President of Bangladesh Opens National Conference to Advance ‘Dignity For All’
The Honorable President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Mr. Md. Zillur Rahman inaugurated a daylong National Conference on Dignity for All: Bangladesh as a Model for the Global Community, on January 18, 2011 in Dhaka. The conference was organized at Osmani Memorial Hall by Civic Bangladesh in collaboration with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
The first national conference of its kind representing the culmination of four years of educational campaigns to rally and inspire people at all levels of society is expected to ignite a new social movement in Bangladesh that may eventually be replicable in the world.
Special guests at the conference included the Minister for Home Affairs Advocate Shahara Khatun; Minister for Information and Culture Mr. Md. Abul Kalam Azad; Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, Vice-Chancellor, University of Dhaka; and Advocate Moinuddin Miaji, Ex MP, Chairman, Bangladesh Accreditation Board, Ministry of Industries, Government of Bangladesh.
The conference was keynoted by the Co-founder of the World Hunger Project, a global campaigner of “Dignity for All,” and author of All Rise Dr. Robert W. Fuller, who was also Advisor to late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1970-71.
The inaugural and working sessions of the conference were attended by national and international human rights activists, thinkers, intellectuals, political leaders, educators, students, lawyers, journalists, physicians, cultural and developmental activists, and the members of Bangladesh Dignity Forum. (Bangladesh Dignity Forum is a platform that Civic Bangladesh has built to spearhead its Dignity-for-All campaign across the country.)
The inaugural ceremony was followed in the afternoon by three different working sessions on dignity in governance, media, and education at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy to build new models of development using the concept of dignity and to expedite ongoing work in the fields.
With the participants assembling in the auditorium of Shilpakala Academy, the plenary was facilitated by Mr. Bayezid Dawla, Dr. Robert W. Fuller, Dr. Pamela Gerloff and Mr. Mustaque Shameem, Acting Director-General of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
While addressing the plenary, Mr. Hasanul Huq Inu MP, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication emphasized the need to ensure dignity for all in order to strengthen the democratic institutions of the country.
The plenary also attended among others by Editor of The Independent and former advisor to the caretaker government Mr. Mahbubul Alam, and lawyer Barrister Tania Amir, split into three different working sessions on governance, education and media.
Mr. Bayezid Dawla, Executive Director, Civic Bangladesh, and Dr. Robert W. Fuller co-facilitated the working session on “Dignity in Governance: The Power of Dignity to Unify Political Factions and to Broker International Peace”.
Education and Human Potential Specialist and co-author of Dignity for All Dr. Pamela A. Gerloff and Chairperson of Bangladesh Dignity Forum Engineer Musbah Alim co-facilitated the session on “Dignity in Education: Realizing the Vision”.
Asia Regional Director of Internews Mr. Oren Murphy and Senior Vice-Chairperson of Bangladesh Dignity Forum Mr. Harunur Rashid co-chaired the session on “Dignity in Media: Establishing the Right to Information”, while senior journalist Mr. Hamiduzzaman moderated the session.
Professor Claire E. Sheridan of Saint Mary’s College in California, USA, and Mr. Sayeed Kazal, Executive Director, Communication For All, led an open video session on “The Voice of Dignity in Bangladesh”.
Before taking part in the working sessions at Shilpakala Academy, the participants took out a short road show from Osmani Memorial Hall and paraded the city streets between the two venues. The show drew public attention to the following call:Ensure dignity for all.
While walking down the city streets, the participants also delivered the following message:
Dignity is your right. It’s also everyone else’s.
Posters, T-shirts and caps containing the above message were distributed among the participants and organizations working across the country.