In a world where education has transcended the boundaries of textbooks and classrooms, UBC Arts student Abul Bashar Rahman is a shining example of someone who has fully embraced this shift towards real-world application, hands-on experiences, and impactful contributions.
As part of the Arts Entrepreneurial Co-op (Arts E-Co-op), Bashar is currently cycling across his homeland of Bangladesh to produce a documentary about his people’s remarkable resilience in the face of climate catastrophes.
From COP 27 to Bangladesh
The Arts E-Co-op program empowers students with funding to dedicate full-time efforts towards a passion project, supported by the Arts Co-op office. The program adapts the experiential learning part of Co-op to be more self-driven, and inspires students to explore unconventional paths for their Arts degree.
Bashar was inspired to apply to the program when he saw the opportunity to address an issue close to his heart: the impact of climate change in Bangladesh. While attending the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) as a UBC delegate, he first recognized the glaring absence of Bangladesh’s voice in the climate conversation. “At COP 27, I discovered that while world leaders were discussing strategies, the voices from Bangladesh were missing.”
Preparing for the trip
Inspired by the resilience of his people, Bashar named his project Stories of Change as a testament to his deep connection with his roots and his desire to bridge the gap between local realities and global discourse on climate change. “The strength and adaptability I’ve witnessed in our local communities and the unspoken stories of survival and hope were calling out to be shared,” he explains.
The Arts E-Co-op program helped him prepare for his trip with funding and mentorship. The support from the program was instrumental in moving the project forward and ensuring his vision would be strategically impactful. The funds have allowed him to invest in essential resources for his 45-day journey and maintain the momentum necessary to document the stories that were previously untold, unheard, and unseen.
“This Arts E-Co-op experience has been a catalyst for my academic, career, and personal growth. The lessons I've gained on resilience, empathy, leadership, and advocacy are something that could never be replicated in a classroom.”
Highlights and the future of the project
In reflecting on his experience so far, one of the standout aspects of the Arts E-Co-op program for Bashar has been the sense of community and shared purpose. “Being surrounded by like-minded individuals and mentors, all striving for change, has fueled my passion and determination. This E-Co-op experience has been a catalyst for my academic, career, and personal growth. The lessons I’ve gained on resilience, empathy, leadership, and advocacy are something that could never be replicated in a classroom,” he says.
“Arts E-Co-op offers you a unique platform to apply your skills, innovate, lead, and make a tangible difference. It's more than just an academic program; it's an opportunity to shape your destiny and contribute to society.”
Additionally, Bashar’s Arts degree has also played a pivotal role in his ability to frame the stories of resilience in a compelling manner. “My Arts degree has provided me with the analytical and creative skills to understand and articulate complex human narratives,” he says.
For students interested in applying for the E-Co-op program, Bashar has this to share: “E-Co-op offers you a unique platform to apply your skills, innovate, lead, and make a tangible difference. Dive in with an open heart and a focused mind. Don’t be afraid to pursue what truly resonates with you.”
As for the future, Bashar’s journey with the “Stories of Change” project is far from over. He envisions extensive fieldwork, collaboration with local communities, policy advocacy, and a global awareness campaign. Through his efforts, he aspires to influence policies, inspire communities, and foster a culture of resilience in Bangladesh and beyond.
If you’re ready to embark on a journey of growth, impact, and self-discovery, consider applying for the Arts Co-op Program to access the opportunity to pursue E-Co-op. Whether you have a vision to create change, a passion to pursue, or a story to tell, E-Co-op offers a unique platform to turn your aspirations into reality. Apply by September 19, 2023.