Students will take forward the relationship of Bangladesh and America in future, visiting US Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock said on Tuesday stressing on an educational exchange programme.
“American students studying here and Bangladeshi students studying in the US are going to match the Bangladesh-US relationship for the next 50 years,” Stock said at a meet the press programme.
She said during their studies, students get the opportunity to learn about each other’s language, tradition, culture, institutions, religious beliefs and food habits, which she termed as ‘important for working together’.
“We need to know each other at the people-to-people level,” she said.
Stock said they want to see more Bangladeshi students in American universities and more American students studying in Bangladesh.
“There were 3,314 Bangladeshi students studying in US universities in 2012. We want to make it as high as we can,” she said.
“It (studying) opens a world for students ... It builds relationship,” she said adding that this type of relationship stays ‘lifelong’.
She said there were 4,000 Americans and Bangladeshis working together after studying each other’s country.
The Assistant Secretary came to Bangladesh on Feb 9 as part of her visit to South Asian countries to engage with youths whom she called the ‘next leaders’ of Bangladesh and the US.
Stock, in her present capacity, promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, private sector, professional, youth and sports exchange programmes.
She said during her interactions she found Bangladeshi youths ‘exciting and vibrant’.
Apart from students exchange programme, she also focused on four more issues — voluntarism and community service, language, online networking and youth-to-youth engagement — that she called as ‘key’ for future Bangladesh-America relations.
“Most important is the power of youth-to-youth engagement,” she said as she believes youths would be the next leaders of the two countries. Replying to a question, she said there are 300 alumni under the full-bright scholarship programme that the US started for Bangladesh in 1977.