Chapter of the Year 2020: South Asia Chapter of ASIS&T

Md. Anwarul Islam, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Information Science and Library Management and

Chair of the South Asia Chapter, ASIS&T (2019-2020)

Photo: The writer with the ASIS&T President, Clara M. Chu

My journey with ASIS&T started in 2015 as a PhD student. It was an eye-opening meeting for me to meet famous people under one roof. The various Chapters, SIGs, Committees, the annual meeting and webinars make the association vibrant and useful for an early career researcher like me. For me, it was a matchmaking place of finding great researchers in my research areas. Slowly but surely I got involved with the membership committee, Asia Pacific Chapter, SIG-III, SIG-KM and other volunteering activities.

Over the last five years, I have participated in every annual meeting except 2016. I had served in a variety of panels and presentations, published in ASIS&T publications as author and served as a reviewer.

In 2017 at Washington D.C., me and Naresh (President-Elect, ASIS&T) talked for the first time to frame a South Asia Chapter. As a New Leader Awardee of ASIS&T, I started working with Naresh Agarwal to establish this chapter. Naresh was my mentor for this project and we did finalize all this and submitted to board. It was approved by the ASIS&T board in September 2018. On that time ASIS&T has 14 regional chapters and 39 student chapters in different universities. Of these, the South Asia chapter was the newest regional chapter.

South Asia is a region of the world comprising the 8 countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. Together, its population is 1.891 billion, which is more than one-fourth of the world population.

Photo: ASIS&T chapters meeting 2019, Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne

After establishing this chapter, we had worked hard to provide a networking platform among information science professionals in this region, help increase ASIS&T membership in South Asia, and to help enhance the quality and diversity of LIS education and practice through networking and other forms of collaboration such as webinars, presence in the ASIS&T Annual Meeting, regional conferences, seminars and workshops, and opportunities for collaborative research.

In February 2020, South Asia Chapter- ASIS&T and the Department of Information Science and Library Management, University of Dhaka jointly organized an international symposium entitled “Empowering the Library and Information Professionals for Achieving the SDGs”. More than two hundred participants were attended in this international symposium from home and abroad. Scholars, academicians and professionals from Malaysia, India, Bangladesh and National Information Officer from United Nations Information Center (UNIC), Dhaka delivered a number of presentations covering various aspects of the theme.

This chapter hosted a series of webinars on many LIS/IS research areas, sponsored a seminar in India and International conference in Pakistan. We did work hard to recruit new members and retain these members with various activities. In the few years since its establishment (as in September 2018), the chapter has now more than 110 members from South Asian countries.

South Asia Chapter of ASIS&T is the recipient of ‘Chapter of the Year Award’ to recognize outstanding chapter for its contributions to ASIS&T. It was great team efforts and our officers worked hard. This is indeed the result of great team leadership and support from our Advisor Dr Naresh Agarwal.

I am looking forward to sustaining the growth of our new chapter.  As a Bangladeshi LIS academician, I feel honoured and privileged to lead this chapter as a Chair.