Letters from HUAP

Dr. Md Tofazzal Islam

Professor and Founding Director, Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University

When I was asked to be a Hokkaido University Ambassador by my teacher, Professor Atsushi Yokota, who is now Executive Vice-President of the University, the words of Professor William Smith Clark, “Boys, be ambitious” first came to my mind. I was very delighted to know that my alma mater was ranked among the top ten universities in the world by the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022.

I had the opportunity to do my MS, PhD, and Postdoctoral studies at Hokkaido University from 1997 under the extraordinary guidance of Professor Satoshi Tahara at the Graduate School of Agriculture. There are lots of unforgettable special memories from my life in Sapporo, besides my research activities. In particular, I have a strong impression of meeting then President Mutsuo Nakamura and then Director and Vice President Kenichi Nakamura at the ceremony held in 2005 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Bangladesh Society Sapporo (BSS).

Hokkaido University is a seat for higher learning and doing impactful research in the world. The most important aspect of the University is that it offers enormous opportunities to students and researchers for cultural exchange, extracurricular activities, and networking, and is rich in innovation and internationalization. Not only knowledge and research skills, but I also gained the lofty ambition and spirit from Hokkaido University to pioneer my own research. I owe the University for transforming my dream, way of thinking, and mind.

As an Ambassador, I would like to unite all Hokkaido University alumni in Bangladesh and spread the spirit and light of HU to my country and beyond through various academic, social, and cultural activities. We may form interconnected national virtual social platforms for exchanging views and ideas among the alumni, current students, and future students, and also share innovative ideas for the betterment of Hokkaido University. Another idea is to introduce a mentoring system for the current students. Alumni can serve as mentors for the foreign students.

Currently, I am living in the most densely populated city, Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, which is highly different from the well-organized and peaceful city of Sapporo. However, business and hardworking residents in Dhaka seem quite similar to Sapporo. Bangladesh is highly blessed by fertile soils for agriculture, aquaculture, and biodiversity like Hokkaido. The country also has some groups of indigenous people. Bangladesh has the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans; and the longest unbroken sea beach, the Cox’s Bazar.

My family and I consider Hokkaido to be our second home. I will never forget the sweet memories of the snow festival, the summer festival, playing with snow, delicious foods, the friendship of people, and every precious day in the laboratory. My wife completed her PhD at Hokkaido University, and my son had a wonderful time at the nursery and elementary schools. We are grateful to the numerous people of Sapporo. As members of the Hokkaido University family, we feel proud of and wish to maintain our bond. If I get any opportunity to do something for my alma mater, I never miss it. Welcome to visit Bangladesh and allow us an opportunity to be your host.

恩師であり、現在、北大の理事・副学長の横田篤教授からアンバサダーの依頼を受けたとき、すぐに頭に浮かんだのはウィリアム・スミス・クラーク博士の「Boys, be ambitious」という言葉でした。そして、母校がTimes Higher Education ImpactRankings 2022で世界のトップ10にランクインしたことを知ったときには、とても嬉しく思いました。


北海道大学は、世界の中でもインパクトのある研究と高度な教育を行っている大学の一つです。長年過ごして感じた北大の強みは、学生や研究者に文化交流、課外活動、人的ネットワーク形成の多くの機会を提供していること、そして、イノベーションと国際性に富んでいることです。私は北大で、知識や研究スキルだけでなく、自身の研究を切り拓いていく、クラーク博士が唱えた”lofty ambition”(高邁なる大志)とその精神を得ることができました。私にとって北大は、教育と研究の卓越性に加え、国際的に活躍できる若手人材を育成する最高の大学です。私の夢、考え方、そしてマインドを変えてくれた北大に感謝しています。