Prepared by Afrida Lubaba Khan

The Department of English and Humanities of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh organizes several wonderful events, seminars, workshops, conferences, and other activities that focus on literature, culture, and languages. The events organized by the department are designed to enhance the knowledge and experience of those studying in the department by engaging them in interactive academic activities. The events also serve to bridge the gap between the students and their faculty and staff members by providing a platform for discussion and the exchange of ideas.

The primary purpose of the orientation programs held by the Department is to help new undergraduates understand the educational opportunities available to them, the values and functions of the department, and the central objective of the University. The Orientation Program of the Summer 2022 academic session of the Department of English and Humanities (DEH) was organized on July 21, 2022, marking a new beginning for the students of BA and MA in English Programs at ULAB Research Building auditorium offering the freshers an introduction to the faculty members and the department. The Orientation Speaker at the Summer 2022 program was Mr. Parvez Akter, Vice President at DEG, KFW Bankengruppe, who shared his experiences as an English graduate who became successful in the banking business. He offered insightful advice and spoke of how students could become successful in their own ways. The program began with a welcome speech by the Head of the Department, Arifa Ghani Rahman, Associate Professor, who emphasized the need to participate in all university activities and to be tolerant of others. Then, Professor Shamsad Mortuza, Pro Vice-Chancellor, ULAB and Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, spoke of the significance of studying humanities and developing critical thinking skills. Later, Professor Kaiser Haq provided some valuable words of advice to the students. The faculty members then introduced themselves and welcomed the freshers. The cultural segment began with a soulful recitation of poetry and proceed later with songs, sharing experiences and memories of the undergrad students with ULAB. The event ended the evening on a wonderful note with a vote of thanks from Anika Tahsin, Lecturer, Department of English and Humanities. 

Additionally, the Department of English and Humanities organizes several workshops to enhance academic and practical skills. A workshop on “Socially Just Educational Measurement: Are Educational Language Tests Measuring Up?” was held on July 25, 2022, at the Department of English and Humanities (DEH) of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB). The workshop was conducted by Dr. M. Gregory Tweedie, Associate Professor of Language and Literacy at the Wurkland School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada. With a Pd.D. in education and a specialization in applied linguistics, Dr. Tweedie’s research focuses on the assessment and pedagogy of English as an International language for professional communication. The primary goal of the workshop was to introduce the web application TestPredikt, which uses data-driven and scientific methods to help students master upcoming language tests like the TOEFL and IELTS. It is based mostly on machine learning capabilities, artificial intelligence for language learning and testing, and expertise in applied linguistics. The event was attended by the students and faculty members of ULAB. Dr, Tweedie’s presentation was followed by a very active fifteen-minute Question and Answer session. 

Every term, the department organizes Curriculum Integration (CI) programs to enable students to develop real-life connections with their course topics based on the assigned theme. The first forum of the Summer 2022 Curriculum Integration (CI) program was held on August 4, 2022, in the auditorium of the ULAB Research Building by the Department of English and Humanities (DEH) at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh. The Curriculum Integration theme for this semester was “Gender: The Binary and Beyond.” The guest speaker for the first forum was Dr. Manosh Chowdhury, a Professor of Anthropology at Jahangirnagar University. Dr. Chowdhury began his speech by giving students ideas about gender binaries, and where the binaries stem from. Moreover, he discussed how it is important to acknowledge the phrase “gender identity” in social contexts and the importance of acknowledging other genders besides the binary, but he also explained that should happen in academic contexts as well. Following Professor Manosh Chowdhury’s discussion, the floor was opened for a round of Q&A, during which students raised some intriguing questions. Dr. Syeda Farzana Sultana, Assistant Professor, DEH, and also the coordinator of the Summer 2022 CI Program with Mr. Muntasir Mamun, Assistant Professor, DEH, hosted the event. Following this, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and the Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, Professor Shamsad Mortuza on stage to give his insight on the theme. Then, Professor Kaiser Haq gave a brief speech of encouragement. Professor Shamsad Mortuza, Pro Vice-Chancellor, presented the guest speaker, Dr. Manosh Chowdhury, with a gift of appreciation and a vote of thanks from Dr. Syeda Farzana Hafsa. 

The Department of English and Humanities organizes an orientation program every new semester with a creative theme. The department had its orientation program on October 27, 2022, to welcome incoming BA and MA students. The venue for the occasion was ULAB’s Research Building Auditorium. Salwah Chowdhury, an alumni of the department and assistant coordinator for the secretariat at the Shuchona Foundation served as the orientation speaker. Ms. Chowdhury described how her education had aided her in her experience in several professions in various sectors. She claimed that although academics are obviously significant, it was her literary knowledge and skills from DEH that contributed to her success. She strongly encouraged students to utilize all of their available resources. Later on, Prof. Shamsad Mortuza, Special Advisor to the Board of Trustees, ULAB, expanded on the concept of “Carpe diem” to inspire students to dream about their future aspirations. Following this, Prof. Kaiser Haq, Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, emphasized the importance of club activities at universities. The Freshers were greeted by the Head of the Department and Associate Professor Ms. Arifa Ghani Rahman in a jovial and interactive way, introducing the DEH faculty members. In order to inspire students to make the most of their university life, she discussed the selected theme of the Orientation, “Carpe diem.” which denotes “seize the day” After that, the cultural part was held where the audience enjoyed every moment of it and the evening ended with a bang with the unforgettable performances given by DEH’s very own band, “After The Apocalypse – Bangladesh.” At the end of the program, Mehek Chowdhury, Lecturer, DEH, gave a vote of thanks to the organizers, volunteers, and performers. 

In addition to the events, the Department of English and Humanities also arranges conferences. The 10th BELTA International Conference (Hybrid) was co-hosted by the Department of English and Humanities, ULAB, on 18 and 19 November 2022, at the Auditorium of the ULAB Research Building. The two-day Conference had been organized by BELTA (Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association). The theme of the conference was ‘Sustainable Approaches to English Language Education in a Changing World’. The chief guest of the conference was Professor Imran Rahman, Vice Chancellor,  University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB). Moreover, the special guest was the Regional English Language Officer, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Maldives,  Dr. Nabila Massoumi. Dr. Richard Smith, Professor of ELT and Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick, UK, was the keynote speaker. The conference, with the theme “Sustainable Approaches to English Language Education in a Changing World,” attracted hundreds of English teachers, administrators, and assessors from various levels of education around the nation. 

The Department of English and Humanities (DEH) of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh also (ULAB) organized a public talk on August 11, 2022, on “The Relevance of Fanon and Marx Today” by Dr. Nagesh Rao, Lecturer in University Studies, Colgate University, NY, USA. The talk was followed by a conversation with Dr. Azfar Hussain, Summer Distinguished Professor at ULAB. The whole session also had a common ground of discussion which is racism. The talk ended with a short question-and-answer round. The audience comprised ULAB students, faculty members, and guests from other institutions. The event was hosted by Samirah Tabassum, Lecturer, DEH, ULAB, who ended the event with a vote of thanks.

After hosting in August an outstanding session on the Partition and its effects with a stellar line-up (Professors Niaz Zaman and Sayeed Ferdous in Dhaka, Prof. Rituparna Roy, founder-trustee of Kolkata Partition Museum, and Aanchal Malhotra, a New Delhi-based writer who has written two engaging books related to the western Partition), the ULAB Literary Salon, organized by the Department of English and Humanities at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, held on September 17, 2022, showcased a discussion on one of the most pressing issues of our time: freedom of expression.
The fifth ULAB Lit Salon brought together a diverse group of experts drawn from policy and its practice, publishing, and media: Khushi Kabir, coordinator of ‘Nijera Kori’, Trustee of the Centre for Policy Dialogue and among Bangladesh’s best-known advocates for human rights; Himanjali Sankar, Editorial Director of Simon and Schuster in India/South Asia; Zafar Sobhan, Editor of Dhaka Tribune; and Sudeep Chakravarti, South Asia analyst, author, columnist and, currently, visiting faculty at ULAB. Sarah Anjum Bari, Books Editor at The Daily Star and a faculty member at ULAB, helmed the conversation.