Sajeeb Wazed

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Sajeeb Wazed
Obama Hasina UNGA.jpg
Wazed, seen third from left, with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in New York, September 2013
Born (1971-07-27) July 27, 1971 (age 43)
Dhaka
Education BSc (Computer Engineering)
MA (Public Administration)
Alma mater Bangalore University
The University of Texas at Arlington
Harvard University
Spouse(s) Kristine Wazed
Children Sophia Rehana Wazed
Parents Dr M A Wazed Miah
Sheikh Hasina Wazed

Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed[1] (Bengali: সজীব ওয়াজেদ; born July 27, 1971), also known as Sajeeb Wazed Joy, is a Bangladeshi American [2] ICT consultant and political campaigner.[3] He is the son of Sheikh Hasina Wazed, the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and the eldest grandson of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first President of Bangladesh. A member of the Awami League, Wazed was a key figure in formulating the party's Vision 2021 manifesto. He was listed by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.[4]He is now the PM's Information and Communication Technology Affairs Adviser[5]

Early life and education

Wazed was born during the Bangladesh Liberation War on 27 July 1971 to nuclear scientist Dr. M. A. Wazed Miah and Sheikh Hasina Wazed, the daughter of nationalist leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. His birth during the war and subsequent victory of the Bengalis lead to him being nicknamed by his family as Joy (meaning "Victory" in Bengali).

In August 1975, Wazed, his parents and aunt escaped the assassination of the Mujib family during a military coup by junior army officers. They were on a visit to West Germany at the time and took refuge at the residence of the Bangladeshi ambassador in Bonn. The family was barred by the military regime from entering the country until 1981. After returning to Bangladesh in 1981, his mother assumed the presidency of the Awami League and spearheaded the campaign for the restoration of democracy, along with her arch-rival Khaleda Zia.

Wazed attended boarding school in India, including St. Joseph’s College in Nainital and Kodaikanal International School in Palani Hills, Tamil Nadu. He studied computer science at the University of Bangalore; then transferred to the The University of Texas at Arlington in the United States, where he graduated with a B.Sc. in computer engineering. Subsequently, Wazed attended the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard, where he completed his Masters in Public Administration.[6]

Politics

In 2004, Sajeeb Wazed visited Bangladesh amid speculations that he would be taking up the Sheikh family's political mantle. He and his wife received a rousing reception as they landed in Shahjalal International Airport. Thousands of people lined Dhaka's roads to have glimpse of Joy and his wife. During the visit he rejected a letter sent by Tarique Rahman, son of the then Prime Minister and his mother's arch rival, Khaleda Zia. The letter congratulated Sajeeb's possible entry into politics.

In 2007, Wazed was selected by the World Economic Forum in Davos as one of the "250 Young Global Leaders of the World". The forum cited his role as Advisor to the President of the Bangladesh Awami League.[7]

During the 2006–2008 Bangladeshi political crisis and Minus Two controversy, both Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia were arrested by the military backed interim government on charges of corruption and "anti-state" activities. Hasina maintained that the charges were baseless and her detention was part of efforts by the military to keep her out of the political arena in order to pave the way for another period of quasi-military rule in Bangladesh. Sajeeb Wazed began campaigning in the United States and Europe for the release of his mother and other detained high-profile politicians. Hasina was eventually released in June 2008. She subsequently traveled to the United States for medical treatment.

In December 2008, Bangladesh held national elections that saw Sheikh Hasina's Awami League and its coalition partners secure the biggest parliamentary majority since 1973, capturing 262 seats in the 300 seat parliament, 230 of which went to the Awami League. Sheikh Hasina was sworn in as the 14th Prime Minister of Bangladesh on 6 January 2009. Prior to the elections, Wazed wrote an article in the Harvard International Review in which he outlined a "secular plan" to stem the rise of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh.[8]

Wazed gave an interview to the BBC in February, 2009 in the aftermath of the violent Bangladesh Rifles mutiny. Asked about security threats faced by his mother from tension provoked in the military by the mutiny and whether certain quarters were trying to stage a scenario similar to that of his grandfather's assassination in 1975 during a coup by junior army officers, Wazed commented that there was a "distinct possibility" of such a situation being intended. He also stressed that security was beefed up at the Prime Minister's residence and went on to praise his mother's handling of the mutiny. "This is probably the biggest incident Bangladesh has had since 1975 and our government and the prime minister has handled this compassionately, pragmatically but decisively to bring the situation under control" he said.[9]

Primary membership

On 25 February 2009, Wazed officially joined the Awami League as a primary member of the Rangpur district unit of the party. Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif handed over Wazed's membership form to district party leaders. Rangpur is the ancestral home district of his father Wazed Miah.[10]

The move by Wazed to formally join the Awami League was welcomed by many political leaders and commentators, including the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Senior BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan gave his party's official reaction, stating "we see the matter positively".[11]

Digital Bangladesh

Within days of joining the Awami League as a primary member, Wazed, in his capacity as an IT policy analyst, unveiled the concept paper and action plan for the government's ambitious "Digital Bangladesh" scheme; to develop a strong ICT industry in Bangladesh and initiate e-governance and IT education on a mass scale. Wazed emphasized the use of information technology to achieve Bangladesh's development goals. He also noted that the Digital Bangladesh "scheme" would contribute to a more transparent system of government through e-governance, as it would greatly reduce massive bureaucratic corruption in Bangladesh. He also spoke of Bangladesh's potential to become an IT outsourcing hub in the next few years given its various advantages in a growing young educated population with a "neutral" English accent. Wazed stated that by the 2021, the IT industry can overtake textiles and readymade garments as the principal foreign exchange earner for Bangladesh.[12][13]

Personal life

Wazed married Kristine Ann Overmire on October 26, 2002. They also have a baby girl, named Sophia. They resides in Falls Church, Virginia, the United States[14]

See also

Video

- Digital Bangladesh: Plan of Connecting People

References