. The great thing about the conference was that the speakers who took the session classes gave us information on objective data of the main theme rather than the speaker’s personal experience. This helped the participants to learn the abstract concepts and ensuring the understanding of concepts and facts.
The presence of Mr. Ravi Tissera, IMCS APC Coordinator, enriched the value of the conference highly. His sharing about IMCS and it’s work were very much helpful as many of the participants didn’t have any idea about IMCS before the conference. And the conference personally helped me to build up a good relationship with Mr. Ravi and was provided with a lot of ideas of how I could improve my activities in BCSM unit. The likes of Mr. Shamsul Momen Polash, Mr. Kazi Anis. Major General John Gomes greatly inspired all the participants with their magnificent sharing. They presented us data and facts about climate change in Bangladesh and the dangers of it, how we can raise our voices and show everyone the violence on environment through social media and various news portals, as Catholic student what should be our duties, how could we work for the environment from our place and many more things.
Each participants were given the opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas of how they can work to protect the nature and uniqueness of biodiversity. The conference provided the key facts of climate change and how we can work on it to stop it. And the primary concept was to aware the participants so that they could raise awareness among everyone in their own society about the affects of climate change. The idea was very successful as everyone including our diocese was committed for the implementation of the facts that we learned from the conference. The cultural programs basing on the culture of indigenous people were very delightful to watch and the football match at the last day of the conference was very refreshing.
There were very few weaknesses such as time management could have been a bit better even though that very much depended on the arrival of the participants timely. In some parts, the sessions got too much informative and as a result participants got a bit bored. More exposures could’ve been added because that interested me and all the participants the most.
The whole conference was very effective and successful in my opinion. The different sessions and sharing from successful, wise and creative educators widely kept me interested throughout the four day conference and made me come to know about many things and facts about the environment that I didn’t know of. I always enjoy being around other movement members who as well work the welfare and betterment of the society. I learned a great deal of new things about what activities I can do in my own unit and diocese for the environment. I was reminded the importance of mother nature, why it is important to protect from the greedy industrialization society, who only thrive for money and for themselves. In a whole, this conference inspired me to work even more hardly for our BCSM and always try to be a part of it. This conference will help me to work on a goal to protect the environment, the biodiversity and the beauty of it. Solidarity among everyone is the only way to stop the vicious effects of climate change. If all of us can stand together make our actions speak louder than words, we can surely fill the world with greenery that she used to have and protect it’s unique biodiversity. I hope we can use all these information that we’ve gathered from this conference and implement in our unit. Our small steps could turn into a huge change in our goal of protecting the planet.
I thank and congratulate the executive committee of BCSM for arranging this inspiring, informative, productive and successful 22nd National Conference. I believe we can go much further in working for the society if we keep going like this. I learned a great deal from this conference and plan on to keep on working for BCSM in the coming days and hope everyone else will also work on the proper implementation of what they have learned from this conference.