The trip to Chittagong Hill Tracts organized by AOFA from 31 January to 2nd February, 2024 was a great success.
16 AOFA Members and their spouses travelled by bus to Rangamati in response to an invitation extended by the Chairman of Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board, Ambassador Supradip Chakma. He is also one of the six Members of the AOFA Executive Committee.
First day’s journey started from the Foreign Service Academy, Bailey Road, Dhaka around 1020 hrs. With a break for lunch near the Comilla Cantonment at 1245 hrs to 1415 hrs, the team reached Vatiary Bangladesh Military Academy around 1615 hrs. Ambassador Supradip Chakma joined the AOFA guests there and accompanied the group.
Leaving BMA around 1645, we reached Rangamati around 1900 hrs via Hathazari and Rangunia. An armed Police escort in a patrol car led our bus from Hathazari to the Rangamati hilltop hotel run by the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation. The roads ran through the hills and involved steep climbs, sharp turns and breathtaking descends. The last portion of the road leading to the hilltop hotel, was especially spectacular to negotiate.
Mrs.Nandita Chakma, wife of Ambassador Supradip, warmly received us at the hotel gate. The hotel was situated high on the banks of the Kaptai Lake and looking through the windows , one got the feeling of looking at the Lake Geneva.
After a quick shower and change of dress, we were taken to an old Rajbari (King’s abode) which had been converted into Sabarang restaurant. The food served included some exotic but delicious tribal items. One item that caught most of the guests by surprise was the Morich varta( smashed green chillies).
Next morning, 1st February, we left the hotel by 0915 hrs and after a short drive, arrived at one end of the Hanging Bridge. Advised to walk slowly over the bridge, soon we were on the other side. Walking down some concrete steps and some steep, muddy bank we arrived at the lake shore.
The houseboat reserved for us to take a cruise across the lake, was anchored slightly away, in deeper waters. The vital question was, how to bridge the gap? A wooden plank about one foot wide and 30 feet long was laid out. There were no railings to hold on to maintain one’s balance.
The situation called for improvisation and two young men came up with a long bamboo pole. While one person stood on the houseboat with one end of the bamboo securely held on his shoulder, another person stood on the lake shore with the other end of the pole on his shoulder. It was a sort of test of our nerves, fitness and acrobatic skills. Happily, all of us passed the test twice, embarking and disembarking, without causing any untoward incident.
The lake cruise lasted for over two hours. Local pithas and hot/cold drinks were served on board. The experience was heavenly and unforgettable. One un-escapable thought was, how long would it take this incredibly beautiful spot to catch the attention of the international tourists .
At the end of the cruise, our boat docked at Bargee Lake Resort. Secretary of CHT Ministry as well as the DC and Police Super of Rangamati joined us for a quick lunch at the resort. All three looked so young and fit !
Next on the program list was the formal opening of the 3-day Cultural and Food Festival in the Rangamati stadium. It was amazing to see how level ground was snatched from the hills enough to build a stadium.
State Minister for CHT Affairs Mr.Kujendra Lal Tripura.MP was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony. Among others, Mr.Dipankar Talukdar,MP , Mr.Aung Shu Pru Choudhury, Ambassador Ahmed Tariq Karim and AOFA President Ambassador Abdullah Al-Hasan were seated on the dias.In his speech, Amb Tariq Karim lauded the unprecedented development visible in CHT and Amb Abdullah Al-Hasan expressed the hope that in the not too distant a future, CHT would become as well known and popular as Switzerland.
Visit to the large number of stalls set up by various ethnic groups of CHT and a cultural show put up by the tribal people followed. Some of the music and dance items presented were unique and exclusive, not available anywhere else.
The evening’s program was rounded off with a sumptuous dinner at the Rest House run by the CHT Development Board. At the dinner, an AOFA crest was presented to Mrs.Nandita Chakma by Mrs. Nagma Karim, wife of Ambassador Ahmed Tariq Karim as a token of our deep appreciation and thanks.
Next day, 2nd February,2024 we left Rangamati around 1000 hrs for return to Dhaka. However, some Members stayed back to undertake visits to Bandarban and Khagrachori.
With kind regards,
Dhaka, 7th February,2024.
Ambassador Jahangir Saadat, Vice President of AOFA and President of Korean EPZ in Chittagong, has invited AOFA members and their spouses to pay a visit to the Korean EPZ on1-3 March,2024.
Full local hospitality, including locally needed transport, will be extended by the KEPZ authorities.
However, intending visitors will have to bear the cost of transportation up to and from Chittagong.
We have arranged to hire a bus which will start from the premises of Foreign Service Academy, Bailey Road, Dhaka on Friday,1st March, 2024 at day time and will return to the same spot on Sunday, 3rd March,2024 in the afternoon. Any body intending to return earlier or later than scheduled or separately could do so on their own.
Visitors will have to contribute Tk.3,500/- per head and Tk.7,000/- for a couple.
Intending visitors are requested to kindly let us know their decision latest by 15th February,2024. Details of logistics arrangements will be finalised after confirmation of participation by the intending Members.
A copy of the indicative Program in KEPZ is enclosed.
A.F.M.Gousal Azam Sarker,
Secretary General, AOFA, Dhaka
3rd February, 2024
Dear Ambassador Supradip Chakma and Mrs. Nandita Chakma,
On behalf of AOFA members and on my own behalf, I write to convey our deep appreciation and heartfelt thanks to you for inviting us to visit Rangamati.
The visit was made memorable and extremely enjoyable by your careful planning and flawless implementation of the same. It provided us an opportunity to have a glimpse of the inherent beauty of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The touch of your personal care was palpable in every event.
We shall be grateful if you kindly convey our sincere thanks to all your colleagues who were behind making the visit a grand success.
With best regards,
Association of Former BCS(FA) Ambassadors (AOFA),
Dr. Muhammad Hasan Mahmud, MP
Hon’ble Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh,
On behalf of all Members of the Association of Former BCS (FA) Ambassadors (AOFA) and on my own behalf, I extend our heartiest congratulations to you on being appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh.
We are confident that under your inspiring leadership and guidance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to play its due role in protecting the country’s national interests and in projecting her Image.
With kind regards,
Ambassador Abdullah Al-Hasan,
Association of Former BCS(FA) Ambassadors,
Ambassador Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali, MP
Hon’ble Minister of Finance,
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh,
On behalf of all Members of the Association of Former BCS(FA) Ambassadors (AOFA) and on my own behalf, I extend our heartiest congratulations to you on being appointed the Minister of Finance of Bangladesh.
All of us in AOFA are proud of the achievement of such a high position by one of AOFA’s esteemed Members.
We are confident that under your inspiring leadership and guidance, the Ministry of Finance will find a new dynamism and will scale greater heights.
With kind regards,
Ambassador Abdullah Al-Hasan,
Association of Former BCS(FA) Ambassadors,
As salamu alaikum.
Our EC member Ambassador Supradip Chakma, Chairman, Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board, has extended an invitation for visiting Rangamati to enjoy a program of festivities involving local artists of hill districts and their shows/exhibitions along with a specially organized tour program including boat ride.
The festivities will be held on 18 and 19 January,2024, this month.
Suggestion is to arrive in the very morning of 18th, night halt on the 18th and return to Dhaka by the night of 19th.
Amb Supradip Chakma has offered to extend all local hospitalities including accommodation, food, and local logistics. He has already made bookings and is going to keep local administration including SP informed.
We would, therefore, request you to kindly indicate your and your spouse’s participation in this visit program, latest by coming Saturday – 13 January,2024, so that decision could be taken accordingly and travel arrangements could be made preferably by suitable bus.
Cost of travel by bus to and from Rangamati will be Tk. 2500.00 per person (Tk.5000.00 for a couple).
We will much appreciate it if you could kindly indicate ASAP.
With kind regards
A F M Gousal Azam Sarker
Secretary General ,AOFA.
Esteemed Members,Assalamo alaikum.
This is a gentle reminder that AOFA’s AGM, EC Elections and Annual Dinner will be held on Monday,25th December,2023 at the Foreign Service Academy, Bailey Road, Dhaka, starting at 1600 hrs.
We look forward to your gracious presence.
Secretary General, AOFA.
Dhaka, 22nd December,2023
Association of Former BCS(FA) Ambassadors (AOFA)
Ambassadors’ Lounge, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Segun Bagicha, Dhaka.
10th December, 2023
Esteemed Members ,
In consultation with Amb Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury,BB, President of AOFA, it has been decided to hold the next Annual General Meeting of AOFA at 1600 hrs on Monday, 25th December, 2023 at the Foreign Service Academy, Bailey Road, Dhaka.
The Annual General Meeting will be followed by AOFA Executive Committee elections and Annual Dinner.
All AOFA Members, their spouses and all Honorary Members are cordially invited to the Annual Dinner.
All AOFA Members are requested to kindly make it convenient to attend the AGM and also to advise their convenience, preferably, by 17th December, 2023 in order to help us make necessary arrangements.
Secretary General, AOFA
Dhaka, 10th December,2023.
1. Recitation from the holy Quran
2. Recitation from the holy Tripitok
3.Prayers for the Members and Honorary Members who passed away since the last AGM held on 25th December, 2022.
4. Adoption of Agenda
5. Confirmation of the Minutes of last AGM held on 25.12.2022.
6. Secretary General’s Report
7. Treasurer’s Report
8. President’s address and vote of thanks.
9.Any other business
Break for Maghrib prayers
10. Elections for EC
11. Formal Announcement of election results
12. Annual Dinner.
Comments on the Summary of Discussions on Promoting A Culture of Peace
7.Waliur Rahman <email@example.com>
Thu, 12 Oct at 11:35 am
Ambassador Abdullah Al-Hasan
I write to thank you for sending me the summary of the seminar on “Promoting a Culture of Peace”.
It’s well-written and well-thought-out.
With best Wishes.
Chairman Bangladesh Heritage Foundation
International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTBD)
6.AFM Gousal Azam Sarker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sun, 8 Oct at 11:33 am
We have seen sharpness of analysis, precision of clarity and boldness of vision in the keynote paper of Amb. Tariq Karim Sir and in the remarks of learned discussants. Amb. Mahbub Bhai has done a remarkable work in truthfully reporting on the seminar that is of extreme relevance and need in our society in transformation.
Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation. AOFA may organise such programmes on different relevant issues of our society – few but of high quality like this and the reports should come out in the broader media.
5.Humayun Kamal <email@example.com>
Sat, 7 Oct at 9:31 pm
My dear Secretary General,
This is my belated response to the “Discussion on Promoting a Culture of Peace”, and the detailed and in -depth Keynote Paper presented by Ambassador Tariq Karim.
This has given me a better understanding of this subject.
My sincere thanks and deep appreciation to Ambassador Tariq Karim and Ambassador Mahbub Zaman.
Warm regards, Humayun A. Kamal
4.Tariq Karim <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tue, 3 Oct at 12:37 am
Many thanks Vice President Amb Shafiullah for your kind comments.
I add my voice to thanking Ambassador Mahbub Zaman for his meticulous capturing the event in his detailed report.
3.Mohammed Shafiullah <email@example.com>
Mon, 2 Oct at 9:56 pm
My dear Secretary General
I have gone through the Proceedings of the Discussion on Promoting A Culture of Peace organized by the AOFA.
It is a very comprehensive report encompassing all points from the scholarly conceptual keynote paper of Ambassador Tariq Karim. The report helped me to understand better the high level intellectual discourse of Ambassador Tariq.
EC member Ambassador Mahbub Zaman who took the responsibility to compile the proceedings equally did Justice to other high level discussants .
Ambassador Zaman took the assignment with all earnestness & completed task in the shortest possible time with a high level of professionalism .
EC members may wish to record his contribution in a formal format.
With warm regards
A Vice-President, EC, AOFA
2.Muhammad Zamir <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sat, 30 Sept at 3:58 pm
Dear Secretary General
Many thanks for forwarding the summary. Well recorded.
1.Abdul Hannan <email@example.com>
Fri, 29 Sept at 8:23 pm
Thank you Sir for sharing the summary on the discussion on “a culture of peace”.
Summary of the seminar on the theme “ Promoting a Culture of Peace” organised by Association of Former BCS(FA) Ambassadors-AOFA, held at the Foreign Service Academy,Dhaka on 7 September 2023
Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr.A.K. Abdul Momen, MP was the Chief Guest and UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Ms.Gwyn Lewis was the Special Guest on the occasion.
In his introductory remarks,AOFA President Ambassador Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury,BB, welcomed all and thanked the Hon’ble Foreign Minister for his gracious presence at the seminar despite his extremely pressing schedule. AOFA President mentioned that the HFM had just arrived from Indonesia in the morning after attending the ASEAN Summit. In the evening he would have bilateral discussions with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the next day he would be leaving for Delhi with the Hon’ble PM to attend the G 20 Summit. He mentioned that HFM’s presence at the seminar indicated the importance he attached to the programs and activities of AOFA.
Referring to the UN Principles and concept of collective peace and security, AOFA President stated that “since wars began in the minds of men, it was in the minds of men that the defense of peace must be constructed”.
On the significance and relevance of the topic, AOFA President said that in view of the prevalent volatility of the global scenario and the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, Peace had become a somewhat endangered and elusive thought. He made a reference to Professor GL Peiris, former Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka who used to say that cessation of hostilities was one aspect but an ever greater challenge was to restore trust, ensure reconciliation and win peace and stability in the long run . The AOFA President said that Peace was a deep-rooted commitment to the principles of liberty, justice, equality and solidarity among all human beings, embedded in the concept of mutual respect and tolerance in society.
In this respect, the AOFA President mentioned the famous speech of President John F Kennedy delivered at American University in 1963 in which he had outlined the kind of peace that should be sought and pursued — “What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children–not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women–not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.” “ Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process–a way of solving problems.”
The AOFA President then gave a brief background of the evolution of the UNGA Resolution Promoting a Culture of Peace in which Bangladesh had always played a leading role. Culture of Peace remained one of the key items for the General Assembly since 1997 when the Assembly decided to add a new and self-standing item to its agenda.
This was followed by the UNGA resolution 52/15 of 20 November 1997 that proclaimed the year 2000 as the “International Year for the Culture of Peace” and GA resolution 53/25 on “The Culture of Peace: Importance of justice, equality, and inclusion for advancing peace building” . Over the years the scope of the Culture of Peace expanded allowing adoption by the General Assembly multiple resolutions on a wide range of issues relating to various areas of its Program of Action.
Next, Ambassador Ahmed Tariq Karim took the floor to deliver the Keynote speech. He dwelt at length on the concept of peace, its historical evolution and underlying dynamics . Ambassador Karim at the outset described the basic contours of his speech. First, he highlighted the three keywords of the topic, (1 ) Promoting (2 ) Culture (3 ) Peace . Secondly, Ambassador Karim addressed the seminal importance of promoting a culture of peace in the context of the present global scenario . Thirdly, he focused on what peace as a concept meant in the context of Bangladesh as a state and the policies emanating from it as a logical corollary and how it conditioned our external relations . Lastly, Ambassador Karim delved deep into the normative aspects of peace that addressed also what we as citizens should do to promote a culture of peace.
Ambassador Karim said that Culture was an all encompassing concept that could have broad and varied interpretations. It referred to the way of life for an entire society, it was a lived and creative experience for individuals and included artefacts, text and the complex interactions between all these. Peace was an umbrella term that embraced social behavior, institutions that the society formed and the norms that governed the behavior of their society and was derived from a compendium of knowledge, beliefs, arts , laws , customs , capabilities and habits of individuals comprising that society . In a broad sense, these actions translated largely into actions and interactions by individuals, civil society and intelligentsia, denoting their beliefs, behaviors, values and symbols. Generally, these were accepted as something given and, therefore, not thought about. In another perspective, culture was an assimilation of shared language, values, norms, traditions, pastimes, customs, beliefs and conventions that caused people to identify with one another.
He further said that the environment and surroundings deeply impacted and influenced an individual in his cultural upbringing. It might be ingrained into one’s character involuntarily or subconsciously by the traditions, beliefs and practices within one’s family or in one’s peer group or members, or institutions of the community including the church or religious leaders where one lived which might in turn be influenced by external factors.
Culture was not something static, it might be transmitted from one generation to the next through teaching or imitation of knowledge, values and other factors that influenced behavior. Parents might inculcate into their off springs or peers might inculcate those around them. A Culture might take a long time to form before it became deeply ingrained and embedded in a society. Moreover, changing a culture could take an equally long time, sometimes longer through a transformative process often involving several generations.
Over time, cultural changes were brought about in accordance with the needs of the times. A group or society might be compelled to adapt to external stimulus, changes in market conditions, new technologies or strategies of other people’s communicating with them. Communication was an important medium and mechanism through which our understanding, meaning, articulation of messages pertaining to culture was transmitted between persons and generations.
Quoting from Aristotle’s Politics, Ambassador Karim said that Aristotle believed that man was a “political animal” because he was a social creature with the power of speech and moral reasoning: Therefore it was evident that the state was a creation of nature, and that man was by nature a political animal. Since man, by nature,was a social creature and also to some extent, a political animal, such a man and the society to which he belonged would have certain political or civic culture. Trough The Republic, Plato affirmed the importance and significance of political culture. In the two works of Plato, namely The Republic and Laws, he placed enormous weight on political socialization and analysis of the state. Plato in his writings placed much importance on the family, the parents and teachers and political officials to inspire, regulate and guide the children as they grew up
Thereafter, Amb Karim dwelt at length on the concept of political culture. Ambassador Karim said that political culture was a pattern of shared values, moral norms, beliefs, expectations, and attitudes that related to politics and its social context. Political culture reflected the way people thought about and felt about political life. It was a set of attitudes about authority, government and society that was accepted by large parts of a country’s population that might reflect the view points of the majority. Civic Culture might also be called civic political culture as it was a political culture characterized by “acceptance of the authority of the state” and “a belief in participation”. It had existed since the notion of states in whatever dimension or capacity came into being.
Ambassador Karim said that Gabriel Almond in his seminal essay on the intellectual history of civic culture concept published in 1980 asserted that “the concepts and categories that we use in the analysis of political culture- subculture, elite political culture, political socialization and cultural changes -are also implied in ancient writings”. Social psychology was also important since it tried to ascertain how and why attitudes and behavior of individuals were conditioned and influenced by the presence and impact of other individuals and social groupings. Beliefs, feelings and values influenced political behavior and these in turn were the product of socialization experiences that Almond referred to. Therefore, civic culture was influenced by these aspects.
Ambassador Karim also mentioned The Leviathan written by the English Political Philosopher Thomas Hobbes wherein he spoke about the existence of The State of Nature Hobbesian . This state of nature was characterized by intense competition among individuals and motivated by self interest. The only laws that existed at this stage were not covenants forged among people but principles based on self- preservation. According to Hobbes, three things threw humankind into war and these were competition, distrust and desire for glory. Due to the absence of any higher authority to adjudicate disputes, everyone feared and mistrusted everyone else and there could be no justice, commerce or culture. That unsustainable condition came to an end when individuals agreed in a social contract to relinquish their natural rights to everything and to transfer their self authority to a higher civil authority or Leviathan. Hobbes said that the best way to understand the state was to conceive of it as resulting from such an agreement.
The 17th and 18th centuries saw the presence of great political philosophers such as Thomas Locke ( 1632-1704 ) , Jean- Jacques Rousseau ( 1713 -1778 ) and in the 20th century John Rawls who differed fundamentally with the Hobbesian perception of the state of nature . However, as a concept the state of nature could not be discarded so easily as Ambassador Karim felt that if one looked at the post 1945 trajectory of historical development of the Man and the States that he had created, one was tempted to believe that man’s individual interest had now gained supremacy and had reigned over collective and societal interests.
Ambassador Karim said that the famous sociologist Max Weber typified three subjective categories of political authority, namely traditional, rational -legal and charismatic. Traditional order was rules that were obeyed because those had passed from historical times. Rational-legal order was in the realm of bureaucracy because these were selected and acted upon according to written rational and enforceable rules. Charismatic authority was the extraordinary and transitional type of political order characterized by belief in the superhuman or extra human qualities of a leader.
Joseph Schumpeter suggested five conditions for the success of the democratic method. These were first, good political leaders having the necessary traits and qualities. Secondly, the political process should be characterized by the scope of governments to be of limited nature. Thirdly, it should have sound and competent bureaucracy professional in nature. Fourth, it should be characterized by mutual self respect wherein the opposition and the electors demonstrated democratic self control and political division of labor. Fifth, It should be marked by respect for opinion of others implying tolerance of opinions of others.
Next, Ambassador Karim mentioned about the writings and viewpoints of the philosopher Machiavelli who wrote The Prince . However, strangely enough, his viewpoints expressed through his book Discourses on Livy were more profound and significant where he said that the republican form of government was the best form of government. He took the government of ancient Rome as his example for a good republican government.
Later on Jean Jacques Rousseau drew a sharp contrast challenging the beliefs and views of Machiavelli .Rousseau insisted that civil society must be based upon preservation of everyone’s freedom and equality. The necessity of a single lawgiver to render human beings as citizens and free. Although in his Social Contract Rousseau borrowed from Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy , the concept espoused by Rousseau through his Social Contract and understanding of the general will made obsolete Machiavelli’s version of democratic republicanism.
Then Ambassador Karim dealt with the elements that might impact upon shaping of political values. These included Religion and Nationalism.
Due to increased globalization and inter connectivity, there was frequent intermingling among cultures. Often assimilation took place and cultural values, customs and beliefs were absorbed by others transcending boundaries and barriers . So we had a situation wherein culture and political culture were transmitted from generation to generation. Sometimes these interactions shaped a new outcome or underwent some changes and transformation. It was a dynamic process often negotiated by individuals .
Ambassador Karim pointed to the definitional problems that one might encounter in defining peace. Did peace mean absence of war or an end of war. He said that peace might be defined as societal friendship and harmony marked by absence of hostility and violence. It also denoted lack of conflict such as war and freedom from fear of violence between individuals and groups. Ambassador Karim mentioned five spheres or forms of peace as defined by US National Peace Academy.
These were peace at the personal level, at the social level, at the political level, at the institutional level and at the ecological level. He said that though nationalism and religion could be a source of cultural values and civic culture, extreme forms of nationalism and deeply held religious beliefs could also cause conflict and war . He said that both could be promoters of peace if the citizens accepted broadly the five forms of peace that had been mentioned above, arrived at through a process of dialogue and consensus.
Next, Ambassador Karim dwelt at length on the term “promoting”. He said that promoting something was to actively encourage and /or support a cause or a venture as well as an attempt to make it happen, increase, spread or flourish.
Ambassador Karim asked if the new world order defined by the Allied Powers and the consequent objective to ensure a peaceful world after the end of world war through the founding of the United Nations, had succeeded in achieving the goal . He said that the Charter of the UN had lofty ideals and ambitions and in the preamble it stated, “We the people of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war which twice in our lifetime had brought untold sorrow to mankind”.
The Charter reposed full faith and confidence in fundamental human rights and in equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small. The Charter also emphasized the need to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors. However, the world was free from the violence caused by war for only short periods of time, conflicts took place in every year of the 20th Century and it had been estimated that around 187 million people died as a result of war from 1900 till present. The actual number of casualties might be far higher.
Ambassador Karim then highlighted the famously enunciated dictum of Bangabandhu that our foreign policy was based on “Friendship towards all and malice towards none”. This flowed from Bangabandhu’s deeply held belief and conviction .On Bangladesh’s total and absolute commitment towards the promotion of peace, he mentioned that the Founding Father of Bangladesh was conscious and aware of the necessity of maintaining global peace and security. He felt that given the then prevailing context of regional conflicts , global cold war characterized by super power rivalry, it was even more necessary for cessation of hostilities and place emphasis on detente .
Bangabandhu was a great visionary who rightly thought that a nation born out of a war that had ravaged its economy, needed international support and cooperation. Thus the external relations of Bangladesh were based on the principles and objectives of the United Nations and on multilateralism.
In his speech in Kolkata in February 1972, Bangabandhu had said, “In a world of war and confrontation we could live side by side as neighbors and pursue constructive policies for the benefit of the people — achievement of peace and stability in this region can be a model for others.”
True to his deeply rooted belief of extending hands of friendship to all, Bangabandhu had also sought to normalize relations with Chins and engaged in quiet diplomacy. Bangabandhu chose Ambassador KM Kaiser as Ambassador of Bangladesh to China because Amb Kaiser had a close rapport with the top Chinese leadership .
Bangabandhu’s commitment towards non alignment was absolute and total. He steered clear of super power rivalry. In a world divided into two blocs, one led by the US and the other by the then USSR, Bangabandhu professed neutrality and he declared that “Bangladesh will be the Switzerland of the East”. Ambassador Karim quoted from the speech by Bangabandhu on September 25, 1974 at the United Nations General Assembly, wherein he had said, “The very struggle of Bangladesh symbolized the universal struggle for peace and justice”.
Bangabandhu further had said in the same speech, “Peace is an imperative for the survival of mankind ; it represents the deepest aspirations of men and women throughout the world . Peace to endure must, however, be peace based on justice.”Bangabandhu was also an ardent supporter of promoting regional peace and security. He had said, “consistent with our own total commitment to peace, we have striven to promote the process of reconciliation in our own sub-continent”.
Then Ambassador Karim mentioned that the illustrious daughter of Bangabandhu , the current Prime Minister had remained unswerving to the tenets espoused by his father. Through her words and concomitant actions, she had demonstrated her commitment to regional and global peace. She had said, “our relations with foreign countries flow from the demands of our national interest and that we shall not develop any relationship with any country that is at the cost of our existing friendship and cooperation with others”.
In this context Ambassador Karim mentioned that the art of arriving at an equilibrium would depend on how skillfully we managed these different sets of relationships , hewing to the timeless foundational tenets enunciated by our Father of the Nation . He referred to a speech by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in May 2023 addressing an event marking International Day of UN Peacekeepers – 2023 wherein she had asserted, “We believe in peace, not in conflict. Bangladesh always believes in peace and it would do all possible things, whatever is required to establish peace”. At the same time, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also acknowledged that ensuring peace in the world was now more difficult than in the past .
Dwelling on the subject of Bangladesh as a promoter of Global Peace,
Ambassador Karim said that following our leaderships clarion calls for world peace since inception, Bangladesh had been at the forefront of activities at the UN on the important pillar of the UN architecture – peace and security. This year the UNGA would once again be considering the re-adoption and reiteration of the UN Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace .
Bangladesh could rightly feel proud of presenting the Resolution at the General Assembly since the idea was first mooted in 1997. On 13 September, 1999 the Assembly adopted the norm setting resolution , “Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace” . The Assembly had proclaimed the year 2000 as the International Year for the Culture of Peace and the decade 2001-2010 as the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non – Violence. While praising Bangladesh’s role in championing the resolution and spearheading efforts to introduce it, Ambassador Karim felt that we should take practical and concrete steps in this regard .Our actions should be commensurate with our ideals and beliefs. In this context he mentioned about the convening of the Global Peace Conference held under the auspices of Dhaka last year. He felt that Bangladesh could play a catalytic role in espousal of this campaign for peace.
Referring to the growing sense of frustration and disappointment among certain group of countries at the lack of global efforts and concrete results in attaining global peace, he mentioned the Kigali Global Dialogue in June 2023. At this forum, some nations even questioned the relevance and role of the United Nations in the present world. Ambassador Karim said that he believed that Bangladesh needed to explore formation of a “fellowship” of like-minded nations, all struggling as we are, to graduate into more developed states.
In conclusion, Ambassador Tariq Karim focused on what should be our actions as citizens of the state to promote a culture of peace. In this respect, he emphasized on the arrival of a modicum of discussions through civil discourses. He also emphasized on the point that as responsible citizens, we also had responsibility towards the state. He specifically mentioned that enjoyment of rights and privileges were commensurate with duties and responsibilities.
While it was neither desirable nor feasible to police all individuals, he asserted that it were the citizens who were obliged to respect laws and regulations and abide by the same. He mentioned that freedom and equality were guaranteed by the supreme law of the land but one was also obliged to see that enjoyment of one’s rights did not impinge upon others’ rights. “If we wished to bring about any change, change must begin with the individual, with the citizen, on a more personalized level with me, with us all together”, he concluded.
After the Keynote speech a message from former Bangladesh Permanent Representative to UN, Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, was read out. Ambassador Chowdhury had played a major role in spearheading the resolution on the Culture of Peace at the UNGA. He mentioned that the Hon’ble Foreign Minister’s presence at the event signified the importance that Bangladesh attached to this item of promoting a culture of peace.
He added that UN had grown out of ashes of the Second World War and was formed due to the common aspirations of the nations to prevent war and violence. He quoted from the UN Charter its objective TO SAVE SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS FROM THE SCOURGE OF WAR, which twice in our lifetime had brought untold sorrow to humankind, and to reaffirm faith in the fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person.”
Ambassador AK Chowdhury mentioned that after 9 months of negotiations under his chairmanship, the landmark resolution was adopted by consensus in the UNGA and subsequently became a norm- setting resolution. Ambassador Chowdhury called upon all member nations of the UN to embrace a culture of peace for sustainability of the planet and to make the earth a better place. He emphasized upon the need to make peace and non-violence an integral part of our daily lives. Amb Chowdhury said that we needed to combine our efforts and work collectively to attain a. culture of peace and sustain the process. It should grow from strength to strength, as ripples after ripples made waves.
Thereafter, President of AOFA Ambassador Shamsher Chowdhury invited Professor Delwar Hossain, PhD. Professor of International Relations University of Dhaka & Member, Bangladesh Public Service Commission, to take the floor as one of the two discussants.
Professor Delwar thanked AOFA for inviting him to be one of the discussants on this important and timely topic. He began by stating that the bedrock on which the principles of our foreign policy was based was envisioned by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation . Professor Delwar drew attention to Bangabandhu’s speech at the UN General Assembly in September 1974 wherein he had said that “Peace is an imperative for the survival of humanity. It represents the deepest aspirations of men and women throughout the world.”
His worthy daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina followed in his footsteps and had always given primacy to the promotion of peace. In one of her speeches she had said, “I would like to emphasize that we do not want war. We want peace. We seek the well-being of humankind, not its destruction”.
In his introductory remarks Prof Delwar termed Peace as a common pursuit of humankind. He said that with the evolution of mankind within the society and global and regional context, there had been a shift and transformation from a Culture of War and Violence towards a Culture of Peace. This was what we all aspired for and strived to achieve.
Mentioning the article in our constitution that shaped the contours of our foreign policy, he said that Bangladesh based her external relations on the principles and objectives of the United Nations, including the concept of collective peace and security. Bangladesh also strived for the renunciation of the use of force in her external relations and sought gradual and complete disarmament.
He pointed out that it was Bangabandhu’s vision of Friendship to all, malice towards none” that had led to the founding of the foreign policy dictum. Prof Delwar highlighted the speech of Bangabandhu at the UNGA in September 1974 .He said that it was an epitome of Bangladesh’s unwavering commitment to maintain global peace, humanity and prosperity
Professor Delwar mentioned that Bangladesh had always championed the cause of promoting international peace and security. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had always voiced his strong opposition to all forms of discrimination, oppression, exploitation and tyranny. He led the people of Bangladesh to protest and rise against the injustices perpetrated by the West Pakistani colonial rulers.
We gained independence at a huge cost and saw how the subcontinent had become a hotbed of conflicts and violence due to rivalry between the then two super powers, USSR and USA.Bangladesh’s experience motivated us to always champion the cause of Peace at the global plane and at the UN. That’s why we took a leading role in spearheading at the UN the resolution of promoting a culture of peace.
About the historic perspective and evolution, Prof Delwar said that during 1996-2001, the then Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had introduced the idea in the UNGA and the resolution (UN Resolution 53/243) of “culture of peace” was adopted on September 13, 1999.
The original resolution of Bangladesh earlier passed by the General Assembly on 10 September 1999 at its 53rd Session, had called for “Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace”. The resolution called upon the governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society groups, and people from all walks of life to work together to create a global culture of peace and non-violence.
Dwelling on the concept of a Culture of Peace, Professor Delwar said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had always promoted this concept of ‘culture of peace’ at the global body. In her words, “Peace is a prerequisite for development. Bangladesh considers peace a fundamental human right to be attained, sustained, promoted and carried forward all the time. A threat to peace anywhere in the world is a threat to peace everywhere. Thus, we call for the enthusiastic promotion of a culture of peace worldwide” ( UNGA -2000 )
Professor Delwar said that culture of peace was an integral approach to preventing violence. It was aimed at bringing about positive changes at micro level through practicing tolerance justice, equity, equality and humanity in human behaviors as well as state policies.
Professor Delwar then highlighted the inputs that constituted a culture of peace according to the UNGA Resolution. According to the 1999 Resolution (Article 1), the basic constituents of Culture of Peace were:
Education: the resolution aimed to utilize education and skill-building (including, for example, better mediation, negotiation and cooperation) to change minds around the world about respecting life.
Respect for Sovereignty and Rights: a major emphasis of the resolution was spreading a respect for national sovereignty and for international law and human life. The prevention of territory-related conflicts and the promotion of fundamental human freedoms would help build sustainable peace.
Peaceful Settlement of Conflicts – peaceful settlement of conflicts was the defining element transforming a culture of war into a culture of peace. The idea was that all concerned groups would come together and immerse themselves in a peaceful dialogue and negotiation in order to reach consensus on peaceful, nonviolent solutions.
Development: a declaration on the Right to Development A/RES/41/128 was adopted on 4 December 1986 by the General Assembly, stating that the right to develop socially, politically, culturally, and economically was inalienable. The UN did not ignore the importance of ensuring the sustainability of such development either; the peace, development, and sustainability of our world were all inextricably connected.
Freedom: the freedom to express ourselves and our opinions was one of the basic elements in a modern, progressive society. Choking the voice of the media or of the people only disturbed the peaceful environment of a country. Each individual should have the right to ask questions about what was happening in the government and its policies and to get a satisfactory answer.
Furthermore, all of our rights were interconnected—limiting the rights of women to keep them uninformed and suppressed led to social and economic inequalities, which only led to disaster for both development and interpersonal peace. These included: fostering a culture of peace through education; promoting sustainable economic and social development; ensuring equality between women and men; promoting respect for all human rights; fostering democratic participation; supporting participatory communication and the free flow of information.
While dwelling on the role of Bangladesh in introducing the resolution at the UNGA professor Delwar mentioned inter alia the following :
Bangladesh had been facilitating this resolution at the Assembly every year and also convening a High-level Forum on the Culture of Peace in the General Assembly. The recent High-Level Forum was held on September 6, 2022 and focused on transformative role of culture of peace to ensure justice, equality, and inclusion for advancing peace building
While introducing the resolution, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh had said , “Indeed, it is more urgent today than ever to promote a culture of peace; to prioritize dialogue and rapprochement over violence and confrontation”.
In 2023, the resolution rightly highlighted collective efforts to address global risks and challenges with the United Nations playing a central role.
Bangladesh’s proposal underscored the importance of strengthening preventive diplomacy, dialogue and healthy debates at all levels.
While reaffirming the invaluable role of women in conflict prevention and resolution it called for full equal and meaningful participation of women in such processes.
The UNGA resolution also emphasized upon the need to address the underlying drivers of violence and conflict and Promote a Culture of Peace in the context of ongoing digital transformation.
He mentioned that the Resolution was a useful means to complement UN Charter obligations of maintaining peace in the world.
What is to be Done ?A holistic approach was needed to promote a culture of peace around the world. Professor Delwar suggested the following follow up actions:
Continuing advocacy for peace at various levels from micro to macro levels
State level initiatives
Civil society level initiatives
The role of Bangladesh in the UN Peace Keeping Missions had also been widely acclaimed and applauded. This added up to our impressive credentials to contribute towards global peace and build up a culture of peace, Professor Delwar Hossain concluded.
Next, Ambassador Munshi Faiz was invited to share his views and ideas on the item . In his remarks he mentioned that Culture of Peace must be pursued seriously and in a sustained manner both at home and abroad, at different levels.
He also said that there was a need for a permanent establishment, internationally, to pursue an agreed plan of action on a day to day basis. Domestic establishments were also needed in all the countries to promote a culture of peace at home.
Mentioning the International Peace Conference in Dhaka in 2021, Ambassador Faiz suggested convening an international conference on establishment of permanent architectures in this regard to supplement UN efforts in promoting a Culture of Peace in a more serious and sustained manner.
Professor Delwar and Ambassador Munshi Faiz were followed on the podium by UN Resident Representative Ms Gwyn Lewis .
At the very outset, she conveyed UN’s appreciation to Bangladesh for its consistent efforts since 1999 in facilitating the Culture of Peace Resolutions at the United Nations General Assembly, for convening since 2012 , the yearly High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace and for support to peace keeping across the world .
Ms Gwyn Lewis said that Peace and Security constituted one of the three system pillars of the United Nations. Peace and Security, Development and Human Rights were the three foundations on which the UN stood and which were the raisin d’ etre of the organization. These areas were interconnected and no single area could be achieved without progress in all the others .
While welcoming the convening of the AOFA event she said that all such initiatives whether at the local, regional and /or global level, must be able to strengthen our collective commitment towards promotion of a culture of peace .
The UN Resident Representative mentioned that peace, conflict prevention, and the protection of human rights were prerequisites for inclusive and sustainable development; economic, social and environmental justice, gender equality and the promotion of a shared vision between governments and people. Conversely, inclusive development, justice and equality were also fundamental to prevent war and to create a conducive environment for peace.
She mentioned that woefully the number of conflicts had risen recently thus exacerbating inequality and the root causes of these conflicts remained unaddressed. She said that limited sources and unmet needs might be the potential sources of conflict. In this respect she mentioned about the challenges posed to peace globally, regionally and nationally due to food insecurity, environmental degradation and climate change.
The UN Resident Representative also mentioned some factors that impact adversely on global peace . These were violation of human rights , gender based violence , disinformation and hate speech . She added that it was a worrisome trend that these negative factors were on the rise.
Ms Gwyn Lewis mentioned about the New Agenda for Peace that was released in July 2023 by the United Nations Secretary General. She said that without substantial progress made in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, peace would remain elusive. She quoted the UNSG on the Report stating, “Ultimately it is the only way to comprehensively address the interlinked, multidimensional drivers of violence and insecurity.” In other words, SDGs are fundamental for conflict prevention and sustainable peace.
Ms Gwyn Lewis quoted the speech of the President of the 77 Session of the UNGA wherein he had stated that, “Member states bear the responsibility for preventing conflict . And prevention must remain a [political and financial] priority. She said that vibrant civic and political spaces were required to restore trust and promote solidarity, equality, inclusion and respect. She remarked that everyone had a role to play in weaving a solid social fabric.
The UN Resident Representative then emphasized upon three specific ways to promote a culture of peace. These were :
First, partnerships and collaboration between governments, civil society, academia, private sector, UN and the citizens of the country were essential.
Secondly, Promoting a culture of peace was relevant only if it was done in an inclusive way and based on people centered approach.
Thirdly, promoting a culture of peace required adopting a forward looking lens. This would imply making critical investments in the future of our planet.
In conclusion, Ms Gwyn Lewis reiterated the commitment of the UN to support the government and people of Bangladesh in sustaining peace and development and promoting a culture of peace in line with the UNGA mandate that Bangladesh had sponsored.
After Ms.Gwyn Lewis had finished, President of AOFA invited the Chief Guest, Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr.A. K. Abdul Momen , MP to deliver his speech .
Hon’ble Foreign Minister began his speech by thanking AOFA for organizing this event which he felt was very rich in content and rewarding. He said that it’s message, contents and main elements of the discussions should be disseminated to the greater part of the community. Peace had been an integral part of human existence . Peace represented the hopes and aspirations of all humanity.
Hon’ble Foreign Minister quoted one of the statements of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman wherein he had stated , “Peace is imperative for development”. Keeping that in mind, Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had tabled the UN General Assembly’s 1997 norm-setting resolution on the “Culture of Peace” for the very first time and ever since it was being adopted again and again with consensus.
Honble Foreign Minister said that the essence of the “Culture of Peace”was to inculcate a mindset of respect and tolerance towards others irrespective of ethnicity, color, background, race or religion. He added that by inculcating such a mindset one could hope to have sustainable peace and stability across nations.
Hon’ble Foreign Minister remarked that Bangladesh firmly believed that multilateralism was an effective process to promote peace, security, and collective stability. He further added that actions were needed more robustly than ever to address the cross-cutting and competing global issues.
Hon’ble Foreign Minister said that Bangladesh emerged as an independent country through the horrors of atrocities and genocide during the great War of Liberation in 1971. In his maiden speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 1974, the greatest Bengalee of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made a resolute statement in favour of global peace, stating, “Peace is an imperative for the mankind. It represents the deepest aspirations of men and women throughout the worlds.”
Hon’ble Foreign Minister mentioned that our commitment towards peace and its promotion was absolute and total. He said that our commitment towards peace was also reflected in Article 25 of our Constitution that set “promotion of international peace, security, and solidarity” as a fundamental principle of our state policy. Bangladesh also stood committed to the principles laid down in the United Nations Charter highlighting “peaceful settlement of international disputes and maintenance of global peace and security”.
Hon’ble Foreign Minister said that the pandemic and erratic climate changes had further exacerbated the existing societal challenges to peace and security. So now, the need to work under the agenda “promoting culture of peace” had become more crucial than ever. It was significant to reflect upon the evolving nature of world peace and order, and adapt strategies to address new challenges.
The Honble Foreign Minister in his speech said that we must enhance our efforts to prevent conflicts, protect civilians, and promote sustainable peace in this rapidly changing world.
The Hon’ble Foreign Minister said that in order to build public awareness, in 2021 the Bangladesh Government had organized the International Peace Conference in Dhaka, commemorating the receipt of the Julio Currie Peace Award by Bangabandhu. He also mentioned that in order to create public awareness, all Bangladesh Missions abroad were observing each year Peace Day involving diplomats, peace lovers, and community leaders
Dwelling at length on the specific area based interventions necessary for promoting a culture of peace he mentioned that Bangladesh remained fully committed to her implementation through action-oriented policy interventions in the eight program areas of the ‘Program of Action on Culture of Peace’ – (1) education, (2) sustainable economic and social development, (3) respect of human rights, (4) equality between men and women, (5) democratic participation, (6) tolerance and solidarity, (7) free flow of information and knowledge and (8) international peace and security.
The Hon’ble Foreign Minister said that since his assumption of the post of Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, he had introduced three policy packages and those were (1) Economic Diplomacy, (2) Public Diplomacy and (3) Regional Peace and stability packages.
He mentioned that these 3 packages were highly interlinked to achieve economic development, people’s welfare and peace and stability, both at the domestic as well as regional and global levels.
The Hon’ble Foreign Minister expressed his strong conviction that technology could contribute to peace-building processes by offering tools that fostered collaboration, transform attitudes, and give a stronger voice to communities. He added that investing in and supporting access and inclusion to technology for effective peace-building was vital now more than ever. Digital platforms could be used to counter false rumors, to disseminate peaceful messages and to provide a platform for peace-promoting initiatives. Hon’ble Foreign Minister said that we could leverage digital media’s power to raise global awareness about peace across diverse backgrounds, cultures and religions through the dissemination of facts and information.
He said that in line with our commitment towards promotion and sustaining peace, Bangadesh followed the foreign policy dictum of “Friendship towards all and malice towards none “as espoused by the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in line with her commitment towards promotion and maintenance of peace at all levels, had always maintained a zero tolerance policy against terrorism and violent extremism, and has always promoted secularism and communal harmony; He said that Bangladesh did not support any terrorists or terrorist groups to use her territory to carry out terrorist activities elsewhere and added that Bangladesh did not support any actions that escalated tension. We were against war; Bangladesh was against unilateral measures which did not promise sustaining peace.
At the conclusion of his speech, the Hon’ble Foreign Minister urged upon all to work collectively in the pursuit of peace, justice, and security for all. Emphasizing upon the importance of dialogue and discussions to resolve differences, the Hon’ble Foreign Minister called upon all to endeavor towards building a future where conflicts were resolved through dialogue and negotiation, where prosperity and development prevailed.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks by the Chair.
Recorded by :
Ambassador Mahbub Uz Zaman,
7th September , 2023.
The seminar on A Culture of Peace organized by AOFA on 7th September, 2023,at the Foreign Service Academy in Dhaka, was a great success.
Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr.AK Abdul Momen,MP was the Chief Guest and UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Ms.Gwyn Lewis was the Special Guest.
A large number of AOFA Members, officers of the Foreign Ministry, heads of Think Tanks, academics and journalists and other invited guests, attended the event.
The day’s program started with introductory remarks by AOFA President, Ambassador Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury,BB.
The ensuing discussion program began with Ambassador Ahmed Tariq Karim delivering the Keynote speech. The high quality of Amb Tariq Karim’s speech earned all round appreciation.
It was followed by the presentation of a written message from Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, former UN Under Secretary General and Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to UN, which was read out by Ambassador Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury.
Next, Professor Dr.Delwar Hossain took the floor to analyze the salient points made in the keynote paper. He was followed on the podium by the other designated Discussant, Amb Munshi Faiz Ahmad. A lively Question and Answer session ensued.
In her speech, Special Guest Ms.Gwyn Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, lauded the role of Bangladesh at the UN in pursuing the resolution on A Culture of Peace.
Chief Guest of the occasion, Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr.AK Abdul Momen, in his speech praised AOFA’s timely initiative to hold the seminar.
Detailed records of the seminar proceedings are under preparation and the same will be circulated as soon as possible.
AOFA President Ambassador Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury moderated the program. He also delivered the vote of thanks.
The entire program was extensively covered by both the print and the electronic media.
The seminar was rounded off with lunch, very diligently managed by AOFA Treasurer Amb. ABM Abdus Salam.
With kind regards,
Dhaka, 7th September , 2023.
The Association of Former BCS(FA) Ambassadors-AOFA will hold a Discussion on Promoting A Culture of Peace on Thursday, 7th September,2023 beginning at 1100 hrs at the Foreign Service Academy, Bailey Road, Dhaka.
Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Dr.A.K.Abdul Momen.MP has kindly consented to grace the occasion as Chief Guest.
An E Invitation Card is attached herewith.
Your gracious presence in the Discussion will be deeply appreciated.
With kind regards,
Ambassador Abdullah Al-Hasan,
The Association of Former BCS(FA) Ambassadors-AOFA
has the pleasure to invite you to a discussion session on
Promoting A Culture of Peace
at 11 AM on Thursday, 7thth September, 2023
at the Foreign Service Academy, Bailey Road, Dhaka
Dr.A.K.Abdul Momen, MP, Hon’ble Minister ofForeign Affairs, Government of Bangladesh, has kindly consented to be the Chief Guest.
Mr. Shahriar Alam, MP, Hon.Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Government of Bangladesh, has kindly consented to be the Guest of Honour
Ms. Gwyn Lewis, United Nations ResidentCoordinator,Bangladesh,will be the Special Guest
Amb Ahmed Tariq Karim will present the Keynote paper.
Dr.Delwar Hossain, Member, Public Service Commission and Amb Munshi Faiz Ahmed will be the discussants.
Amb Shamsher M. Chowdhury,BB, President,AOFA, will moderate the Session.
The Session will be followed by lunch.
Your gracious presence will be deeply appreciated.
1100 hrs -Address of welcome by AOFA President,
1105 hrs -Presentation of Keynote Paper
1125 hrs -Comments by the Discussants
1155 hrs -Q & A
1225 hrs -Speech by Special Guest
1240 hrs- Speech by Guest of Honour
1255 hrs -Address by Chief Guest
1325 hrs-Concluding Remarks by AOFA President
Dhaka, 7th May,2023
The Eid Reunion and Bangla Nobo Borsho celebrations organized by AOFA on 6thMay, 2023 was a great success.
62 AOFA Members, their spouses, Honorary Members, President and 4 other Members of DCAB (Diplomatic Correspondents’ Association of Bangladesh), other invited guests and their spouses ,attended the event.
The attendance was, probably, the highest in AOFA’s history.
The evening’s program started with a recitation from the holy Quran by Ambassador ABM Abdus Salam.
AOFA President Ambassador Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, BB in his welcome address thanked the large audience for responding to AOFA’s invitation. Inter alia. he mentioned the literary skills revealed by the former career Ambassadors, after their retirement from active service. In this connection, he congratulated Ambassador Ikhtiar Momin Choudhury for receiving a Bangla Academy award for one of his books.
The ensuing cultural program began with Ambassador Majeda Rafiqun Nessa, Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Ambassador Golam Mohammad and Ambassador A K M Atiqur Rahman reciting their own poems.
Next,Ambassador Ikhtiar Choudhury took the floor to give a brief account of his literary journey as well as of the journey of his life.
They were followed on stage by three renowned singers of Bangladesh. Begum Chaman Ara Salam ( wife of AOFA Treasurer Ambassador ABM Abdus Salam), Begum Rowshan Ara Islam Shoma ( wife of AOFA Member Ambassador ATM Nazrul Islam) and Begum Rebeka Sultana (wife of AOFA Vice President Ambassador M Shafiullah) .They enthralled the audience with a number of songs of different varieties.
The special attraction of the evening was a performance by the members of a group named Palli Baul Samaj Unnoyon Songostha. Folk songs and Baul songs of Lalon Fakir , Hason Raja and Baul Abdul Karim, rendered by three singers of the Group, were highly appreciated by the audience
AOFA Assistant Secretary General Ambassador AKM Atiqur Rahman scripted and conducted the program. He was also in overall charge of the arrangements for the evening’s cultural program.
Vote of thanks was delivered by AOFA Secretary General Ambassador Abdullah Al-Hasan.
The evening’s program was rounded off with a sumptuous dinner, very diligently managed by AOFA Treasurer Amb. ABM Abdus Salam.
With kind regards,
Dhaka, 7th May , 2023.
Dhaka, 21st April,2023
AOFA Eid Reunion on 06.05.2023.
Assalamo Alaikum wa Eid Mubarak.
On behalf of Ambassador Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, BB President, AOFA, I have great pleasure in cordially inviting you and your wife to attend the Eid Reunion and Bengali New Year celebrations of AOFA Members.
The event will be held on Saturday, 6th May, 2023 at 1900 hrs. in the Foreign Service Academy, Bailey Road, Dhaka.
It will be followed by Dinner.
Dhaka, 21st April,2023.
On Fri, 10 Feb 2023, 19:16 Shamsher M. Chowdhury wrote:
Esteemed AOFA Members,
Today I went to the Turkish Embassy around 3PM and, on behalf of AOFA, signed the Condolence Book that the Embassy has opened for the victims of the recent devastating earthquakes in Turkiye(Turkey).
In the written message, I expressed our shock and deep sadness at the deaths and prayed for the departed souls. I also prayed for the recovery of the wounded.
The Turkish Ambassador was deeply touched and thanked me warmly for the gesture. He also asked me to convey his gratitude to AOFA.
With warm regards
ShamsherShamsher M. Chowdhury, BB01713010203/01624092359
Shamsher M. Chowdhury <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To:Amb. Suhrab Hossain
Cc:Amb. M Shafiullah,Amb. Masood Aziz,Amb. Munshi Faiz Ahmad,Amb. Kazi Imtiaz Hossain,Amb. Ashrafud Doulaand 75 more…
Sat, 28 Jan at 7:06 pm
My dear Suhrab,
On behalf of the Members of AOFA, and their spouses, I wish to most sincerely thank you, and Mrs. Hossain, for inviting us to your lovely abode in Dhamrai today. It was indeed most gracious of the Hon. Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen, MP, and Mrs. Momen, to join us for the day out in spite of his many other commitments.
The company of colleagues, and others, the sumptuous feast that was laid out and the warmth of your hospitality made it a day to remember for all of us.
It is events like this that contribute to further strengthening the bonds of camaraderie in the AOFA family. It was also heartening to see the enthusiasm among the newer members of AOFA.
I thank you, and more importantly, Runi, once again for all the sincere effort that made our Day out in Dhamrai a delightful one.With warm regards
Shamsher M. Chowdhury, BB
VISIT TO DHAMRAI , 28.01.2023.
Due to some unforeseen and unavoidable reason, it has been
decided to reschedule the visit to Dhamrai.
The program will now be held on Saturday, 28th January,2023,
all other details remaining unchanged.
While deeply regretting the inconvenience caused, we request to
kindly advise if it will be possible for you to join us on 28th January,2023.
Dhaka, 7th January,2023.
Ambassador Suhrab Hossain, Vice President of AOFA, has extended a very cordial invitation to all AOFA Members and their spouses to spend a day at his country house in Dhamrai , on Saturday, 14th January ,2023.
Transport will leave for Dhamrai from the Foreign Service Academy, Bailey Road, Ramna, Dhaka, at 0830 hrs on 14th January, 2023.
In order to help the host make necessary arrangements, kindly advise your convenience latest by 5th January,2023.
Abdullah Al-Hasan, Secretary General, AOFA. Dhaka, 19th December,2022.
3rd JUNE, 2022
The Eid Reunion organized by AOFA on 28 May, 2022 was a great success.
39 AOFA Members and their spouses attended the event. The attendance was one of the highest in AOFA’s history.
Among those present were two past Presidents of AOFA , Ambassador Mohammed Mohsin and Ambassador C.M.Shafi Sami and a former Secretary General Ambassador Jamil Majid.
The evening’s program started with a recitation from the holy Quran by Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad. This was followed by a narration on Lord Goutam Buddha by Ambassador Supradip Chakma.
AOFA President Ambassador Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury,BB in his welcome address thanked the large audience for responding to AOFA’s invitation. He specially thanked Ambassador Mohammad Mohsin and Ambassador C.M.Shafi Sami for their presence and paid glowing tributes to their contributions in the growth and strengthening of AOFA.
Next Ambassador Syed Noor Hossain took the floor to introduce his latest book কখনো স্বদেশ,কখনো বিদেশ।
The ensuing cultural program began with Ambassador A K M Atiqur Rahman, Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad and Ambassador Majeda Rafiqun Nessa reciting their own poems.
They were followed on stage by two renowned singers of Bangladesh,Begum Rebeka Sultana (wife of AOFA Vice President Ambassador M Shafiullah) and Begum Rowshan Ara Islam Shoma ( wife of AOFA Member Ambassador A T M Nazrul Islam). They enthralled the audience with a number of songs of many varieties.
The revelation of the evening was a patriotic song rendered by AOFA President Ambassador Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury. The audience was pleasantly surprised by this new talent , so far carefully hidden by the AOFA President.
The vote of thanks was delivered by AOFA Secretary General Ambassador Abdullah Al-Hasan while the program was conducted by AOFA Vice President Ambassador Suhrab Hossain.
Vice President Ambassador Suhrab Hossain was also in overall charge of the arrangements for the evening’s program and he was ably assisted by Assistant Secretary General , Ambassador A K M Atiqur Rahman.
The evening’s program was rounded off with a sumptuous dinner.
With kind regards,
Dhaka, 3rd June ,2022.
27th February, 2022
Visit to Suhrab’s house.
- Shamsher M. Chowdhury <email@example.com>To:Amb. Abdul Momen Choudhury, email,Amb. Abdullah Al Hasan,Amb. Abdus Salam, email,Amb. AFM Golam Hossain,Amb. AH Mahmood Ali, emailand 70 more…
- Sun, 27 Feb at 10:32 pm
- Esteemed members,
- Today , I accompanied AOFA Vice President Amb. M. Shafiullah and Secretary General Amb. Abdullah Al Hasan to visit the house of our dear colleague and AOFA Vice President Amb. Suhrab Hossain in Dhamrai.
- The purpose of the trip was to provide some emotional comfort to the family following the daring dacoity at their house recently. We spent a good part of the day with them.While Suhrab appears to have regained his composure, Mrs. Hossain remains badly shaken by the whole traumatic experience. The fact that the family was at the mercy of a group of dacoits armed with lethal weapons is frightening enough in itself.
- They were nevertheless extremely hospitable. Both Suhrab and his wife were deeply touched by the expressions of support from many fellow AOFA members, both by email and over telephone.
- According to Suhrab, the law enforcement officials are pursuing the case with diligence and may have even made some headway in identifying the possible perpetrators. Let us hope they succeed.
- With warm regards
Shamsher M. Chowdhury, BB