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Five minutes with award winning alumnus, Mohammad Taqi Yasir

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Mohammad Taqi Yasir tells us what winning the Social Action Award at the British Council Study UK Alumni Awards means to him, and how his University of London degree has helped him drive his social initiatives forward. 

Congratulations on winning the Social Action Award at the British Council Study UK Alumni Awards in Bangladesh! Can you tell us more about what this means to you?

Winning the Study UK Alumni Award under the Social Action category is an incredible honour and validation of the work I've been carrying out through my organisation, Footsteps Bangladesh. I genuinely did not believe that I would win the award especially after seeing the list of distinguished and accomplished individuals who were selected as finalists as well. The award signifies more than just an accolade; it's a testament to the impact that individuals can have when they commit to making a difference in their communities. 

This award serves as a reminder of the collective efforts of the communities I've worked with, as well as the unwavering support of mentors, peers, and organisations that have championed social causes alongside me. It motivates me to continue pushing boundaries, challenging norms, and striving for a more equitable and inclusive world.

Four men in suits on stage at an awards ceremony

Can you tell us more about your current work? 

I received the award for my work through Footsteps Bangladesh. Footsteps Bangladesh is a ‘next generation organisation’ that works to empower communities by integrating the right set of skills and technologies to overcome their social challenges which are currently limiting their development. We design and implement self-sustainable and community specific initiatives in multiple thematic areas including but not limited to Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), climate action, public health, education and skill development, waste management, green energy, and disaster response.

In addition to Footsteps Bangladesh, I have also cofounded an impact-tech company that offers solutions to augment human capabilities and enhance organizational efficiency. I am also working as a Senior Associate at Stellar Chambers where I engage in delivering litigation, arbitration, and advisory services to clients across various sectors, including corporate and commercial law, international trade, foreign investment, power and energy, anti-competition matters, intellectual property, aviation, maritime and shipping, as well as real estate and construction.

 

What have been some of the most rewarding moments of your career so far?

It is very difficult for me to label specific moments of my career as rewarding. I think being able to work in multiple sectors – development, technology and legal – where my job requires me to be directly involved in the service of others is itself quite rewarding and a privilege. 

However, there have been times in each of my workplaces where I felt content and accomplished. With Footsteps it would be when we first set up our water filtration system in a community school. We were later informed by the headmaster that due to our water filtration system, student attendance increased by 70%, owing to a decrease in illness caused by water borne diseases. 

With Planet X, it was when we were informed that due to our remote temperature measuring device, Thersor, the health institutions we served, have been able to better maintain vaccines at the correct temperature. 

With respect to my career as a lawyer, it was when we were able to help our client protect his intellectual property right on a software application from being usurped by one of the biggest multinational companies in Bangladesh.

A woman and her baby getting clean water.

What impact has your University of London degree had on you both personally and professionally? 

Professionally, my University of London degree has opened numerous doors and provided me with a solid foundation in legal principles and practices. It has equipped me with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in various industry sectors. 

Personally, my University of London degree has been transformative. It has instilled in me a sense of intellectual curiosity and a passion for lifelong learning. The rigorous academic curriculum challenged me to think critically, analyse complex issues, and develop a deeper understanding of the world around me. This has not only broadened my perspectives but has also enriched my personal growth and development.

My University of London degree has had a significant impact on me, shaping me into a well-rounded individual with the ability to navigate the complexities of the legal profession while contributing positively to society.

 

Can you share some of your highlights of your time as a University of London student?

The most significant highlight as a student at the University of London was the receipt of my first-class degree classification. The indelible memory of this achievement is etched in my heart, as it took place on July 31, 2017. Waking up, I noticed an email notification from Dr. Simon Askey, the Director of the Undergraduate Laws Programme at the time. Upon opening the email, I came to learn that I have been awarded with a first class in LLB which had left me numb for a minute or two. 

Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate this achievement, especially considering the personal trials that had plagued my final year of study. The struggles I faced along the way only served to make this accomplishment more sweeter, reminding me that resilience and determination can conquer even the most daunting of obstacles.

 

What advice would you give to current students who are soon to be graduating from the University?

As a graduate of University of London, I understand the mix of excitement and uncertainty that graduating students may feel as they transition into the next phase of their lives. Amid the whirlwind of professional life, remember to prioritise your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Take time to celebrate your accomplishments, cultivate mindfulness, and maintain a healthy balance between work and personal. 

Reflecting on my own journey, my advice to all upcoming graduates would be to pursue opportunities that align with your passions and values. The road to success is not straightforward and setbacks are inevitable. One must bear in mind that failure is a natural part of the learning process and an opportunity for growth. Follow your heart, and success will follow. When doing so, you must exercise patience and resilience.

 

What is next for you? Are there any plans and dreams you are willing to share?

Life has taught me a profound lesson over the years and it has been that things never really go according to your plan but at the end of the day the pattern is written in the individual parts. Thus, I don’t believe in making any specific plans, but I do have a lot of dreams and aspirations and one of them is self-sustainability for Footsteps Bangladesh and Planet X Inc. 

I want my work to be impactful, meaningful and to go beyond me.

Having said that, I have always wanted to play an impactful role in the development of my country. Driven by this passion, I ventured into unchartered territories which led me to cofounding Footsteps Bangladesh and Planet X. Now, I want to identify more impactful avenues to contribute to the advancement of Bangladesh.

My excitement is because I see so much potential in our people and the opportunities that this country has to offer, and I look forward to exploring new avenues and embarking on journeys brimming with promise and potential. Driven by a strong sense of purpose, I am committed to leaving a lasting impact on the advancement of my homeland.