Foster greater regional cooperation thru' friendship: CA, Bangladesh

In the media 15th October 2008

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed addresses the Rover Scouts at the inaugural ceremony of the 6th SAF Scout Friendship Camp at the National Scout Training Centre at Mouchak in Gazipur yesterday.

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday called on the Rover Scouts of Saarc countries to take every opportunity of making new friends in their assembly to foster greater regional cooperation in attaining shared prosperity.

"We will need your contribution to many varied ways to promote the Saarc spirit and ensure sustainable socio-economic development of this region," he said.

The head of the caretaker government said this while inaugurating the week-long 6th SAF Scout Friendship Camp at the National Scout Training Centre at Mouchak in Gazipur.

The meet has been organised by Bangladesh Scouts in association with South Asia Foundation (SAF). The theme of this year's scout camp is 'Scouting for Peace and Frienship'.

Saarc nations have been hosting and organising SAF scout friendship camps since 2002 in association with SAF Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan respectively hosted the previous SAF Scout camps.

The broad objective of such gathering of youths has been the enhancement of solidarity, friendship and cultural exchange through scouting.

A total of 322 rover scouts and scout leaders, including 138 from Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, are participating in the camp while the rest from the host country.

As the CA reached the venue, he was adorned with scout scarf. The rovers of the participating countries with their respective national flag introduced themselves to the CA.

Bangladesh Scouts President and Education Secretary M Momtajul Islam, Bangladesh Scouts Chief National Commissioner M Abul Kalam Azad and Organising Committee President M Mozammeel Haque Khan also spoke at the function.

Chief national commissioner and national commissioners of scouts of Saarc countries, scout leaders and officials, rover scouts, elite and government officials also took part in the opening programme.

A cultural performance based on independence of Bangladesh, its social and cultural tradition, particularly tradition of rural life, was displayed at the function.

Addressing the function, the CA said he considers rover scouts as young ambassadors of goodwill exchange, conflict management and social development in this region.

Fakhruddin said, "The large youth population of the Saarc countries can benefit from guidance as they develop into the leaders of tomorrow," adding that scouting can mould character and help provide appropriate life skills to allow Scouts to shoulder greater responsibilities in future.

"... You will have the chance to better understanding one another, to exchange ideas related to culture, tradition and common values," he told the gathering of Rovers. He noted that there is a tremendous scope for increasing scout membership in the regional bloc where population exceeds one billion.

With combined efforts, he hoped, the quantitative and qualitative improvements in scouting would be visible in this region of the world and bring about positive changes for a better tomorrow.

He said the chief commissioners of the Saarc countries may make this assembly a common platform to discuss issues like leadership development, youth involvement in decision-making process, gender equity, poverty alleviation and other issues.

The CA said each of the eight Saarc countries has diversified resources to share and offer, and "If we can tap into the tremendous depth of potential in our large population, this region may in the near future be a model of development in the world."

Fakhruddin suggested revisiting the strategic priorities of scouting and exploring more and more challenging and attractive youth activites which can meet their needs as well as the needs of society.