Associate Professor Md. Khalequzzaman
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - The Government of Bangladesh has invited a Lock Haven University professor to be one of the international experts to participate in a forum on coal policy. Associate Professor Md. Khalequzzaman of the Department of Geology and Physics will participate in a roundtable discussion in Bangladesh June 15 – 18, 2009.Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in
the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate
programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and
work in Pennsylvania.
The Government of Bangladesh (GOB) selected Khalequzzaman to be one of the ten panelists based on his research on the impact of coal mining on streams in Central Pennsylvania. He has been carrying out research on the impacts of coal mining and agriculture in stream and soils in Central Pennsylvania. Khalequzzaman has been doing this research with external grants for the last three years. All of his research projects involve undergraduate students. Upon graduation, many of his student research assistants have found jobs in geology and water-related environmental fields.
Khalequzzaman believes he will be able to add much value to the formulation of the coal policy in Bangladesh, and will be able to put his knowledge of Pennsylvania coal mining and its impacts on the environment to use. “This will provide me the opportunity to bridge the gap between Bangladesh and Pennsylvania,” he said.
Bangladesh discovered coal deposits a few years ago, and wants to mine it. Since Bangladesh does not have experience with coal mining, and since there is no national policy about coal mining, the GOB is looking for direct input in this policy-making process from Non-resident Bangladeshi (NRB) experts who have hands-on experience with coal mining and related environmental issues.
Khalequzzaman feels extremely honored to receive this invitation. He feels that this is one of the milestones in his career, because this will give him the opportunity to directly contribute to policy-making process at national level for his native country.
The invitation to Khalequzzaman describes the importance of a sound coal policy for the socio-economic development of Bangladesh. The letter states that “Sustainable energy supply is a pre-requisite for economic development of the country.” Currently, the supply of commercial energy in Bangladesh is almost mono-dependent on indigenous natural gas. It is unlikely that the country will be able to sustain such mono-dependency given the limitations of proven gas reserves. Coal prospects in Bangladesh could provide an alternative energy source.
Other panelists at the Draft Coal Policy Forum include faculty and mining professionals from other institutions in the US and Australia. All expenses, including participants’ air fare, will be borne by the GOB and the Bangladesh Oil, Gas & Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla).
Khalequzzaman said that he is “very pleased to go as a representative of LHU in an international area where experts from other reputed universities and organization from various countries will also be present. This speaks volumes about the quality of faculty and research that LHU fosters.”
David White, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, agreed. “It is an honor for both Dr. Khalequzzaman and for Lock Haven University for Dr. K (as he is usually called) to be asked to contribute to the formation of government policy in Bangladesh. The choice of Dr. K. shows that he is involved in some of the pressing issues of our day and time and that Lock Haven University faculty are in the forefront of research and investigation of these issues and of many others.”
Khalequzzaman holds a Masters degree in Mining Engineering/Geology from Azerbaijan Institute of Petroleum and Chemistry in Baku, formerly USSR, another M.S. and a Ph.D. in Geology from University of Delaware. His areas of expertise and research include water quality and watershed management in Central Pennsylvania and water-related environmental problems in Bangladesh. He teaches several upper division geology courses, including hydrogeology, water chemistry, GIS, and coastal oceanography. He has numerous publications on water and energy-related issues in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. Khalequzzaman is a recipient of several national and international awards.
In addition, Khalequzzaman is involved in community-based watershed alliances and environmental research in both Bangladesh and in central Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Susquehanna Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies, the Environmental Focus Group at LHU, Beech Creek Watershed Association, Sugar Valley Watershed Association, and Bangladesh Environment Network.
Khalequzzaman has been working at LHU for eight years. He also served as the chair of the Department of Geology & Physics for three years.