Many young Bangladeshis have devoted themselves to reconstructing war-torn Bangladesh since its independence. They have contributed significantly over the years to the post-independent nation-building process through leadership, service, initiatives, and research. To celebrate their contributions to Bangladesh, Young Bangla acknowledges their extraordinary long-term involvement and service in the country’s development by honoring them with the “Pathfinder Award”.
The journey of “The Pathfinder Award” began in 2021 by recognizing individuals, institutions, and an initiative for their leadership, innovation, creativity, and service. That year Young Bangla acknowledged “Mongol Shobhajatra”, “Anjuman E Mofidul”, Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur, and Rubaiyat Mansur Mowgli as pathfinders.
“Mongol Shobhajatra”, a cultural initiative, got awarded as it promotes Bangali’s culture, values, courage, and strength through cultural procession, art, and music. Since 1989 the students and teachers of the Fine Arts Faculty, Dhaka University, have been hosting “Mongol Shobhajatra” as a significant secular art and cultural movement in Bangladesh. Prof. Nisar Hossain, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, received the award as one of the initiators of this cultural movement. He, as a Bangladesh delegation member of the 11th session of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage, also pointed out to the world the significance of this cultural movement. He played a significant role in inscribing this cultural procession on the UNESCO list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
In 2021, “Anjuman E Mofidul” received the Pathfinder Award for its unconditional services to marginalized communities. It was established in 1947 to provide burial services, free-of-cost ambulance services, orphan care services, and educational programs at the community level. Anjuman’s one of the main work areas is carrying and burial of unnamed and pauper’s corpses. This organization has branches in 43 districts of Bangladesh. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization played a significant role in the burial service of the deceased and relief distribution.
Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur and Rubaiyat Mansur Mowgli got acknowledged for their significant contributions to conserving marine fauna. Elisabeth co-founded the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Bangladesh, which works to protect threatened marine megafauna and promote sustainable fisheries. She works as a nature guide and a wildlife photographer. She is a co-author of several books on Sundarban wildlife and people. She also works closely with national, international, and non-government partners to implement marine species and habitat protection plans. She also works to combat the illegal wildlife trades. Rubaiyat Mansur Mowgli also works in the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) of Bangladesh as the chief researcher. He, along with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), conducted a survey in 2002 on dolphins of Bangladesh for the first time in history. Through that survey, he and WCS discovered Irrawaddy Dolphins and Ganges River Dolphins. In 2004 they conducted expeditions to the entire coastal belt and 50 kilometers of the bay to search out different species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises. They also work to save the threatened marine mammals and increase public awareness of the plight of these animals. Both of them have contributed to establishing a protected area for marine fauna in the Bay of Bengal called Swatch of No Ground Marine Protected Area.
Young Bangla accolades the “Pathfinder Award” with the “Joy Bangla Youth Award” every year. This year, those who have created a different path of change and impacted numerous people with their initiative, institutional, and individual work will receive this acknowledgment.