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Shams shares how to clinch a Fellowship

Atiqul Kabir Tuhin / Campus Desk

Syed Rabius Shamss career line of business has bagged with a professional fellowship of U.S.
State Department, a group study exchange of Rotary International and a cultural exchange
programme of British Council. He also credited to chip in an international and a national
Summer School. Shams reflects his view on the eve of his engagement with the fellowships
and Summer School programmes and go halves the secrecy of how to triumph a fellowship.

Fellowship is a generic term that encompasses nationally/internationally competitive grants,


scholarships and similar funding opportunities for professional enrichment. Typically,
fellowships fund short courses, training programmes, conducting research or investigative
reporting etc. Fellowships are an investment in the participants' future; its a reward for
previous work and push to go further. Its a way of learning other cultures and to meet other
talented and bright people. Fellowships are an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen their
leadership skills and gain in-depth knowledge of development challenges of the participant
field of interest.

Young entrepreneur and freelance journalist Syed Rabius Shams has said that its a good
technique to communicate with the host organization asking any queries. But before that
applicant needs to carefully read the application instruction and frequently ask questions
(FAQ), the requirements, eligibility, documents required, recommendation letters, country,
Language specification and interview procedure etc. Most of the host organizations ask for
online application though some are still required hard copies. But the most significant part is
to answer the queries in the application process to the point. It is wise to do net-practice
earlier to apply.

He said that Fellows today are increasingly interconnected. They are getting digitally linked
though various social media groups and it enhance the participants professional as all as
personal life. I think some of our young professional and entrepreneurs are doing really well
with lots of experimentation, which has drawn the attention of the international community,
Shams said. We have established a strong foothold in South Asia. However, that is not the
case in other Asian countries where the fellowship is highly competitive. But the day is not far
when we will be able to gain a foothold there, too adding Bangladeshi young professionals
and entrepreneurs are incredibly talented but they are not nearly as privileged as their
counterparts in other Asian countries he commented.

Shams depicts that the participation of Bangladeshi young professionals and entrepreneurs in
international fellowship arena is squat compared to other Asian countries. Though it is
increasing slowly and steady way day by day nevertheless due to lack of knowledge of proper
application procedure it hinders to attain the fellowships. Shams added that in general the
host organization doesnt look the applicants academic achievement rather to professional
endeavor. They also prefer the candidates international exposure, for instance whether the
applicant achieves any previous fellowships, scholarship or grants. Actually the host
organization wants to know the fellow would do better in his/her professional line and can
bring change in the society. After participating, the Fellows form life-long professional and
personal bonds in a nurturing atmosphere of learning and connections. It is a testimony to the
improved professional status and the progress of his/her personal life and it could be 3 days
up to 2 years or more as a non academic nevertheless professional development programmes
and the duration varies with host to host organization he included.

As per his experience, he said that fellowship does not discriminate against applicants
because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, or any other protected
characteristic as established the host countrys law. Shams said that those who have a
physical disability or other special need and in need another persons assistance can apply
and encouraged to do so in all the fellowships. However, the thoughts, ideas and content of
the application must the candidate. And most of the short fellowship does not allow to bring
any members of your family with you as because in the dependent visas will not be issued, he
remarked.

According to Shams, each and every fellowship has its own criteria and module. To get an idea
how fellowship is consisted of as follows:

Shams has represented Bangladesh at a five-week long professional fellows exchange (PFP)
programme 2016 in the United States during April 30 June 3, hosted by the University of
Oklahomas Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication that teamed up with the
Center for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) of BRAC University. Under the theme
Economic Empowerment the programme was sponsored by the U.S. Department of States
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs wing which included a professional placement at an
American small business organization, lecture sessions on entrepreneurship, leaderships and
sightseeing in Oklahoma. Young entrepreneurs from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar of each
country participated in the PFP programme as well.
The PFP ended with Professional Fellows Congress Spring 2016 where 263 emerging global
leaders from 43 countries of gathered concluding intensive month-long fellowship placements
with states and local government offices, NGOs, media outlets, and businesses in 29 States
across the United States was held in Washington DC between May 31 and June 2.

Shams was also grabbed the Group Study Exchange better known as GSE programme of
Rotary Foundation of the Rotary International held in California during October 15 to
November 13, 2009 along with other three non-Rotarian young professionals and a Rotarian
Team Leader from Bangladesh. The vocational and cultural exchange programme was
consisted with mixing and exchanging views with the U.S. young professionals, attending
various Rotary Club meetings, visiting various local Rotary Club projects and a Rotary District
Conference held from October 23 to 25. In counter, 4 young professionals including a Team
leader from the Rotary District 5240 also visited Bangladesh in 2010.

Under the auspice of British Council Bangladeshs Connecting Futures initiative, Shams was
endorsed to participate in the International Summer School 2005 jointly organized by Pune-
based Pravah and Centre for Youth Development and Activities (CYDA) with the assistance of
UK-based Young People Change the World (YPCTW) held in Pune, India during 5-13 July. The
Cultural Exchange programme furnished 150 youngsters from 9 countries of the 3 continents
in one meet. Shams had also the opportunity to conquest in the Connecting Futures Summer
School 2005 organized the Centre for Communication Development and Policy Studies
(CCDPS) supported by the British Council held in Dhaka during 06-08 May. The programme
was featured 30 students from different public and private universities from Bangladesh who
participated in the summer camp sessions inclusion in career development, leadership skills,
media and communication etc.

Syed Shams is the founder of NewsfeedPR, a first-ever public relations startup focusing youth
and entrepreneurship. He is also a freelance journalist a knack for social media, public
communication, entrepreneurship and leadership issues in the various national English and
Bengali dailies and online news-portal in the country since 2009 including the daily sun.

Shams suggests that those who are aspiring to win any international fellowship may frequently
visit youthop.com and ijnet.org though later one is particularly focused for journalists. And
dont be dishearten for the first attempt. Keep trying for second and even third times and
more.