Thursday 04 October 2018

The British Council being the UK’s international cultural organisation has a history of delivering international festivals around the globe and adapting them to the local context. In this regard, the British Council Bangladesh and South Bank Centre in partnership with CCD Bangladesh bring in an international festival, WOW DHAKA: RANGPUR CHAPTER for the citizens of Rangpur at Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur. The program aimed to introduce a global platform to celebrate and inspire women and girls from this divisions. The programme was open for public from all background that includes - women, youth, and people from Rangpur.

The initiative WOW Dhaka: Rangpur Chapter is a part of the British Council and Southbank Centre’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and to the women in Bangladesh who go from strength to strength in overcoming odds in their daily lives, politics, education and creative disciplines. A series of events and activities all over Bangladesh has been running for the last few months and will continue to lead up to WOW (Women of the World) Dhaka in 2019. As a part of the initiative, the event, Rangpur Chapter of WOW Dhaka was organised jointly by the British Council, South Bank Centre, CCD Bangladesh today.

The programme started with a panel discussion session at 2:30 pm with a panel discussion on “Histories and Futures of Bangladeshi Women’s Movements” where Nasima Zaman Bobi, renowned public representative and Chairman of Rangpur Sadar Upazila, Mushfeka Razzak, Chief Executive, Debi Chowdhurani and well-known social activist in Rangpur and Monjusree Saha, Former Director of RDRS and renowned social and cultural activist in Rangpur and Dr. Sarifa Salowa Dina, Professor of Bangla Department, Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur shared their perspectives and how the situation has been changed over time resulting in empowering more and more woman every day.

A Bhawaiya song performance followed the panel discussion session. Later in the afternoon audience witnessed some real stories through the WOW: Bites where five women shared their stories, achievements, learnings, and how life challenged. Advocate Safia Khanom, Bangladesh’s first female Zila Parishad Chairman, Rangpur District; Era Haque, President, Rangpur Women of Commerce and Industries; Sara Marandi, Executive Director, Amader Foundation; Nadira Kawsar, General Secretary, Prochesta Hizra Unnayan Songstha, Thakurgaon; Mini Khatun, Garments Worker of Rangpur was the speakers who shared their struggle and success.

The programme brought together people from all over Rangpur that includes community leaders, activist, entrepreneurs, students, media personals and semi-urban representation to have a conversation around societal and cultural challenges, taboos and stereotypes.

The programme was graced by the presence of Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Nazmul Kalimullah, BTFO, Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur and Barbara Wickham OBE, Director, British Council, Bangladesh

In the 100th anniversary year since the first British women won the right to vote, the event celebrates the changes brought about by women and men historically and brings together the voices of women and girls of all ages to transform the future for gender equality and highlight solutions to modern-day challenges. The WOW movement is growing and is now in over 20 cities across five continents including Karachi in Pakistan, Colombo in Srilanka, Kathmandu in Nepal, New York and Baltimore in the USA, across the UK and Australia.

Notes to Editor

Arshia Aziz, Director Marketing, Marketing, British Council Bangladesh


About the British Council

British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.


Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, comprising three iconic buildings (Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery) and occupying a 21acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Building on this rich heritage, Southbank Centre offers an extensive artistic and cultural programme including annual and one off themed festivals and classical and contemporary music, performance, dance, visual art and literature and spoken word events throughout the year.


WOW Women of the World Festival was launched by Southbank Centre Artistic Director Jude Kelly CBE in 2011, the centenary of International Women's Day. It has since grown into the largest women's festival network in the world, involving over a million people across five continents. Over the last five years, WOW has presented among many others, Nobel Peace Prizewinning Malala Yousafzai, Salma Hayek Pinault, Alice Walker, Vivienne Westwood, Christine Lagarde, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP, Annie Lennox, Ruby Wax, Patrick Stewart, Sinead O'Connor, Jessye Norman, Julie Walters, Naomi Wolf, Nawal El Sadaawi, Cherie Blair, Kiran Bedi, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC and many women who don’t have public profiles but have done extraordinary things. With the HRH Duchess of Cornwall as President, Southbank Centre is now planning a WOW Commonwealth festival at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 with all 53 nations. The WOW movement is growing, and is now in over 20 cities across five continents including New York and Baltimore in the USA, Finland, Karachi in Pakistan, and across the UK and Australia and in Hargeysa, Somaliland.