Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Bangladesh Celebrates 53 Years of Independence

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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

By Roy Lie Atjam

On March 26, 2024, the Embassy of Bangladesh in the Netherlands organized a reception at the Marriott Hotel in The Hague to celebrate the 53rd anniversary of Independence. The event was attended by a significant number of guests who came together to felicitate H.E. Ambassador M. Riaz Hamidullah on this special occasion.

Many politicians, academics, entrepreneurs, NGO representatives, business persons, government officials, ambassadors, expatriates, and Bangladesh professionals  attended the celebration.

The Ambassador of Bangladesh, H.E. Mr. Riaz Hamidullah, and his spouse Sazia Ahmed, welcome the many guests.

The guest of honour was Prof. Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende, a former Dutch Prime Minister and Minister of State.

In his welcome speech, H.E. Ambassador M. Riaz Hamidullah briefly underlined the ways the ties shaped in the past five decades, our shared values and how Bangladesh intends to engage with the Netherlands in the time ahead. 

The Ambassador recalled the contribution of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, “the architect of our independence. Defying many odds, Bangladesh made notable strides. Much of this is credited to political and social stability aside from sustained and equitable economic growth thanks to the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. 

In positioning Bangladesh with her value-driven policies, we firmly hold on to democracy, pluralism and secularism. The Ambassador also mentioned that Bangladesh – Netherlands ties as also a vision of global well-being premised on shared prosperity – be it sustainable development, tackling climate change or advancing circularity.”

Prof. Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende.
  

The highlight of the evening was the remarks made by Prof. Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende. He began his speech by recalling the visionary leadership of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Balkenende also drew a comparison between Bangabandhu and the Dutch Father of the Nations in terms of their leadership and tragic demise. He then read out a quote from Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the Unfinished Memoir of Bangabandhu, from a daughter’s perspective. Balkenende praised the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and how she is working hard to materialize her father’s dream, and also highlighted Bangladesh’s economic progress over the years and its potential for trade and investment as a growing economy. The presence and remarks of Dr Balkenende moved the audience, resulting in spontaneous applause.

Bangladesh performers, Mr. Alif and Ms. Maati.

Further on the program, The Embassy put together a collection of various elements to showcase a miniature version of Bangladesh. “As a part of our efforts to create a positive image, we exhibited six small-scale models of boats that are commonly found in Bangladesh.”

The guests were impressed by the intricate designs and the skilled craftsmanship that went into creating these models. To highlight the traditional dance forms of Bangladesh, two renowned performers – Mr. Alif and Ms. Maati – presented a fifteen-minute performance. The fusion of traditional dance styles with contemporary background music was a hit with the audience and left a lasting impression on many.

Prof. Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende and H.E. Riaz Hamidullah.

The team at the embassy, along with Sazia Ahmed, the ambassador’s spouse, carefully planned the menu to showcase authentic Bangladeshi cuisine. The  goal was to present a perfect combination of aromas, spices, and flavours while also highlighting the locally sourced produce, such as aromatic rice and fish.

The festivities concluded with an (iftar) dinner that included a variety of delicious Bangladeshi dishes like Kacchi biriyani, polao, chicken korma, dal, vegetables, fish, chop, and homemade sweets.

“We were also considerate of the holy month of Ramadan and ensured that iftar items were available for guests who were fasting. The aim was to create a delightful culinary experience while keeping in mind the religious observances of our guests.”

At the end of the event, every guest received a handcrafted jute placemat created by the Bangladeshi entrepreneur Beni Boonon.

Based on all of this, we can confidently state that our National Day 2024 celebration left a lasting impression on the memories of all the attendees.

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