The Bangladesh Development Initiative (BDI), a non-partisan research and advocacy group of independent scholars based in the United States, is pleased to announce that Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Vice Chancellor of University of Asia Pacific, is the recipient of the 2017 BDI Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award, established in 2012, is designed “to honor outstanding individuals or organizations who, through their scholarly and/or policy and civic engagements, have contributed significantly to understanding the challenges, and the ideals that have led to the development of Bangladesh and have improved the quality of life for its citizens.” Through the award, the Executive Committee of the BDI would like to recognize and celebrate the work of a scholar (or institution) of high reputation and integrity whose work has inspired others to develop ideas and implement these for the betterment of the people of Bangladesh.
Throughout his long and distinguished career as an academic, engineer, researcher, scientist and public intellectual, Professor Choudhury has worked tirelessly to contribute to the wellbeing of the citizens of Bangladesh. Through his journal publications, consulting work, and presentations, he has contributed to a corpus of knowledge that has improved our understanding of scientific theory and engineering to solve problems of poverty and economic development, the process of economic growth, and the role of politics in a society.
Professor Choudhury was born in Sylhet, Bangladesh and had his early education in Dhaka (St. Gregory’s School and Dhaka College). He obtained the B.Sc. in 1963 from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and M.Sc. and Ph. D. from the University of Southampton in 1968. He was awarded a Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship (1974) and spent a year at the University of Surrey, UK, as a Visiting Associate Professor. In 2010, he was awarded the Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa) from Manchester University – the first Bangladeshi to receive this honor from a British university.
Dr. Choudhury began his distinguished academic career at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in 1963, and was promoted to Professor of Civil Engineering in 1976. He has served in various administrative positions including, Head of the Department, Dean of the Faculty (1983-85) and Director, Computer Centre (1982-1992). He served as the first Vice Chancellor of BRAC University (2001-10). Since 2012, he has served as the VC of University of Asia Pacific.
As a scholar, Professor Choudhury has authored seventy plus papers in international journals and conference proceedings related to tall buildings, low-cost housing, earthquake resistant design, cyclones and storm surges, retrofitting of structures, IT applications and policy, among others. In 1967, his co-authored paper published in the proceedings of the American Concrete Institute (“Stresses and deflections in coupled shear walls”, Volume 62, No. 2, pp. 65-72) presented a simplified method for analysis of shear walls in high-rise buildings (since known as, “Coull and Choudhury method”). The concept has influenced the design of a large number of high-rise buildings across the world, and can be found in a number of textbooks and literature on the subject.
Given his expertise in civil and structural engineering, Professor Choudhury has made a substantial impact outside academia. He has served as an expert consultant with a number of national and international agencies on projects related to tall buildings, industrial buildings, transmission towers, aircraft hangars, stadiums, ports and jetties, and computerization of public and private sector organizations. As part of Panel of Experts, he has been a sought after academic, advising the Government of Bangladesh, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and OECF, Japan, relating to the Bangabandhu (Jamuna) Bridge. Presently, he is heading the International Panel of Experts for Padma Bridge. He served as the Team Leader for the Multipurpose Cyclone Shelter Program which prepared the Master Plan for Cyclone Shelters in the coastal areas of Bangladesh.
His engagements in numerous professional organizations reflect his wide-ranging interest and contributions to practical issues of engineering and development. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers (Bangladesh) and has served as President (1992-93). He was elected a Fellow of Institution of Civil Engineers (UK) and a Chartered Engineer (UK). He has served as the Vice President of the Bangladesh Computer Society. Professor Choudhury was elected Fellow of the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences (1999), and is the founding President of Bangladesh Earthquake Society. Presently, he serves as the Chair of the Board of Accreditation for Engineering and Technical Education (BAETE), Bangladesh. Additionally, he has served as the Chair of the Board of Directors, Bangladesh Shilpa Bank (Industrial Bank of Bangladesh) and as the Chair of the Board of Governors, Bangladesh Institute of Technology, Chittagong (now CUET). In April 1996, he was appointed Adviser (Minister) in the Caretaker Government, in charge of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Water Resources.
Reflecting his role as an activist scholar, he served as the Convener of the Committee on Export of Software and Data Processing Services (1997), Committee for Formulation of IT Policy for Bangladesh (1999 and 2008), ICT in Higher Education Group (2005), Committee for Preparing Voter List with Photographs (2007), and as member of the Prime Minister’s IT Task Force (2001–09). He was one of the founders of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (popularly known as BAPA), the largest civil society movement in Bangladesh for protection of environment, which works closely with the Bangladesh Environment Network (BEN). He served as BAPA’s first President during 2001-2005.
For his leadership in solving engineering problems involving technology and development, Professor Choudhury has received numerous awards, including the SEED Award (Science, Education and Economic Development) from Rotary Club Foundation; IEB Gold Medal (Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh); Dr. M. A. Rashid Gold Medal for excellence in teaching and research; Lions International Gold Medal for contribution to Science & Technology; Mercantile Bank Award for contribution to Science & Technology; Bangladesh Computer Society Gold Medal; ICT Champion Award from the Bangladesh Association for Software and IT Services; Sarojini Naidu Medal; Sheltech Award; Qazi Azhar Ali Foundation Gold Medal; Ahsanullah Gold Medal; Dr. Md. Ibrahim Gold Medal; JICA award for long standing contributions; and “Civil Engineering ICON” Award from BUET-Anwar Group. The Government of Bangladesh in 2017 awarded Professor Choudhury with one of the nation’s highest civilian awards, the Ekushey Padak, for his distinguished contributions in the arena of science and technology.
The BDI Lifetime Achievement Award (2017) will be formally presented at BDI’s International Conference, tentatively scheduled for August-September 2018. As the recipient of this award, Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury will have an opportunity to present a lecture on a subject of his choice. For additional information on BDI, please visit www.bdiusa.org or contact Dr. Munir Quddus, President BDI; firstname.lastname@example.org.