Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organised a Seminar on “Promoting Cultural Diversity of Small Ethnic Groups in Bangladesh” on 17 April 2017 at BIISS Auditorium in Dhaka. Professor Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Adviser to the Hon’ble Prime Minister on International Affairs was the Chief Guest of the Seminar. Mr. Naba Bikram Kishore Tripura, ndc, Secretary, Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs chaired the seminar. Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS delivered the address of welcome.
Dr. Syed Anwar Husain, Supernumerary Professor, Dept. of History, University of Dhaka delivered the keynote presentation. Professor Dr. Anwar Husain explored different important aspects of ethnic groups’ culture that include language, tradition, festivals etc. He also highlighted on how these groups are contributing to enrich the cultural diversity of Bangladesh through diverse social customs and cultures. He discussed the opportunities of cultural exchange and cooperation for their development. Major General (Retd.) Anup Kumar Chakma, Former Ambassador of Bangladesh to Myanmar; and Professor Meghna Guhathakurta, Research Initiative Bangladesh on behalf of Major General Md. Jahangir Kabir Talukder, awc, psc, GOC, 24 Infantry Division, Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS spoke as the panel discussants in the Seminar.
In his welcome address, Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS, noted that the active participation of small ethnic groups with their creative thoughts, perception and knowledge is important for the successful implementation of vision 2021. In his remarks as the Chief Guest, Professor Dr. Gowher Rizvi said that this seminar will contribute in strengthening communal harmony between the Bengali people and people of different small ethnic groups in Bangladesh through cultural exchange and co-operation. Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Chairman, Board of Governors, BIISS, also mentioned the necessity of engaging various ethnic groups to ensure sustainable national development in his vote of thanks.
Representatives of different small ethnic groups in Bangladesh, scholars, academia, policy makers, former and current government officials, former ambassadors, military officials, students, representatives from media were present in the seminar. They highlighted and deliberated on various aspects of promoting cultural diversity of different small ethnic groups in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organised the Country Lecture on “France: Its challenges and Foreign Policy” on 13 April, 2017 at BIISS auditorium. The lecture was delivered by H. E. Mrs. Sophie Aubert, Ambassador of France to Bangladesh. She spoke about the various challenges France is facing both in domestic and foreign field. She also spoke about France’s foreign policy in the contemporary world.
The lecture was inaugurated and chaired by Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS. High-level military officials, scholars, academia, officials from law enforcement agencies, policy makers, current government officials, members of diplomatic corps, representatives from development partner organisations and media were present and participated in the open discussion session. They highlighted on issues related to the lecture.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organised a Seminar on 29th March, 2017 commemorating 25 March- Ganohottya Dibosh (Genocide Day) in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The seminar was divided into three sessions – Inaugural, Working and Concluding. Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP, Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh inaugurated the Seminar as the Chief Guest. Mr. Shahriar Kabir, President, Ekattorer Ghatak-Dalal Nirmul Committee made a keynote presentation in the inaugural session. Major General AKM Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS delivered the address of welcome while Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Chairman, Board of Governors, BIISS presided over the inaugural and concluding sessions and delivered his vote of thanks. The working session was presided over by Mr. Mahbub Uz Zaman, Secretary (Asia & Pacific), Ministry of Foreign Affairs while Dr. Syed Anwar Husain, Supernumerary Professor, Department of History, University of Dhaka and Mr. Julian Francis, Social Worker made presentations in the session respectively. Mr. Anisul Huq, MP, Honourable Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh delivered his address as the Chief Guest in the concluding session while Professor Payam Akhavan, McGill University and Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Heague, delivered his address as the Special Guest of the session.
On 11 March 2017, Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad (National Parliament) unanimously adopted a resolution to observe 25th March as Ganohottya Dibosh (Genocide Day) in remembrance of the three million victims of mass killing during the nine month long Bangladesh liberation war in 1971. The Pakistani occupation forces unleashed a barbaric genocide on the unarmed Bengalis in the darkness of night on 25 March 1971, codenamed “Operation Search Light”. This forced Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to proclaim independence of Bangladesh in the early hours of 26 March 1971, launching the Bengali nation into the war of liberation. During the nine months of the war of liberation, the Pakistani occupation forces unabatedly perpetrated the genocide and crimes against humanity that they started on 25 March 1971. They brutally killed 3 million Bengalis and tortured and raped over 200,000 women during this period. Due to the brutality of the Pakistani forces, 30 million Bengalis were internally displaced and 10 million were forced to take refuge in India. The Pakistani forces started the genocide by targeting the teachers, students, members of Police and Paramilitary on 25th March. When the defeat of the Pakistani forces was inevitable, they methodically rounded up and killed large numbers of professionals such as professors, doctors, journalists, writers, cultural activists. All these carnage was committed with a well thought out plan and in cold blood aiming to destroy the Bengali nation. The Seminar on 29th March, 2017 commemorating 25 March- Ganohottya Dibosh (Genocide Day) played a key role to instigate discussions regarding finding out possible strategies in order to achieve international recognition for the 25 March.
Officials from different ministries of Bangladesh, representatives from different national and international organisations, current and former ambassadors, representatives of different embassies, Bangladeshi freedom fighters, media and academia, actively participated in the open discussion and expressed their valuable opinions, observations, questions and suggestions on how Bangladesh should proceed for successfully gaining international recognition of the atrocities committed during 1971 as genocide.