Promoting Regional Peace and Socio-economic Development

Originally published by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau Of Educational And Cultural Affairs

Headshot of young man
Program: English Access Microscholarship
Program Timeframe: 2007
Program Location: UNITED STATES
Program: Study of the U.S. (SUSI)
Program Timeframe: 2007
Program Location: UNITED STATES

Towfique [A. Khan] is an accomplished alumnus of both the English Access Microscholarship program and the Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) program for leadership, education, and culture hosted by Green River College in Auburn Washington.  He has been an ardent supporter of the alumni community while leading many alumni-based initiatives involving over 1,500 alumni from across the South Asian continent.  He is the founder and former General Secretary of the Access Alumni Society of Bangladesh (AASB), founder and current President of the South Asian Youth Society (SAYS), and remains actively involved with the Global SUSI network and State Department alumni network for peace building and conflict resolution.  At present, Towfique leads several community initiatives. Among them is the U.S. Embassy supported project “Girls for Global Goals”—an initiative that aims to enhance the leadership and technological capacity of young girls for improved access to education, economic opportunity, and active participation in decision-making roles.  Towfique continues to lead initiatives to counter violent extremism in Bangladesh by leveraging the strengths of rural cultural practices to promote tolerance and inclusion.

Two men standing in classroom with posters and writing on board behind them

In 2010, compelled by a sense of civic duty and incorporating the knowledge and experience from both his exchange programs, Towfique launched Knowledge for Change to promote pluralism and responsible democratic governance while enhancing leadership skills, English language skills, socio-cultural awareness, and educational opportunities for underprivileged and marginalized students.  As a result, many of the participants have been accepted by top tertiary academic institutes.  SAYS, the non-profit organization and social enterprise he founded in 2008, is widely recognized as the leading regional alumni platform for youth empowerment, regional cooperation, peacebuilding, and sustainable development in South Asia.  He has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to strengthening international mutual understanding while leading small projects including Uniting Youth Leaders of Today & Tomorrow to Build a Better South Asia and the South Asian Youth Leaders’ Summit—Building Prosperity.  These programs convened youth leaders from seven South Asian countries to promote the concept of social enterprise at 95 academic institutions reaching more than 500,000 students.

Young man holds blankets standing with group of older people

Towfique demonstrated exemplary leadership and extraordinary commitment to the South Asia community when, in 2015, he supervised the Model South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit.  The summit, subsequently labeled the ‘Dhaka Dialogue Declaration, convened 28 prominent International Exchange Alumni from seven South Asian countries to provide a platform for future leaders and policy makers to learn about diplomacy, regional affairs, and foreign relations.  His commitment to his community did not end with the Dhaka Dialogue Declaration.  Rather, as the founder and President of the South Asian Youth Society, he continues to lead community-based programs to expand intellectual networks and skills-based training to explore new ideas and solutions to community problems and to promote regional peace and socio-economic prosperity.

Young man holding and passing certificate to young ladyEach month, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Alumni Affairs Division, which supports alumni as they build on their exchange experiences, recognizes one outstanding alumnus or alumna. Towfique Ahmad Khan is this month’s outstanding alumnus, and his work will be recognized throughout February on the International Exchange Alumni website, ECA’s official website which serves more than one million Department-sponsored exchange alumni worldwide.

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