History of AIBS
The American Institute of Bangladesh Studies (AIBS) was established in 1989 as a result of an initiative undertaken by Professor Craig Baxter of Juniata College, and joined by faculty members from Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, University of Chicago, Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), and the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. In 1989, AIBS signed an agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Government of Bangladesh (GOB), for a financial contribution to fund fellowships for U.S scholars to conduct research in Bangladesh. The first fellowship award was made in 1990.
In 1991-92 AIBS connected with the United States Information Agency (USIA) to obtain additional funding for educational exchanges between the United States and Bangladesh. AIBS received funding from USIA to establish four additional programs. These included the Extension Bangladesh Lecture Series, the Research and Development Seminars, the Undergraduate Research Fellowship Grant, and the Faculty Support Funds.
In 1993, AIBS became a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) and since then has received funds from CAORC to continue these programs. Founded in 1981, CAORC is a private not-for-profit federation of 22 independent overseas research centers that promote advanced research, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, with focus on the conservation and recording of cultural heritage and the understanding and interpretation of modern societies. CAORC fosters research projects across national boundaries, encourages collaborative research and programmatic and administrative coherence among member centers, and works to expand their resource base and service capacity. AIBS launched the Dhaka Center in 2010, which facilitates AIBS Fellows, hosts a montly lecture series, and hosts a JSTOR access computer for scholarly research.
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More about CAORC
CAORC member centers maintain a permanent presence in the host countries where they operate—in Europe, Latin America, the Near and Middle East, West Africa, and Central, South, and Southeast Asia. The centers are the primary vehicle through which American scholars carry out research vital to our understanding of and intersection with other cultures. Nearly 400 American universities, colleges, and museums hold more than 1,000 memberships in the centers, which serve their institutional members, individual fellows and members, as well as affiliated scholars through a broad range of services. CAORC and the centers are supported by the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as foundations, businesses, and individuals. CAORC and the centers promote international scholarly exchange, primarily through sponsoring fellowship programs, foreign language study, and collaborative research projects. The centers facilitate access to research resources, provide a forum for contact and exchange, offer library and technical support and accommodation, and disseminate information to the scholarly and general public through conferences, seminars, exhibitions, and publications. Because of the centers’ contributions to the generation of knowledge, the creation of area expertise, and cordial relations between the United States and the host countries, scholars often seek CAORC’s help in establishing similar centers in other parts of the world.