The British High Commission Dhaka hosted its annual Queen’s Birthday Party (QBP) on 25 May 2022, after a gap of two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the event had a special significance as The Queen is celebrating her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne.
Her Majesty The Queen has ruled for longer than any other monarch in British history, becoming a much loved and respected figure across the globe. The Jubilee is a central element of an exciting year of UK culture and creativity, including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the BBC’s Centenary. The Platinum Jubilee will be celebrated in the UK over an extended four-day weekend in June.
Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP, Hon’ble Speaker, Bangladesh Parliament, graced the reception as guest of honour. A wide range of dignitaries from the Government of Bangladesh; representatives from Commonwealth nations, OECD and EU countries; and leaders from the fields of business, trade, social development, academia, arts, culture, media and sports joined the celebration.
In honour of Her Majesty, the theme of the event was Empowering Girls to Change Their World. The British High Commission invited girls and young women from across Bangladesh to join the party and introduce themselves to guests, sharing their dreams for the future. A significant portion of the sponsorship raised for the event will be used to support girls’ education across Bangladesh through the British Council’s EDGE Programme.
EDGE, standing for English and Digital for Girls’ Education, is designed to help adolescent Bangladeshi girls to receive capacity building, career counselling, mentorship, language skills, digital navigation skills and, importantly, how to protect themselves from child marriage, cyber bullying, gender-based harassment and intimidation. Launched in September 2021, the new phase of the programme aims to improve life skills for out-of-school and marginalised adolescent girls and build their self-confidence to enable them to have a greater say in their futures. The programme is currently providing training to 2,400 young girls in Bangladesh and helping to give them economic opportunities and strengthen their voices.
Robert Chatterton Dickson, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, said:
“I am thrilled to welcome our friends in Bangladesh to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s birthday and Platinum Jubilee marking her 70 year reign – a unique milestone. Her Majesty has been an incredible source of strength for the UK and the Commonwealth through a period of enormous change.
“Today, thanks to the generosity of our partners, we are making a donation to further the causes of girls’ education and women’s empowerment in Bangladesh. Through this contribution we pay tribute to Her Majesty’s exemplary devotion to a life of service and celebrate the international cooperation she has championed throughout her reign.”
During the evening, beneficiaries of the British Council’s Active Citizens, LEAD Bangladesh, Pathways to Empower Young Women in Bangladesh and EDGE programmes, and students from the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh, highlighted the importance of investing in women and girls to build a prosperous, diverse and peaceful world. In Bangladesh, the UK’s work provides access to education to marginalised children, especially girls, and works with the Government of Bangladesh to strengthen the country’s education system and to make education more equitable for girls.