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Navigating the Bangladesh Paradox: The Dichotomy of Development


Seminar Overview: Navigating the Bangladesh Paradox: The Dichotomy of Development


To support community colleges and minority-serving institutions, CAORC offers fully-funded overseas seminars that help faculty and administrators gain the requisite first-hand experience needed to internationalizing courses, curricula, and teaching materials.


Bangladesh, roughly the size of Michigan, stands as the world's eighth most populous nation, surpassing the population of countries like Russia, Mexico, and Japan. With Bangla/Bengali as its national language, ranking sixth globally in terms of native speakers, Bangladesh boasts a rich linguistic heritage. Despite its significant population and relatively low GDP per capita, the country has made remarkable strides in socioeconomic development in recent years. Key sectors such as agriculture, education, and healthcare have witnessed substantial progress, facilitated in part by the contributions of Bangladeshi NGOs, many of which have emerged locally and played pivotal roles in poverty alleviation efforts. Nonetheless, the nation faces formidable challenges, including climatic disruptions, governance vulnerabilities, and unpredictable global trade dynamics, posing significant threats to the sustainability of its developmental achievements.

In collaboration with the Council of Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies (AIBS) is proposing to organize faculty development seminars abroad for faculty and administrators from US community colleges and minority-serving institutions in 2025. These seminars will include lectures, site visits, panel discussions, and visual art exhibits covering various aspects of Bangladesh, such as its history, culture, arts, economy, and political landscape. Special emphasis will be placed on topics like climate change adaptation, women’s empowerment, community development, and labor issues throughout the seminar sessions.

Over the span of two weeks, participants will witness firsthand the complexities of the "Bangladesh paradox" as it unfolds in the bustling streets of Dhaka, the expansive riverine plains of the world's largest delta, and the serene depths of the Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, the delicate interplay between human activity and environmental preservation is evident every day. Participants will have the chance to witness the transformative impact of microcredit initiatives, which have empowered women and fostered economic independence. Additionally, the seminar will delve into the dynamics of Bangladesh's ready-made garment industry, employing over 4 million people, predominantly rural women, providing insight into the workings of the global apparel supply chain.

Throughout the program, participants will engage and share their knowledge with university faculty, community leaders, and representatives from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) dedicated to sustainable development, climate change adaptation, and community empowerment. This collaborative approach will offer valuable learning opportunities and foster partnerships aimed at addressing pressing issues and fostering positive change and shared solutions in Bangladesh and beyond. Overall, the overseas faculty development seminar in Bangladesh will offer participants excellent opportunities to gain international experience, with the goal of enhancing and refining international courses, curricula, and teaching materials at their home institutions.

Program Dates: January 2 - 19, 2025

Meet the Bangladesh Seminar Leader


Sudipta Roy, Ph D., is a Research Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University and the US Director of the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies (AIBS). Dr. Roy has a PhD and an MsEd in Comparative and International Education from Indiana University (IU) Bloomington and an MA in English from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Dr. Roy has years of teaching and research experience both in Bangladesh and the U.S. He has taught Bangla as a foreign language as a Fulbright Lecturer at Indiana University Bloomington. He has also taught Education Foundation courses at Colby College and Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis (IUPUI). His current research focuses on world religions, education, and social cohesion in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ghana, and Senegal. Born and brought up in Bangladesh, Dr. Roy looks forward to welcoming the cohort of the AIBS-CAORC overseas faculty development seminars in Bangladesh and sharing his deep knowledge of the people and places of Bangladesh with the seminar participants.



The program is open to full-time or part-time faculty and administrators at U.S. community colleges or minority-serving institutions. A directory of MSIs can be found at the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions. The program is open to faculty in all fields, at all academic ranks, and from any academic or administrative department.

Applicants may apply to only one (1) of the concurrent CAORC Overseas Faculty Development Seminar opportunities being offered.  Applicants who apply to more than one concurrent seminar may be removed from consideration for all seminars. 

CAORC and the U.S. Department of State do not require any vaccinations to participate in the Overseas Faculty Development Seminar program, however the host countries, overseas research centers, individual sites, and communities that are part of the FDS program schedule may have their own requirements for vaccination. These requirements may change from the time of application to the time of travel.  

Applicants must be U.S. citizens at the time of application and must hold a valid, current U.S. passport that does not expire within six months of the last date of the program.

Note: Previous Overseas Faculty Development Seminar awardees are requested to observe a one-year waiting period before applying for another program

Program Expectations


As an outcome of the Overseas Faculty Development Seminar program, participants are required to develop and implement a project to increase internationalization on their campus. Details and examples of these projects will be shared with awardees during pre-departure orientation. Projects should be implemented within one year of the conclusion of the program, at which time participants will be asked to submit a project report and share curriculum and/or documentation of the project for inclusion on CAORC's Open Educational Resources site.


Application Process


Applications can be accessed via CAORC's SM Apply application portal. You must sign up for an account to access the seminar application. This will allow you to save and return to your application before submitting. Please save your login/password information for future applications.

In addition to providing basic personal and professional information, applicants are required to respond to the following essay questions (up to 500 words each):

  1. Discuss your background and experience, elucidating your personal interest in joining this Overseas Faculty Development Seminar, with a focus on the region and/or seminar theme. Provide details about your current engagement with these subjects in your teaching, research, campus activities, or community initiatives. 

  2. Articulate how your participation in the seminar will contribute to your professional growth, particularly in enhancing your teaching, research methods, and/or contribution to global education on your campus.

  3. Outline a proposal for your post-seminar project, describing how participation in this seminar will directly impact your teaching, curriculum, and/or research. Specify the projects, courses, or activities you envision resulting from the seminar. Furthermore, discuss how your OFDS experience might be multiplied for the benefit of your students, colleagues, institution, and/or community.

  4. Share a specific occasion when you encountered attitudes, perspectives, values, or behaviors different from your own. Explain your response and reflect on what you learned about yourself and your attitudes from the experience.

In addition, applicants are required to:

  • Upload a current cv/resume (maximum of 2 pages)


  • Request a letter of support from a department chair, academic division head, or academic dean at your college or institution. You will be able to send a link to your recommender via the online grant portal, SM Apply, by entering their contact details, which will trigger the system into sending an automated email. Your recommender will then be able to upload their letter. Recommendation letters will be confidential in the system.


​In their letter, the recommender should address the following questions/points:

  1.  Please tell us why you support the applicant’s participation in the CAORC faculty development seminar. From your perspective, how will they benefit professionally from the program?

  2. Please describe the applicant’s engagement with your institution’s internationalization efforts and how their participation in the seminar might benefit students, colleagues, and the broader campus community.

  3. Please discuss the applicant’s collegiality, teamwork, and professionalism. How have they demonstrated the ability to cooperate, work, and share with others to achieve goals and positive outcomes?

  • It is advisable to enter your recommender's contact details into the recommendation letter section of the application as soon as possible (and click 'mark as complete') so that they have sufficient time to complete and upload their letter. The applicant is responsible for checking in with their recommender to ensure the letter is submitted by the recommender deadline. CAORC is not able to reach out to recommenders on behalf of the applicant. 


​Opening date for applications: March 12, 2024

Application deadline: July 19, 2024 at 5:00pm ET

Recommendation letter deadline: July 22, 2024 at 5:00pm ET

Notification of award decisions: September 6, 2024


If you have questions, please email:

Funding for this program is provided to CAORC through a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

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