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UNESCO Bangabandhu Int’l Award to help spread Bangabandhu’s ideology globally: FM

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said the UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Award will help spread the ideology of Bangabandhu globally with further internationalisation of his work, life and achievements.

“Bangladesh and Bangabandhu are one and unique which was reflected in the name of the award. This award will play a role in branding Bangladesh and boosting its image globally,” he told reporters at his office.

The UNESCO Executive Board unanimously adopted a proposal for the establishment of UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Prize in the field of the creative economy.

It will reward global initiatives of youth in the field of creative economy.

The proposal was adopted at the plenary of the virtual segment of the 210th Executive Board, according to UNESCO.

The decision came as Bangladesh is celebrating the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through yearlong programmes.

The 210th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board is being held in two segments. The first segment was held from December 2-11 virtually.

Dr Momen said for the first time any UN agency introduced an international award in the name of Bangabandhu. “We all are very proud of it.”

He said the UNESCO having 193 member States finds culture as the powerful element in building peace and harmony in which Bangabandhu believed.

The document containing the decision has been uploaded on UNESCO website for the Executive Board, Dr Momen said.

Having unflinching faith in the power of culture to build and sustain peace and social cohesion, Bangladesh tabled a proposal to institute a prize titled “UNESCO Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Prize” for the Creative Economy.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a proposal to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and it was sent to UNESCO through Bangladesh Mission in Paris upon approval from the Prime Minister in August 2019, Dr Momen said.

The award will be given every two years and the prize money will be US$ 50,000. It will be given in November next year at the 41st General Conference of UNESCO for the first time, he said.

Through introducing this award in Mujib Borsho, the UNESCO directly joined the celebrations of birth centenary of Bangladesh’s founding father.

In 2017, the UNESCO enlisted Bangabandhu’s March 7 speech in “Memory of the World”.  In 1999, UNESCO honoured Bangladesh by declaring February 21 as International Mother Language Day.

Dr Momen said UNESCO introduced international awards in the name of 23 famous individuals and institutions and this is for the first time that it introduced such award for a Bangladeshi and widely respected personality.

On behalf of Bangladesh, Ambassador of Bangladesh to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO Kazi Imtiaz Hossain conveyed deep appreciation to members of the Board who have conveyed their support to the proposal.

Bangladesh says it is strongly committed to multilateralism and believes, through building and harnessing partnership and working in concert, they can successfully overcome present and future challenges, no matter how daunting they may be.

Despite many challenges, the Board finally agreed to adopt all decisions taken during this segment, and not wait till the completion of the second segment to adopt all decisions as a whole.

The second and the final segment of the Session will be held ‘in presentia’ mode from January 20-27 next year.

Earlier, Bangladesh’s proposal was considered and approved by the Joint Meeting of the Programme and External Relations Commission and the Finance and Administrative Commission on December 9.

The Joint Commission recommended the adoption of the decision at the plenary which was done on December 11.

The Executive Board recognised the potential of the creative sector to provide young people with economically and environmentally sustainable jobs, in line with the UNESCO Operational Strategy on Youth 2014-2021.

It also recognised the necessity to encourage women in the creative economy, in line with UNESCO’s global priority gender equality.

The UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Prize for the Creative Economy will create a knowledge-sharing mechanism by capturing, celebrating and communicating best practice in the development of creative entrepreneurship, according to UNESCO document.

The objectives of the UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Prize for the Creative Economy are in line with strategic objective 8 of UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy for 2014-2021 and with the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The historic March 7 speech of Bangabandhu was inscribed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2017, and in 2019, UNESCO’s General Conference, at its 40th session, decided that UNESCO will be associated with the birth centenary celebrations of Bangabandhu in 2020-2021.

The Prize reflects Bangabandhu’s early work as a youth change-maker and his belief in gender and social equity and youth empowerment.

The Prize will be fully managed and administered by UNESCO.