Daughter takes Bangabandhu’s legacy to global stage


Published on November 11, 2021
  • Details Image

To cap Bangladesh's golden decade of development marking an amazing turnaround story, the government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has introduced a global award with UNESCO to recognize contributions to "Creative Economy".

The award takes the Bangladesh success story to the global stage and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is set to hand over the prize at a ceremony in Paris on Thursday.

The Prime Minister will also deliver her remarks before announcing the winner's name and handing over the prize.

PM Hasina's presence at the first award-giving ceremony coincides with the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh's Independence.

Audrey Azoulay, who was re-elected on Tuesday to the post of Director-General of UNESCO with the massive support of the Organization’s 193 Member States, will deliver welcome remarks at the function.

MoTIV, a Uganda-based integrated creative studio was named the winner of the first edition of the “UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Prize for the Creative Economy,” reported UNB.

The laureate was selected by Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, on the recommendation of an international jury established for the prize.

The US $50,000 Prize is awarded on a biennial basis, initially for three iterations of the Prize. The first award ceremony will be held on the occasion of UNESCO’s 41st General Conference and subsequent award ceremonies will be held on the occasion of the Conference of Parties to the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

“UNESCO agreeing to institute the prize at the initiative of the Bangladesh government is significant. It rips apart the narrative of Hasina's detractors that much of Bangladesh's development claims are hot air," said Sukharanjan Dasgupta, who has followed the Bangladesh story since the 1971 Liberation War.

Dasgupta, known for his book " Midnight Massacre" on the 1975 Bangladesh coup, says Hasina as Prime Minister has turned her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's " Sonar Bangla" (Golden Bengal) dream into a reality.

Now getting UNESCO to jointly institute a prize for Creative Economy in her father's name is something that will make all Bangladeshis proud, he said.

The BBC recently hailed Hasina as one of the top five global influential dealmakers at COP26 Summit at Glasgow and dubbed her as the "voice of the vulnerable". Then she received a warm welcome on her arrival in France.

In September, Hasina addressed the biggest gathering of world leaders at the recently held UN general assembly in Bangla, following the legacy of her father who had delivered his first UNGA speech on September 25, 1974 in Bangla.

Twenty-five years later, his daughter Sheikh Hasina, during her first tenure as the premier back in 1996, moved UNESCO, in 1999, to secure recognition for February 21 as International Mother Language Day.

Bangabandhu secured global recognition for Bangla, currently the sixth most spoken language in the world and his daughter secured institutional recognition for Bangla, the only language to have produced a Nobel laureate in literature in South Asia.

Bangabandhu's UNGA speech not only announced the birth of a new nation but one based on linguistic and cultural identity rather than religion.

Much of Bangladesh's turnaround economic success from a “basket case” (Kissinger) to an 'emerging Asian Tiger' owes to anchoring the young nation-state on secular Bengali linguistic and cultural identity during Hasina's second tenure in power (Jan 2009 onwards).

BBC credited Prime Minister Hasina with "putting a human face to the challenge of climate change".

Columnist Ajoy Dasgupta says Hasina's success in creating an alternate model of governance focused on inclusive growth is also "rooted in the strength of Bengali culture" which prioritises humanism over religious radicalism.

Two decades of military rule following the 1975 coup had derailed the values of the 1971 Liberation War but Hasina finally managed to restore that after assuming power in January 2009, he said.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said the UNESCO-Bangabandhu 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 said.

“We all are very proud that a UN Agency has introduced an award in the name of Bangabandhu for the first time,” Dr Momen said.