US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller has said they were working on how US companies can make investment in Sylhet and vice versa.
“The other reason I’m here is to meet with government officials and see how we can work together and encourage American companies to invest in Sylhet, and how we can look at companies here in Sylhet invest in the United States,” he said in an exclusive interview with UNB on Monday.
The US envoy also described Bangladeshi students as “absolute superstars” in American colleges and universities, saying they succeed academically and they certainly succeed socially.
He came here on his third visit to Sylhet to mainly observe the joint military exercise between Bangladesh and the USA.
Miller said he is looking at different ways to confront the threat of terrorism, looking at how special force units address that threat.
The purposes of his tour also included inspecting some of the programmes sponsored by USAID, and visiting universities and talking about possible cultural and educational exchanges.
Miller, who studied journalism when he was at the university, said he is trying as much as he can to travel around Bangladesh to that he can truly appreciate where the US and Bangladesh can come together to cooperate economically.
On Monday afternoon, the US Ambassador visited Sylhet International University.
The US envoy discussed different bilateral issues with Chairman of SIU Board of Trustees Shamim Ahmed and Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Md Shahid Ullah Talukder.
He also joined a prescheduled programme at the American Corner on the university campus.
“We have five American Centres around Bangladesh. We can talk about American principles, values, American culture and also encourage students to receive higher education/teachings in the United States.”
Miller said they have a number of educational exchange programmes.
He met the alumni of those programmes -- students who have studied in the United States and returned to Bangladesh. “I’m curious to see how they’ve taken what they have learnt in the United States and built their future in this country.”
The US envoy got amused when he visited the Shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal. “I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Shrine of Shahajalal which was absolutely fascinating and to see how lovingly preserved. The shrine has been all these centuries. To see pigeons that have come to the generation from the original parents of the origin to the shrine and that’s the way that history is preserved. That’s very interesting.”
He said the American Corner here in Sylhet is ideally situated close to a number of universities so that students can come and use some of the computers, learn about the US and educational opportunities in the US and so that they can study in American colleges and universities.
“And one of my lessons that I try to impart to a bunch of students in this country is that every student looking at studying in different country feels to a degree a sense of trepidation and insecurity if they succeed academically and perhaps socially in entirely in new environment. On the other side, the world may be separate from their families,” Miller said.
“And what I keep telling to Bangladeshi students that traveled to the United States are absolute superstars in American colleges and universities. They succeed academically. They certainly succeed socially and our warmly welcome and take part of university campus life,” he said.
And most importantly Bangladeshi students seem they truly appreciate the opportunity of higher education and take it seriously and demonstrate great self-determination and maturity and use that opportunity to better themselves, the US Ambassador said, adding that then many come back to Bangladesh and go on to great success.
Asked whether he has any plan to come back to Sylhe again, Miller replied in the affirmative, saying, “Yes. Let me tell you one of the things that I’m so happy to be here today. One of the things I’m trying to do is a better way to reach out to the non-English speaking Bangla media. I’m really glad to have this opportunity to speak with them. Yes, I want to come back with my family and spend some time with the tree plantation.”
He said he wants to go out for mangrove forest. “And I want to go outside in the city of Bangladesh and do some exploring. I want to explore the city itself. I had a wonderful opportunity today to walk away down the street of Sylhet and talk to people.“
“I think it is water or what it is? Something magical about Sylhet that inspires people to live here, go and experience great success around the world and bring along that back to their families,” Miller concluded