The twenty first century poses new opportunities as well as challenges to the South Asian nations. The challenges faced by the human society go far beyond national boundaries and they extend to governance, poverty, environmental degradation, infectious disease, and international, regional and national security. In South Asia, where the vast majority of people live under conditions of extreme poverty, the challenges on the one hand include poverty eradication by accelerating the present pace of development and on the other hand ensuring democratic and participatory governance where concepts of human rights and political liberty are fully realised. We live in an era of relentless and increasing globalization. South Asian nations recognize the value of regional cooperation for facing the challenges of the twenty first century. Since its inception, the South Asia Foundation (SAF) has also rightly recognized the importance of regional cooperation. The realization of its potential by South Asia, depends, not least, on the development of its human resources. To this end, South Asia needs institutions of excellence for imparting knowledge and skills necessary to confront the new challenges as well as for promoting interconnection between its people through exchange and collaboration. Exchange and collaboration in legal education, research and scholarship are essential both for an understanding of the common trends and traditions of the legal systems of the South Asian countries and for greater harmonization and unification of the laws of the region in future. Indeed, such harmonization and unification can contribute much towards the grander goal of South Asian cooperation. Furthermore, legal education, in the modern sense, means more than teaching the student what the law is. It also means sensitizing him or her to crucial societal issues and the ways in which the law can help address those issues.
Thus, time cannot be more ripe for the establishment of a South Asian institution that places South Asian common law and human rights at its centre. Accordingly, it is proposed that a South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (“SAILS”) be established in Bangladesh as a centre of excellence for research and education in South Asian law and human rights. It is intended that the proposed SAILS will be established as an independent legal entity registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Once established, the Institute will enter into an agreement with University of Asia Pacific (UAP) for purposes of conferral of degrees as well as for cooperation on other related matters. It is understood that UAP will be willing to enter into such an agreement with the proposed Institute, subject to appropriate institutional and financial arrangements.