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  • Sawan Shariar - YouthMappers Regional Ambassador

Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders: YouthMappers Bangladesh Summit 2023 Sets a Historic Milestone

In the pursuit of a shared vision, I embarked on a journey in December 2022 to weave the fabric of dreams that would manifest into the YouthMappers Bangladesh Summit 2023 – a dream that had taken root 365 days prior. Collaborating with Tasauf A Baki Billah, the Executive Director of Bangladesh Open Innovation Lab (BOIL), a local partner of YouthMappers, meticulous planning ensued. Structures were outlined, and BOIL's support was secured as a sponsor and organizing partner.

After a productive meeting with local chapter leaders in Bangladesh and a successful community gathering in September, the official announcement of the summit was made, and December 2, 2023, was marked as the date. The groundwork included a call for a summit logo, won by Laila Sharmin Nova, President of YouthMappers chapter in Govt. Shahid Suhrawardy College. Venue selection involved a call to universities, with Eastern University chosen as the summit's host through a formal agreement.

As October commenced, the call for participation resonated across chapters, resulting in an overwhelming response. With a capacity for 140 participants from 14 chapters, the 4 local chapters – Eastern University, Patuakhali Science and Technology University, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul University, and the University of Rajshahi – served as co-hosting partners.

November saw meticulous program design, guest and resource person invitations, team formation, and logistics arrangements. The summit was curated to offer a multifaceted program, including discussions, talks, training sessions, workshops, keynote addresses, and enriching learning experiences.

The summit's crescendo was reached as a festive atmosphere enveloped participants. The summit day witnessed vibrant interactions, shared ideas, and a palpable sense of community. The inauguration, led by myself, featured esteemed guest speakers and keynote speakers, including Mr Tasauf A Baki Billah, Executive Director of Bangladesh Open Innovation Lab; Mr Azizul Alam, Vice-president of Geo-Informatics, Product & Technology Division at bKash Limited; Prof. Dr. Sheikh Tawhidul Islam, Director of Institute of Remote Sensing and GIS at Jahangirnagar University; and Prof. Dr. Md. Mahfuzur Rahman, Dean of Faculty of E & T at Eastern University. The summit special guest and key speaker was Mr. Mohammad Ali Azzam, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Eastern University and Mr. Prof. Dr. Shahid Akter Hossain, Vice-chancellor of Eastern University. The distinguished guests imparted valuable insights into the intricacies of mapping, delving into its significance, imperatives, and challenges.

The summit's middle phase showcased renowned global resource persons such as Professor Taichi Furuhashi from Aoyama Gakuin University (School of Global Studies and Collaboration), Dr. Can Unen, Nirab Pudasaini and Honey Fombuena from Open Mapping Hub - Asia Pacific, alongside valuable Bangladeshi resource persons Mr Azizul Alam, Fazle Rabbi, Atikur Rahman, and Samsul Arafin. Workshops covered diverse topics, including democratization of maps, backend web mapping for beginners, hazard exposure mapping, OSRM, innovation with open mapping, geodata collection, and advanced mapping tips and tricks. Chapters presented annual reports, and participants shared insights in lightning talks.

The summit's climax featured a keynote address by Pete Masters, Special Projects Lead of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, delivering a powerful speech to boost the YouthMappers Bangladesh community. The closing remarks were delivered by the Lead Coordinator of OpenStreetMap Bangladesh and the Executive Director of Bangladesh Open Innovation Lab, Mr. Tasauf A Baki Billah, outlining future initiatives.

Gratitude is extended to sponsors BOIL, hosting partner Eastern University, community partner OpenStreetMap Bangladesh, technical supporter MapBD, and regional ambassador Amena Rashid Bania. Thanks also to supporting chapters and participants who made the summit a resounding success. I am also extending my sincere gratitude to all the youthmappers regional ambassadors (including former) who have supported the summit.

With over 140 participants, 6 guest speakers, 1 keynote speaker, and 8 workshop resource persons from 5 countries, 16 chapter speakers for lightenning talks, the summit set a benchmark for collaborative success. We express gratitude for the generous support and anticipate continued collaboration in future endeavors.

I extend my sincere appreciation to Dr. Patricia Solis, Director of YouthMappers, and Marcela Zeballos, Managing Director of YouthMappers, for their steadfast support. Their visionary leadership has played a pivotal role in creating and nurturing an exceptional network of individuals characterized by genuine passion and commitment. I am deeply thankful for the honor of being selected and entrusted with the opportunity to serve within this remarkable network.

The YouthMappers Bangladesh Summit 2023 marks a historic milestone as we successfully concluded the first-ever countrywide YouthMappers summit, setting a benchmark for our global network. This milestone is paving the way for future endeavors. As we conclude, our sights are set on hosting the next global YouthMappers Leadership Fellows Summit in Bangladesh. We eagerly anticipate...

S M Sawan Shariar

Regional Ambassador (Global Tech Support), YouthMappers

Lead & Organizer, YouthMappers Bangladesh Summit 2023

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