The Foreign Minister Dr A. K. Abdul Momen called upon the Bangladeshi Diaspora to play an active role in their country, countering misinformation and propaganda with facts and figures. He also praised their role in connecting Bangladesh with the world and urged them to highlight the nation’s achievements while speaking as the chief guest at an event, titled “Branding Bangladesh through UN Peacekeeping & NRBs,” organised by the Centre for Non-Resident Bangladeshi held at Queens in New York on Sunday (24 September, 2023).
Dr. Momen emphasized the strong relationship between Bangladesh and the USA, both in trade and shared values. He encouraged the Diaspora to stay connected with Bangladesh and contribute to the socio-economic progress of both countries.
Dr. Momen highlighted Bangladesh’s resilience, evident during the Great War of Liberation in 1971 when the nation stood firm against oppression, injustice, and discrimination, ultimately securing its independence through the sacrifices of three million people. This struggle exemplified the courage and sacrifice of the Bengali nation.
He acknowledged the challenges that followed independence, including famine and climate disasters, which led Western leaders to label Bangladesh as a “bottomless basket.” However, over the years, Bangladesh has evolved into a vibrant economy, witnessing remarkable growth in exports and GDP. It now stands as the 35th largest economy globally, having significantly reduced poverty and improved various social indicators.
The Foreign Minister stated that during 1975-1990 our GDP growth rate was 3.2%, now average growth rate 6.8%. The military, quasi-military and technocratic government actively promoted divisive and polarizing policies that contributed to political instability and violence in Bangladesh. He said, during 2001-2006, Bangladesh was branded as a land of radicalism, Jihadis, and cocoon of terrorism. Good news is those days are over now. After the heinous assassination, the martial law regime enacted the infamous Indemnity Act, providing unprecedented legal immunity from any legal action against all the killers involved in the assassination. The killers were awarded with prestigious jobs and positions.
Dr. Momen praised the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for rebranding Bangladesh as a role model of development. Under her guidance, Bangladesh has made significant progress in socio-economic indicators, climate diplomacy, and humanitarian efforts.
Dr. Momen emphasized Bangladesh’s commitment to peace and security, highlighting its role as a top contributor to UN Peacekeeping Operations. He recognized the invaluable contributions of the 12 million Bangladeshi expatriates, who support their homeland through remittances and contributions to various sectors.
Dr. Mashiur Rahman, Economic Advisor to Hon’ble Prime Minister, M S Shekil Chowdhury, Chairperson, Centre for NRB, Ambassador Dr. Sima Karetnaya, US Ambassador of Peace, UN & Expert WHO, Mr. Nazmul Huda, Consul General of Bangladesh Consulate in New York, were present among others.