In the fall of 2008, the Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights at Colby College welcomed Oak Fellow Afsan Chowdhury of Bangladesh.
As a journalist, Chowdhury has worked on various issues, including sex education, sexual abuse, AIDS/STD awareness, children’s rights, refugee rights, minority identity, media rights, and – most recently – environmental rights.
In 1986-1994, Afsan was on the staff of UNICEF, where he worked on program communication and information activities. During his time at UNICEF, he contributed greatly to policy documents on AIDS and the media in India and Nepal. He was also named an Ashoka Fellow for his innovative work on sexual education among the Bangladeshi youth.
Recently, Chowdhury has carried out independent assignments on developmental media and management issues for multiple international organizations, includingUNDP and OXFAM. He has also worked as the Regional Director for PanosSouth Asia, and the Director of Advocacy and Human Rights for the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), one of the world’s largest NGOs.
Afsan has written multiple books on health and environmental issues, refugees, and minority rights and identity. Additionally, Chowdhury has extensive experience in the print and broadcast media. He has been on the editorial staff of or acted as a contributor to leading Bangladeshi newspapers and journals for more than 20 years, and has contributed frequently to the BBC World Service and the BBC South Asian Service. He has also produced multiple video documentaries on social, political, and developmental issues in Bangladesh. His latest work to receive critical acclaim is a documentary film about climate change, “Who Cares if Bangladesh Drowns?”
- Check out Afsan’s blog
- Watch an Inside Colby video on the Oak class by Tamer Hassan
- Learn how Afsan has inspired students at Colby and people throughout Waterville
- Read about the Rally for Climate Justice which Chowdhury’s class organized
- Read about the Rally in the Morning Sentinal
- See an interview with Afsan on Foreign Exchange
- Read “The Front Line of Climate Change” article about Afsan in Colby Magazine, Summer 2008
- Read “The Front Line of Climate Change” article about Chowdhury in Colby Magazine, Fall 2008
- Read articles by Afsan archived by Drishtipat: Voice for Human Rights in Bangladesh
- Read “Gay Bangla” – an article written by Chowdhury on gay rights
Publications about Afsan:
- Read the articles “Breaking the Silence” in Probe News Magazine and “Pushing Boundaries” in Star Weekend Magazine about Afsan’s work preventing child sexual abuse
- Read the articles “More Child Friendly Legal System Demanded” in The Daily Star and “Bangladesh Jails Children” in BBC News about Afsan’s work on children’s rights
- Read about Media Rights in South Asia and read the article “Testing Time for Dhaka’s Media” to learn about Chowdhury’s work on media rights
- Read about The Policy Dialogue on “Safe Migration and Remittances” in which Chowdhury participated
- Read the article “Time for Action” about Afsan’s development work
- Read about Local Heroes, the world famous local development organizations in Bangladesh
- Watch Afsan’s documentary “Who Cares if Bangladesh Drowns?”: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, which was premiered internationally at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2007
- Watch an interview with Afsan about his documentary “Who Cares if Bangladesh Drowns?”
- Hear Chowdhury’s opinion on worldwide climate problems
- Watch Afsan speak about the economic tolls of floods in South Asia
- Watch the “Hunger in the Wake of Climate Change in Bangladesh” clip
- Learn about the turmoil in Burma
- Watch an interview with Afsan about his opinion on the announcement of elections and a referendum by the Burmese Junta
- Read “In Search of a Shelter: Mapping the Effects of Climate Change on Human Migration and Displacement,” a recent report by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security, CARE International, and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at the Earth Institute of Columbia University
- Read an article in The New York Times about the “In Search of a Shelter” report