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Introducing our Bangladesh Hub Lead

Emadul Islam Joins 10 Billion Strong to lead our Bangladesh Environmental Leadership Accelerator

We're very excited to welcome Emadul to the team. Emadul brings a wealth of experience as a researcher and development practitioner. Passionate about the nexus of sustainable development and disaster management, Emadul knows well from growing up in Bangladesh that some areas of the world are front and center of climate change adaptation.

As part of getting to know him and to share his expertise, 10 Billion Strong founder Patrick Arnold interviewed him.* Please read on to get to know more about Emadul.

Patrick: You have a lot of great experience in the social sector. Where does your inspiration come from? How did you become interested in environmental issues?

Emdul: I was born in a village. My childhood inspired me to choose the development profession. I have seen my parents and fellow villagers struggling with poverty and natural disasters like floods and cyclones. When I set my foot at my university, I was determined to do research on community development and disaster-related issues. Within a few days, I began to understand that this problem is not only for my village, it's a national problem. After that, I explored other social and environmental factors that influenced these problems. Thus far in my career, I have been involved in many environment-related social platforms. I believe that our younger generations can play an important role to contribute to an environmentally friendly and sustainable economic development pathway. Although many issues inspired me to work for environment protection issues, my childhood struggle is one of them.

Patrick: What do you think are the biggest environmental issues facing Bangladesh right now?

Emadul: Sea level rise and natural disasters like floods caused by cyclones are our main challenges. Similarly, our cities cannot support overpopulation, which created new air pollution challenges. Deforestation, unplanned urbanization, and rapid industrialization has created massive air pollution

Patrick: You recently completed your PhD in Malaysia. What do you hope to take from that experience in your work in Bangladesh?

Emadul: I have tried to promote a concept of sustainable disaster recovery in the context of developing countries in Asia. I am conducting several research projects on these issues and hope they lead to giving our coastal communities more priority for resources. Similarly, I plan to do policy advocacy in the high-levels of national and international government bodies using evidence-based practices for sustainable disaster recovery frameworks. In addition, I plan to create a talent pool who will be passionate about environmental crisis issues, and do research and policy advocacy.

Patrick: Emerging leaders might not know where to start to take action or might be intimidated to take the first steps. What advice do you have for young people as they develop into leaders?

Emadul: From my experience, extracurricular activities help a lot to develop leadership skills at an early age. Being involved in youth volunteer platforms could help to determine their career goals. I believe that the combination of knowledge and wisdom is essential to creating impact. Youth leaders who have a clear vision to create social impact for their community or country, should start early to help to generate wisdom in particular subjects.

*The interview was edited and condensed.

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