The Gala Round: Robi Bangladesh YouthFest 2017 Powered by Sailor

The Gala Round: Robi Bangladesh YouthFest 2017 Powered by Sailor

June 13, 2017

“Robi Bangladesh YouthFest 2017 Powered by Sailor” is an initiative of Bangladesh Brand Forum with the motto of ‘Transforming 8 Divisions through Knowledge and Innovation’. Name of the initiative itself portrays it as a festival – a festival for the energetic youth of Bangladesh. This unique initiative endeavors to prepare university students for a global market by engaging them with experts, and appraising them through the exciting idea competition. This extensive event is designed to find new ideas and knowledge through multiple knowledge sharing sessions to equip the youth with skills to lead societal transformation. The Fest is also expected to inspire regional economic development through innovation and new ideas. This year’s venture has covered all the divisions of Bangladesh. The Grand Finale had kicked off from the 13th of May, 2017 and the Gala Round was held on 19th May, 2017 at the grounds of Independent University, Bangladesh. Prior to the gala round, the Grand Finale was held for 6 days at 6 different Universities with 6 different themes, involving more than 50 corporate professionals. The endeavor included theme based workshops. This event had been running for almost 3 months, and in these 3 months, above 10,000 young minds had been inspired with inspiration talks, value discussions and skill workshops. The Idea Competition generated above 5000 brand new ideas from the young minds of the country, of which 40 winning teams took part in the National Round of the Idea Competition.

The registration started from 9am and the gala round kicked off at 10am with a speech by Mr. Shariful Islam, the founder and Managing Director of Bangladesh Brand Forum. Inaugurated the event by asking the students to get out of their comfort zones in order to become a name on the map. He stated that love is the center of everything. If there is love for what people do, there is no stopping them. The one sentence that caught everyone’s attention is that, “Life will give you small signals at different turns of life, you have to figure out what rows your boat”. Before finishing he asked the students to listen to all the speakers of the day, because each speaker has a unique way of motivating and a unique way of presenting the future to the students; “You never know what will hit you” – he said. The speech followed by Prof. Sarwar Uddin Ahmed, PhD, Dean, School of Business, Independent University, Bangladesh who expressed his pleasure in being a host to this successful event and called out to the bunch of new leaders sitting before him.

The session started off with inspirational talks and motivational speeches from a number of well-known personalities all around the country. This session was basically arranged to gear students up for the future and to give them a direction to their career paths. Quite often we find students who do not have a goal or do not know what to do with life. All they think of is working for a Multi-national Company and earning well. However, the sessions showed the students that they can be a lot more than just an employee in an MNC. Each and every one of them is a genius on their own, and it needs more than hard work to become something different, someone extra-ordinary and someone out of the box. It was enlightening for the students on how they can both be successful and have an exciting career at the same time.

The first speaker on this part was Mr. Solaiman Shukhon, Head of Business, Aamra Smart Solutions who broke the misconception that inspirational speeches are nothing but a huge chunk of boredom. He shared his story of leaving the Navy, going against everyone, and pursuing his studies in a manner that was comparable to non-energetic, lively and humorous. He made everyone in the auditorium laugh with his unique style of talking. Nonetheless, being funny didn’t stop him from conveying his message. He asked everyone to be crazy if need be. He related it to his story, that when he left Navy everyone called him that, but being crazy he made a name for himself, which is what he wanted. Today, everyone knows about Aamra solutions and everyone knows Solaiman Shukhon for being a vlogger and motivational speaker.

The next person was Mr. Shadab Khan, Managing Director, Coca-Cola Bangladesh. In 16 years across trans-national and multi-national companies primarily in consumer products, he has worked across a wide spectrum of areas that include Sales, Commercial Strategy, Trade Marketing, Account Management and over the last few years in Country management. His slideshow presentation showed his 10 years of experience in Coca-Cola and 10 things that he learnt from the experience. Starting from the journey of Coca-Cola from a small pharmacy to the biggest marketing disaster of this brand, he discussed it all. And he linked them to:

Lastly, he showed everyone the K’Naan song from the FIFA World cup 2010 that spread across the whole world, sang in more than 100 different languages by millions of people, uploaded in YouTube. His insightful speech left the youngsters awestruck.

With a huge smile on her face and a lot of glamour, then came Ms. Mehreen Mahmood, who has a number of identity in the media today. She is a popular anchor, stage host, newscaster, and a model turned pop star. She talked about her career which started in the year 1994 and her journey towards “wanting more” than she already is. Her story of striving for something even better was an inspiration like no other. She left the stage after singing a few lines from her popular songs, as requested by the audience i.e. our students.

Mr. Abdun Noor Tushar, Media Personality, CEO of Nagorik TV became a celebrity at the time of 2000 by hosting a TV magazine name Shuvechcha. By profession, he is a doctor. He has also been one of the very well-known debaters of the country. He shared his journey of being a successful debater. He was a part of a team in whom no one, absolutely no one believed that they would be able to pull-off debating in English competing with other teams from other foreign nations across the globe in a university in Malaysia. The story stated that at every stage, people questioned their capability. Even the immigrants of Bangladesh in Malaysia questioned their credibility. But that did not stop them, neither did they give up. They entered Malaysia not getting any attention while the Australian and Singaporean students were being cared for in front of their eyes. And they left the country winning the second place, and thus, attracting everyone else’s attention towards them. The message here is clear. Simply put – Never give up no matter what anyone tells you

This session was further continued after the short lunch and prayer break, with another bunch of inspirational speakers. It started with Mr. Zaved Akhter, who holds 16 years of experience in trade marketing and brands across multiple geographies and business units, with a succession of roles in Home Care, Personal Care and Beverage business. He is at present, the Brand Building Director of Unilever Bangladesh Limited.  Soon after there was Mr. Shehzad Munim, Managing Director, British American Tobacco Bangladesh, who holds a very strong track record of high performance delivery. He has led major change initiatives and is comfortable to work with diverse and large teams. They were followed by Mr. Arif Dowla on stage, the managing director of ACI Ltd. who is known for his significant contribution in the advancement of industrial as well as agricultural sector of the country. They talked about their own career story and their struggles in their respective fields, which depicted that there is nothing as free lunch, and hard work is a constant if you want to do well in the path you chose. One of the best advices that came was that “Do not compare yourself with others, rather compare with your previous self”.

Ms. Sohana Saba like all her live stage performances, started off with a presentation on the acid victims. She got up on stage with a tape on her lips which portrayed the helplessness of the acid victims of our country. Throughout her presentation it was only words on the slide that we read, she has not spoken a word. After the presentation, she talked about her plan on doing something for the acid victims and called everyone to join hands with her on her initiative that she is going to take. After everything, studies will be of no use if we do not develop the mentality of helping the ones in need. It is a duty of the influential ones to inject the idea of social responsibility to the upcoming youth.

Mashahed Hasan Simanta is another motivational speaker who at this very young age has achieved a lot. He is one of the leading youth icons of the country. In such a young age he has attended such feats that others will dare to. He’s also the Founder of LIVE – Life is Very Easy. You’ll find them on facebook inspiring depressed young kids to come back to life and do something for themselves.

The biggest inspiration in this whole programme was Mr. Hitesh Ramchandani, who just by being there on the stage, talking to everyone present is an example in itself. He is a 25 year old, who was born with a neuro-condition called, ‘Cerebral Palsy’, which was caused by a medical negligence.  The doctors claimed that he would never be able to walk or talk. They recommended him to study at a special institute as they felt that he would never live a normal life. But his parents thought otherwise. They decided to treat him the same way any other normal child would be treated as. He was bullied in school, rejected at different stages of life due to his inability. But he was determined to be successful, he wanted to prove many wrong and thus he fought hard against the obstacles life had thrown at him!  He believes, “Life is like a ball, the harder you hit the ground – the higher you will bounce!” Now, he is a National Football Para-Athlete, motivational speaker and author of the book- Better Than Normal.

Mr. Arif R. Hossain whom we all know for being outspoken on the social media, his statuses always speak the right things-the things that needed to be said, the ones that we normal people are too afraid to speak out about, reading what gives us peace. He normally prefers to stay behind the curtains, but once in a while would come take the stage and burn it down. And that is exactly what he did here as well. With his speech as sharp as the blades, he spoke bold and edged. Leaving with the biggest advice – “Make your own identity before someone else does it for you” because nowadays, we have a lot of Jack of all trades, but no Master of anything.

The day-long program ended with another speech from Mr. Shariful Islam. He first called “Crack Platoon’ on stage, a group of young and energetic students from Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology, who were the idea competition winner of Rajshahi Divisional Round of Robi Bangladesh YouthFest 2017 Powered by Sailor. Team Crack Platoon came up on the stage and shared their success story till now on making the racing car prototype. And them being very fortunate, among the audience that day was Mr. Hafizur Rahman Khan, Chairman of Runner Group, who announced on stage that Runner Group will provide Crack Platoon with the airfare to fly to Japan to compete in the Formula Students Japan Competition 2017.

Shariful Islam also called all the inspirational talk speakers on stage who were involved in making the 3 month journey of YouthFest a success by supporting the team throughout the divisional rounds. At the very end, the winners of the Gala round were announced and given their crests and cheques, and they are:

Category A: Kalai Ruti: Companion Strikers

Category B: Betel Leaf: Betelion

Category C: Branding Dhaka: Second String

Category D: Silk of Rajshahi: EDRU Erudites 

Category E: Haors of Sylhet: Word of Mouth

Let me end it by stating something I learnt in this inspirational talks that day – “Knowledge makes you a super being. Money will not make you immortal, but what you do with it will.”

– By Maureen N. Khan

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