Hon’ble President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Prof. Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed the 17th President of Bangladesh was born in a respectable Muslim family of the village Nayagaon under Munshiganj district on February 1, 1931.
Son of Late Moulvi Muhammad Ibrahim, he was always a brilliant student with his Matriculation from Munshiganj High School in 1948, I Sc from Munshiganj Haraganga College in 1950 and B Sc as well as M Sc from Dhaka University in 1952 and 1954 getting remarkable credits in each examination.
After obtaining his M. S. and Ph D degrees from the Wisconsin University of the United States in 1958 and 1962, Dr, Iajuddin Ahmed joined Dhaka University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Soil Science in 1963. He became Associate Professor in 1964 and Professor in 1973. He was the provost of Salimullah Muslim Hall of DU from 1975 to 1983.
Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed was chairman of the Department of Soil Science for two terms from 1968 to 1969 and 1976 to 1979. He was the Dean of the Faculty of Biological Science of DU also for two terms from 1989 to 1990 and 1990 to 1991. He was also a member of the senate, syndicate, academic council and board of advance studies of Dhaka University.
His professional career was distinguished with extraordinary credentials as being an Adviser of the caretaker government in 1991 as well as Chairman of the Public Service Commission (1991-93) and the University Grants Commission (1995- 99). Before being declared as the country’s next president, he was the vice-chancellor of a private university named State University of Bangladesh.
Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed was a visiting professor of Cornell University in the United States in 1983 and the German Technical University in Berlin, Research Centre in Bunteif and Gatinzens University in Germany in 1984.
He has to his credit as many as 125 research papers published in different newspapers and journals at home and abroad. Of them, 48 research papers were published in foreign newspapers. He conducted a research on the process of salinity on paddy plants and also identified its impact on the soil side by side with scrutinizing the high yielding paddy in the coastal belt of Bangladesh.
Prof. Iajuddin Ahmed also invented a process of preserving nutrients into the soil for long and supplying them as per the demands of trees. This invention has brought for him much laurel in the United States.
He was also engaged in various organizational activities as being member of the Federation of University Teachers Associations, president of Dhaka University Teachers Association and covenor of Combined Teachers Movement (1990).
He got various awards including Ibrahim Memorial Gold Medal in 1987- 88, Sri Gjyan Atish Dipanker Gold Medal in 1990, Crest (Adafs) in 1991 and Ekushey Award for Education in 1995. He is a member of the International Soil Science Association, Indian Soil Science Association, Bangladesh Soil Science Association and the Asiatic society.
Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed as a member of Bangladesh delegation attended the 49th regular session of the UN General Assembly in 1994 and spoke on the Palestinian refugees as well as the Global trade and development.
He is actively involved as life-member with various educational and social welfare organizations. Besides, he is widely respected as a hero of the 1952 historic Language Movement, an ideal educationist and a researcher.
His wife Dr. Anwara Begum is a professor of Zoology Department in Dhaka University. She was chairman of this department and provost of Shamsunnahar Hall.
Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed and Dr. Anwara Begum are blessed with three children- daughter Sujan Ahmad and two sons-Adam Ahmad and Imtiayz Ahmad. Sujan Ahmad is married and now studying Ph D in the United States. Eldest son Adam Ahmad also married is doing a job in the United States while the second son unmarried Imtiyaz Ahmad is studying in Montreal, Canada.
Hon’ble Prime Minister Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Begum Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister of the Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, was born on 15 August 1945.
She was the third among the five children of her parents. She passed her Matriculation Examination from Dinajpur Government School and got herself admitted to Surendranath College, Dinajpur. She was married in August 1960 to Ziaur Rahman, then a Captain in the Pakistan Army who proclaimed the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 and later became the President of the Republic in 1977.
It was the tragic death of her husband President Ziaur Rahman in May 1981, that changed her entire life-pattern and brought her into the mainstream of national politics, and eventually to the seat of power. Power, however, did not come automatically to Begum Khaleda Zia. She had to earn it at an immense cost and personal sacrifices. She encountered personal tragedies in the assassination of her husband, courted arrests eight times in nine years and had to continually undergo harassment and repression at the hands of the autocratic regime. But nothing could deter her from her mission of freeing the nation from autocratic rule and reestablishing a democratic polity in the country.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) which her husband founded and the people, at large, looked towards her for leadership at the critical juncture of the nation. She stood resolutely, took the reins of BNP and with like- minded pro-democratic parties and elements, formed the 7-party Alliance and started uncompromising resistance against the usurper of peoples rights.
In the Parliamentary elections that followed on 27 February 1991 under a Non-Party Caretaker Government, Begum Khaleda Zia led her party to a thumping victory, herself emerging as the most popular political leader of the country. On March 20, 1991 she was sworn in as the countrys first woman Prime Minister in a Presidential form of Government. Respecting the wishes of the people, Begum Khaleda Zia and her party took the lead in switching over from the Presidential to the Parliamentary system of Government in order to give the hard-won democracy a permanent institutional shape. She formally took over as the Head of Government on 19 September 1991under the Parliamentary system.
Begum Zias Daal-Bhaat (lentil and rice) approach received both regional and international acceptance as a tangible programme for poverty alleviation in SAARC countries as well as in other developing nations.
She became Prime Minister for the second consecutive term after the February 1996 general election.
Her party BNP restored the parliamentary system through the 12th amendment to the Constitution in 1991 and introduced the Caretaker Government for holding neutral and free election through 13th amendment to the Constitution in 1996.
The government of Khaleda Zia made tangible progress in empowering huge rural womenfolk in the countryside. Her government brought about major reforms in the education sector that included introduction of compulsory free primary education, free education for girl students, stipends for girl students and food for education programme. Side by side, she initiated bold reforms to revitalise national economy, accelerate production in all sectors and to alleviate poverty. Agriculture, the mainstay of Bangladeshs economy, was given the main thrust to achieve autarky in food production in the shortest possible time.
Promoting good neighbourly relations, strengthening regional cooperation within the ambit of SAARC, strict adherence to the UN Charter and furthering world peace and amity were the cornerstones of her governments foreign policy.
In the 1996 polls, the BNP emerged as the largest opposition party in the countrys parliamentary history with 116 seats. The party under the leadership of Begum Zia formed a four-party opposition alliance on January 6, 1999.
The alliance participated in the October 1, 2001 general election held under a Non-party Caretaker Government and won the polls with two-thirds majority. Begum Khaleda Zia was sworn in on 10 October, 2001 as the Prime Minister of the Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh for the third time.
Soon after assuming the responsibilities of the government in October, 2001 she announced a 100-day programme to fulfill her election pledges to the nation.
She has two sons. Her hobbies include reading, listening to music and gardening.
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