Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina enjoying a cultural programme held on the occasion of Cultural Diversity Ministerial Forum of the Asia Pacific Region 2012 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city Wednesday. — PID Photo
"Indeed, I believe our cultures do contribute significantly to the beauty of our world and make our lives fulfilling," she said while inaugurating the three-day Cultural Diversity Ministerial Forum of the Asia-Pacific Region-2012.
Culture and heritage have the strength to overcome the fearsome forces of terrorism, extremism and the other challenges of our globalised world, she said.
Saying that the Asia-Pacific region, which comprises 60 per cent of the world's population of many races, ethnicities, faiths, and heritages and some of the oldest human civilisations, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh stands into the mid of variety of the beauty, colour and culture, is a best choice of UNESCO for the event.
Minister for Information and Cultural Affairs Abul Kalam Azad chaired the inaugural ceremony held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC). Ministerial level officials of 44 countries are taking part in the forum.
Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, Vice President of Kiribati Teima Onorio and State Minister for Cultural Affairs Advocate Promode Mankin spoke, among others on the occasion while Cultural Affairs secretary Surayia Begum gave the welcome address.
The premier said Bangladesh is one of few countries, that are committed to recognise, evaluate, safeguard, and utilise cultural activities, tradition and economic prosperity of people of every religion, group, ethnicity in line with its constitution that ensures protection and promotion of diversity of cultural expressions.
"People of all different races, religions, creed and cultures from ancient times were drawn to this land of abundance and mingled with the indigenous ones, and with their culture turning the land into a centre of diversities," she noted.
She said "Through years of living together, people of Bangladesh learned to live in harmony and peace with their own identities and cultures as a secular society. Today all of them metamorphosed into our distinct 'Bangalee Culture' and way of life".
Terming the language as the most powerful means for expression of cultural diversity, she said "We are very proud that our nationalism originated largely from our language-based cultural heritage."
Our Staff Reporter adds: Ministers and representatives from Asia and the Pacific region at a gathering in the capital Wednesday stressed the need for promoting diversity of cultural expressions for sustainable development in the world.
They also laid emphasis to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of culture and development initiatives and protection of old culture.
The observations came at the first plenary session of a three day Cultural Diversity Ministerial Forum of the Asia- Pacific held at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Government of Bangladesh organised the three day event.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith chaired the first plenary session.
He said patriotism, ethics and statistics are important for protecting culture. The government has taken initiatives for the protection and development of cultures of the society.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Dr Atiur Rahman stressed the need for participation of the community and society for cultural development. He said that the minority groups' culture must have the space to flourish.
He said the BB was involved with the cultural development programme. He said that every year BB publishes corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports of the banks on the promotion and development of culture.
"The government has spent Tk 270 million for the development of Liberation War Museum," he mentioned.
Prof Abul Barakat in his paper has pointed out some key issues for the cultural development.
Barakat said, the world is divided into eight major cultural zones. Culture promotes development. Each culture has dignity and values. Real development of culture promotes political and social development of the country.
Prof Imtiaz Ahmed of Dhaka University proposed to set up Asia- Pacific Media Satellite so that it could help establish the Asia- Pacific Virtual University for the preservation and promotion of cultures.
The ministerial forum called upon UNESCO to assist efforts to implement the Dhaka Declaration throughout Asia and the Pacific to raise awareness of the 2005 convention among Asia and Pacific countries aimed at increasing ratification as well as facilitating its implementation by the parties and foster regional cooperation among networks of professionals working in the fields of cultural and creative industries.
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