In a world marked by constant change and global upheaval, Bangladesh stands at a pivotal juncture in its diplomatic history. With the task of representing a nation often known for its resilience and dynamism, the diplomats of Bangladesh are faced with a unique set of challenges that require innovative solutions. Diplomats World Magazine, the only diplomatic magazine in Bangladesh, took a momentous step to delve into this subject by hosting a seminar titled “Navigating Challenges: Bangladesh’s Response to the Current Global Situation” on the 29th of October 2023. This event served as a platform for the exchange of ideas and insights, shedding light on how the country is tackling the evolving global landscape.
The core concept of Diplomats World Magazine revolves around the promotion and branding of Bangladesh, both at home and abroad, through the lens of foreign diplomats, foreign nationals, and expatriates. The magazine’s founding editor, Emeritus Professor, and Honorable Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the diplomatic arena. Notably, Dr. Momen has also served as the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations for seven years, further enhancing his credibility as a leading voice in international affairs.
In light of the magazine’s dedication to advancing Bangladesh’s interests on the world stage, the seminar served as a fitting platform for an in-depth exploration of the nation’s response to the ongoing global situation. Bangladesh’s diplomatic community and stakeholders came together to discuss the challenges, strategies, and opportunities in a rapidly evolving international landscape.
This article delves into the key takeaways from the seminar and examine how Bangladesh, under the guidance of Dr. Momen and its diplomatic corps, is navigating the complexities of the current global scenario. It will shed light on the nation’s proactive approach, its diplomatic endeavors, and its vision for a stronger, more influential role on the global stage. As the world grapples with a multitude of issues, from the ongoing pandemic to climate change and economic fluctuations, Bangladesh’s response offers valuable insights for nations worldwide, making it a significant subject of international interest.
The world is a stage in constant flux, where nations must deftly navigate an ever-changing geopolitical landscape. At this crucial juncture in history, Bangladesh, renowned for its resilience and dynamism, finds itself confronted with a unique set of challenges that demand innovative solutions. To shed light on how Bangladesh is addressing these challenges and to facilitate an exchange of ideas, Diplomats World Magazine, the only diplomatic magazine in the country, recently hosted a seminar titled “Navigating Challenges: Bangladesh’s Response to the Current Global Situation.” The event, held on the 29th of October 2023, brought together an array of distinguished speakers, diplomats, and foreign policy experts.
The seminar served as a significant platform for an in-depth exploration of Bangladesh’s response to the challenges posed by the evolving global landscape. Distinguished figures, including former State Minister for Foreign Affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea H.E. PARK Young Sik, Brunei High Commissioner to Bangladesh H.E. Haji Haris bin Haji Othman, High Commission of the Republic of Singapore – Bangladesh Charge d’Affaires and Counsellor Ms Sheela Pillai, Editor of Diplomats Ambassador Shahed Akhtar, and Lt Gen Mohammad Mahfuzur Rahman, among others, shared their insights and expertise.
As the Chief Guest of the seminar, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen addressed the audience, expressing his views on the current state of international affairs. He touched on the use of democracy and human rights as tools by certain powerful countries to exert pressure on nations to further their narrow national interests. This selective approach, he noted, has contributed to eroding trust and solidarity among nations, creating one of the most critical crises of our time.
Foreign Minister Momen emphasized that, while Bangladesh values freedom of the media and free speech, it refrains from taking action against propaganda machines, as it believes in the wisdom and discernment of its people.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has raised pertinent concerns at a seminar without explicitly naming any countries. He decried the exploitation of democracy and human rights as tools to advance narrow national interests by powerful nations. He emphasized the erosion of trust and solidarity among nations due to this selective approach. Notably, certain Bangladeshis living abroad, sometimes supported by external groups, have played a role in propagating this agenda.
Momen applauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for setting a robust example of Bangladesh’s commitment to democracy and human rights. Under her leadership, successive governments have ended impunity, strengthened democratic institutions, combated terrorism and extremism, and prioritized the well-being of the people.
He highlighted the Election Commission’s ongoing efforts to ensure the credibility and efficiency of elections, including measures such as photo-based voter ID cards and transparent ballot boxes.
Momen stressed Bangladesh’s commitment to its foreign policy principles and the importance of strengthening capacity to address global economic concerns and achieve its development goals, including becoming a developed nation by 2041.
The Foreign Minister also addressed the pressing issue of repatriating Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMNs). He underscored Bangladesh’s significant role as a first responder, providing temporary shelter and essential humanitarian support to Rohingyas. However, with the cost increasing and international assistance decreasing, Bangladesh seeks a sustainable solution to repatriate these displaced individuals to prevent potential security risks and regional instability.
Momen called upon the international community to share the responsibility for resolving this crisis and easing the burden on Bangladesh, emphasizing the need for equitable global solidarity and support in meeting humanitarian and accountability challenges.
The Minister highlighted the commitment of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to promoting democracy and human rights, asserting that successive governments have ended the culture of impunity, strengthened democratic institutions, and ensured economic and social well-being for the people.
In his insightful speech, Lt Gen Mohammad Mahfuzur Rahman, a retired military professional, delved into a range of global conflict situations and their security implications. He highlighted key areas of tension, including the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the Israel-Palestine issue in the volatile Middle East, and geopolitical dynamics in the South China Sea. He also examined the rise of militant groups and power rivalries involving countries like NATO, Russia, China, and Iran.
The speech underscored the limits of autonomy for small states in geopolitics and offered valuable lessons. It warned against taking significant risks based on promises from larger powers and suggested that small states could engage in “militant diplomacy” to balance competing interests. It also emphasized the importance of developing a cohesive society, strong institutions, good governance, and a culture of accountability. Furthermore, Lt Gen Rahman stressed the significance of building a credible deterrence force to navigate through global and regional challenges effectively. Small states, including Bangladesh, can influence the choices of hegemonic powers by bolstering these aspects of their national strength.
In a world marked by complexity and challenges, the seminar provided a platform for Bangladesh to express its diplomatic resolve and commitment to navigate these challenges while upholding its principles of democracy and human rights. As the nation stands at this pivotal juncture in history, its response to the ever-shifting global landscape holds valuable lessons for countries worldwide, making it a subject of international interest.
AKM SAYEDAD HOSSAIN
ASSOCIATE EDITOR, DIPLOMATS PUBLICATION