Speech of the President of the Bangladesh Archives and Records Management Society (BARMS ) , Professor Dr. Sharif uddin Ahmed at the inaugural ceremony of Trainers of the Trainee (TOT) Programme on 22nd February 2010 at the National Archives of Bangladesh, Agargaon, Dhaka
March 9, 2010, 8:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hon’ble Chief Guest Mr. Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, Secretary Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Professor Dr. Md. Taibul Hasan Khan Director of the National Archives of Bangladesh, Professor Dr. Mahbubar Rahman , General Secretary, Bangladesh Archives and Records Management Society, Distinguished Foreign Trainers Mr. Florus Geraedts of the Netherlands, mr Jean Philippe Caquet from Norway and Mr. G. Savumthararaj of the National Archives of Malaysia, Mr. Jalal Ahmed the Vice- President of BARMS, my colleagues of the National Archives and National Library of Bangladesh, trainees from different organizations, eminent guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

To-day indeed is a red letter day in the history of Archival Development of Bangladesh. As far as I am aware, never before a training programme for the archivists of Bangladesh conducted by experienced Foreign Trainers has taken place in Bangladesh. I am happy to say that from to-day such an event is going to take place for the next three days.

As it so happened the history of the Archives and Records Management in Bangladesh is not so old. Although we have a tradition of archives but its professional management was absent till recently. The gap was first fulfilled when in 1972 the National Archives of Bangladesh was founded. The National Archives since then has been collecting records and documents, and also managing them for the benefit of the government, researchers, scholars and the general public. Although it has been serving the nation splendidly, nevertheless its performance suffers from inadequate manpower particularly trained manpower. In Bangladesh we do not have any institute or college where Archival Management Courses are taught. Although through our efforts two of the Universities namely Rajshahi and Jahangirnagar University are now offering lessons in Archives but these lessons are not professionally done and do not lead to conferment of any degree or diploma. We are now contemplating to establish an Institute of Archival Management which would be run professionally and would confer degrees or diplomas.

In general in Bangladesh there is a lack of awareness about the importance and value of old records and archives. As a result in the process we have lost huge amount of government and historical records which have caused difficulties for government in obtaining information and to the historians for truly recording the nation’s history. To remove these difficulties some of us who are interested in the matter got together and resolved to establish an Archives and Records Management Society to generate public awareness and to support the efforts of the National Archives in collecting government documents on a regular basis as well as creating a group of skilled archivists. It is just a year that we have founded the Bangladesh Archives and Records Management Society. Already we have organized several training programmes and workshops. We have helped many record rooms to modernize their collections and build a proper archives. We have visited many offices, ministries and local government offices as a programme for creating awareness and develop modern archives. Now in collaboration with the National Archives of Bangladesh we are holding this Training Programme by foreign Trainers.
Another thing which BARMS has explored is the international cooperation for developing human resources and sharing records and documents. It may be noted that many valuable historical documents related to Bangladesh are now preserved in the archives of many countries of Asia, Europe and America. BARMS has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dutch and Norwegian archival societies for exchanging experts for training archivists and modernizing archives and record rooms of Bangladesh. To-day’s Training Programme is an outcome of that Memorandum of Understanding. We are grateful to the Norwegian Archives Society and the Association of South Holland Archivists for their help.
We have already entered into negotiations with the authorities of the National Archives of India, Holland and France for providing us with the digital copies of the records related to Bangladesh which when we receive them would be deposited in the National Archives of Bangladesh. We are also exploring the possibilities of sending Bangladeshi scholars to do research works in the archives of India, Holland, France and America.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In our endeavour to develop and modernize our archival system we have to go a long way. However, we are in the right track, and if we can continue our journey seriously and dedicatedly through this path we shall surely achieve our goal. The primary need however is skilled manpower. This we are trying our best to develop. The present training programme is a part of that efforts.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are grateful to all of them who are helping us in our efforts. I express my thanks and gratitude to our Secretary for Cultural Affairs for his presence at this inaugural function. It may be noted that his help and cooperation is most vital for developing the Archival system in this country. I also express our thanks and gratitude to the Director and officials of the National Archives of Bangladesh for their help and cooperation in implementing the Training Programme. I express my gratitude and thanks to the Foreign Trainers for their presence and participation in our training programme. I also express our gratitude and thanks to all the authorities who have sent their officials for training.
I wish the trainees a happy and fruitful three days of training and practical experience. The knowledge that they would gather will go a long way to develop the archives in Bangladesh.
Thank you very much Ladies and Gentlemen for your patient hearing.

Professor Dr. Sharif uddin Ahmed
President, BARMS
22 February 2012


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