Shazeeb M Khairul Islam is a Social Business activist and a Social Entrepreneur from Bangladesh. He is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Social Business Youth Network (SBYN), an initiative operated with a view to engage the generation of youth into Social Business and mentor young Social Business Entrepreneurs. Shazeeb has worked with UN Youth & Students Association of Bangladesh as a Director of Model United Nations and organized couple of Model United Nations. He has also participated in various Model United Nations and Chaired in International Model United Nations. Shazeeb also has worked as the Coordinator of various projects of UNYSAB related with women empowerment, food waste reduction, environmental sustainability and birth certification of underprivileged children. He has also assisted UN officials in organizing various events in Bangladesh. Currently he is working to inspire young people to solve pressing social problems and help Social Business entrepreneurs to get mentors and funding support. Shazeeb has completed his BBA and MBA from University of Dhaka with a major in International Business.
Milena: You were the Director of Model United Nations at UN Youth & Students Association in Bangladesh. What did you enjoy most during your Model UN experience and what challenges were most difficult to solve? How would you describe Model UN scene in Bangladesh now and when you studied?
Shazeeb: Model United Nations is a platform for students where all the masterminds come together to talk about a certain agenda from different perspectives and try to draw a conclusion through negotiation and communication with others. MUNs gave a different exposure in my life. The whole experience was full of challenges but at the same time interesting and fun. The main challenge in Model United Nations journey in my life was to make other students understand what proper diplomacy is. It was not an easy job to introduce this concept to many students who had no idea about what an MUN is. I had the privilege to use existing UNYSAB network while inspiring more students to join MUN. From a Model UN organizers perspective making all the delegates happy through the services from the Secretariat was the most challenging task.
Model UN practice started in our country 14 years back but it grew rapidly during last 4-5 years. Now a huge number of Bangladeshi students are participating in various Model United Nations globally. Many Universities have created MUN Clubs which is a good improvement in the country to promote the concept. When I started Model UN, students were not that aware of the virtuous effect of Model United Nation, but I am glad that the concept is changing now and we have a huge MUNer community in Bangladesh now.
Milena: Is there something you wished you learned earlier during your Model UN career that you now highlight when you interact with other young people so that they do not repeat your mistake?
Shazeeb: I was very fortunate to receive the Best Delegation award in my very first MUN and I have been a award winning MUNer throughout the years. But I always regret that my Model United Nations career would have been a lot better if I had start doing MUNs from my school days. I used to do one mistake in every committee sessions, every Model United Nations and that is I used to get excited with something. It was not a good sign from a MUNers point of view. But gradually I improved it and ended up becoming a cool headed MUNer.
Milena: Which three Millennium Development Goals would be most important to solve in post-2015 era in your region? How is Bangladesh coping with MDGs so far? If we want to visit your country what would surprise us most (either positively or negatively)?
Shazeeb: According toUNDP's MDG report andADB''Bangladesh is on track to achieve most of the MDG's, including improved child health, gender equality in primary and secondary education, and wider access to finance" It is great that Bangladesh has achieved couple of MDGs already. Child and Mortality indicators improved with greater access to clean drinking water and sanitation. Gender disparity in primary and secondary education has been removed and fertility rates have sharply declined. Bangladesh has also improved a lot in disaster preparedness and crisis coping capabilities, wider access to micro credit and vibrant civil society organizations also contributed to social indicators. A rise in FDI and national savings has helped the country to achieve a continuous 6% GDP rate.
If you come to Bangladesh you will be surprised to see the natural beauty of the country and the hospitality by the people will amaze you.
Milena: Why did you decide to make a global impact through social business? You volunteered for Professor Yunus and you founded Social Business Youth Network (SBYN), which helps young people to solve social problems and to find investors. How can a new Social Business benefit from SBYN?
Shazeeb: Social Business is a tool by which one can solve a social problem and at the same time collect revenue to expand the business for the welfare of the society. To create a better world we need to get rid of all the social problems surrounding us. By engaging ourselves into creation of social businesses we will be not only able to solve the problem but also create a better future for our coming generations. This is why I felt the urge to create a common platform for the youth, where they will be educated, nurtured and mentored to start a Social Business. There are couple of upcoming Social Businesses we are working at SBYN currently. Once someone submits an idea, we help him/her defining the social problem first, generating a sustainable solution to this problem and finding investors then. We have a big network of Social Businesses and new businesses can adopt the techniques and tools used by the predecessors.
Milena: Apart from Model UN conferences and One Young World Summit you attended, which other programs would you recommend to our leaders on MUNPlanet? What are the major benefits of those events that you cannot get in any other way?
Shazeeb: I would recommend them to join Social Business Day, Social Business Youth Summit, Global Social Business Summit and many other Leadership Summits. By joining the first two events one can hear from the most knowledgeable persons of Social Business and get connected with the growing number of Social Business activists. The third summit is known for the good things happening around for a better country, better society and better world. Also, the Social Good Summit is a two-day conference examining the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world. This summit is organized by UN Foundation in different countries simultaneously. The goal of all Leadership Summits is to inspire you to take the responsibility and guide people to do something great.
Milena: Thank you for taking the time to speak to MUNPlanet. Keep us posted about your activities.
Shazeeb:Thank you. All the best.