Bangladesh will organize a world peace conference next year, marking the 50th year of the country’s Liberation War and birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, as part of promoting a culture of peace and tolerance.
“Bangabandhu was a proponent of peace and addressing problems with dialogue, diplomacy and peaceful resolution of conflict. We should inculcate the culture of tolerance to all people irrespective of caste, creed, ethnicity and religion,” said Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen.
He was speaking at the first lecture of the Bangabandhu Lecture Series hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen will deliver a lecture on Bangabandhu next month. Eminent scholars from home and abroad will deliver lectures at least one each month throughout the next one year.
Former Finance Minister AMA Muhith delivered the first lecture on the life and legacy of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
At the inaugural address via a virtual platform, the Foreign Minister said there cannot be any development without peace, and peace is hampered when there is a lack of tolerance for difference of opinions and faith.
The Rohingyas in Myanmar were uprooted because of the venom of intolerance, he said.
Stating Bangabandhu’s foreign policy principle, “friendship to all and malice to none”, he said Bangladesh continues to maintain the policy and opposes violence and wars.
Momen said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman spent his entire life to empower people, alleviate poverty, promotion of democracy and rule of law. He wanted to ensure food for all people who faced serious deprivation and injustice during the Pakistan regime.
He said today, Bangladesh is a food-sufficient country and a vibrant economy from what was once dubbed as bottomless basket.
Bangladesh is rapidly developing in economic and social terms.
However, given that the country has undertaken a number of mega infrastructure projects, critics fear a debt trap, which actually is not right.
The country’s borrowing from China is only 6.5 percent, while it is only 1.3 percent from India. Also, the cost of borrowing will not shoot up, he said.
“We will become a developed nation, a Shonar Bangla by 2041,” Momen said.
He said Bangladesh will hold seminars and exhibitions next year in over 60 Bangladesh missions where Bangabandhu Centers were established to showcase Bangladesh, her achievements and the values of peace and tolerance. Besides, two outstanding diplomats – one Bangladesh and another foreign diplomat in Bangladesh – will be recognised with gold medals.
Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said Bangabandhu was a visionary leader not only of Bangladesh, but of the world, who preached his ideals for the world’s deprived people. In his address to the UN, he spoke half the time for the people of Africa.
Bangabandhu dreamt of a secular, just and democratic society where all people have freedom – ideals that led to the creation of Bangladesh based not on religion, but of language and culture. The brave leader preached the ideals against the tyranny of the Pakistani rulers, created opinions and led the struggle for the country’s independence, he said.
“Bangabandhu was so farsighted that he enacted the maritime law in 1974 and we had only a few things to amend in 2014 before delimiting our maritime boundary,” Muhith said.