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Delegates at the event

Question of Identity? Bangladesh approaches 50 years of independence

2 December 2019

The Commonwealth’s Countering Violent Extremism Unit has launched a project to explore what it means to be a young Bangladeshi, as the country approaches 50 years of independence. 

The Amader Porichoy (Our Identity) project explores the subject of identity in Bangladesh anchored to a film looking at the lives of two people from different backgrounds set during the 1971 liberation of Bangladesh.

The launch event in Dhaka was attended by student representatives from a number of the capital’s universities, young leaders from the unit’s Faith in the Commonwealth programme (held in May 2018), senior officials from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and dignitaries including the British High Commissioner and the UAE High Commissioner.

The project will get fully underway in December, driven by several universities across three cities (Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong). Among the participants will be students from various disciplines getting together and sharing views on cross-generational experiences on the subject of Bangladeshi identity: both pre and post 1971.

The project will include raising awareness of misinformation and ‘fake news’, and the screening of the film ‘Shongram’ produced by British Bangladeshi film maker Munsur Ali.

Representatives of the government of Bangladesh have lent their support and welcomed the timely and innovative project in the lead up to the 50-year anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence.

Assan Ali from the Commonwealth Secretariat’s CVE Unit said: “Open dialogue and interaction between groups from different faiths (or none) and cultures can improve mutual understanding, respect and tolerance, and counter any misunderstanding that may foster conflict and extremism”

The project will be delivered by The Commonwealth in collaboration with British-Bangladeshi film maker Munsur Ali, who recently released ‘Shongram’ nationally in UK theatres sharing the story of 1971 to a global audience.

“It’s amazing to see your work being recognised on the international platform but more importantly to have my film as the main attraction of a unique initiative which explores identity and inclusion is truly an honour and I am grateful to the Commonwealth Secretariat for this,” said Munsur Ali.

Dr Mamun from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “It’s great to see the subject of identity being discussed through the lens cross-generational experiences. We are proud to be supporting this and commend the Commonwealth Secretariat in its efforts to support Bangladesh.”