Jun 24, 2011

Sylff@Tokyo: Bangladeshi Fellow Becomes Full-Time Researcher for Japanese Research Institute

Sylff fellow Abu Shonchoy of Bangladesh visited the Tokyo Foundation office on June 8, 2011, after becoming the first non-Japanese to be hired as a full-time researcher by the Institute of Developing Economies of the Japan External Trade Organization.

Shonchoy has been assigned to the Microeconomic Analysis Studies Group of IDE-JETRO and will conduct research into development economics, labor economics, public finance, and applied econometrics.

JETRO is a government-affiliated organization that promotes mutual trade and investment. Established in 1958 to promote Japanese exports, JETRO's core focus in the twenty-first century has shifted to promoting foreign direct investment in Japan and helping Japanese SMEs to maximize their export potential.

Shonchoy received a BA from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and earned a doctorate in economics in 2010 from the Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales, where he was a recipient of a Sylff fellowship.

"I enjoy teaching, so I considered staying in academia," comments Shonchoy. He was a visiting professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in February-March 2011 and will be lecturing a course on "Development Economics: A Microeconomic Approach" this winter as a member of the practitioner faculty at the University of Tokyo.

"But I also need to do research, which I'm able to do thank to funding from the Institute of Developing Economies. That's why I decided to join the organization. I'm now studying the relationship between access to microcredit and temporary seasonal migration, an issue which is largely ignored in standard research on rural-urban migration.

"Thanks to Sylff, I was able to focus my doctoral research on areas in which I was most interested," says Shonchoy. "I've always been very grateful to Sylff for giving me such an opportunity, but I never thought I would actually come and work in Japan, where the fellowship originated. I hope to return the generosity with research that will contribute to building a better society for all."

The Tokyo Foundation welcomes visits by Sylff fellows or faculty members of Sylff institutions anytime to exchange views with the Foundation's research fellows and program officers. Interested fellows and faculty members should contact Mari Suzuki of the Foundation at scholarship[at] (replace [at] with @).