As Bangladesh celebrates 50 years of its extraordinary journey as a nation, this year also marks 70 years since the British Council opened its first office in Dhaka. For more than half a century, the British Council has been building cultural relations between Bangladesh and the UK.
The British Council’s global Chairman, Stevie Spring CBE is now in Dhaka to celebrate the shared history between Bangladesh and the British Council, and to further strengthen the friendship that exists between Bangladesh and the UK.
Stevie Spring CBE, Chairman, British Council said: ‘This year, as Bangladesh celebrates 50 years of its independence, the British Council is also celebrating 70-year anniversary in Dhaka. The British Council opened its first office in Dhaka in November 1951, and it is truly fantastic to see how our work in English, education, arts and culture is continuing to build people to people connections between Bangladesh and the UK.’
To mark this significant anniversary year, the British Council has initiated various creative collaborations including ‘UK 1971: People's Solidarity with Bangladesh's Liberation’ – a photography exhibition in partnership with the Liberation War Museum and Archive London 1971. This exhibition showcases 40 rare photographs, highlighting the public movement in the UK, in support of the Liberation war of Bangladesh. From Nottingham to Birmingham to London, this archival collection documents Bengali diaspora communities as they raised their voices in solidarity for a liberated Bangladesh in 1971.
The exhibition consists of collections from Archive London 1971 and Liberation War Museum.
K M Khaled, State Minister Cultural Affairs inaugurated the exhibition on 20 November while the members of the Board of Trustees of the Liberation War Museum and senior officials of the British council were in attendance.
In his speech K M Khaled, State Minister Cultural Affairs said, ‘The Liberation War of Bangladesh instigated a massive uproar in the international community, especially Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK. I am pleased that the British Council, the Liberation War Museum and Archive London 1971 has taken the initiative to document the support and cooperation that was extended to us by the UK during 1971 which is continued till date. Currently, the UK holds the second largest Bangladesh Diaspora Community, forming one of the UK's largest group of people of overseas descent and are also one of the youngest and fastest growing communities.’
Refereeing to the exhibition, Stevie Spring CBE, Chairman, British Council said: ‘The ‘UK 1971: People’s Solidarity with Bangladesh’s Liberation’ exhibition is a reminder of the massive outpouring of support from the British public for Bangladesh's Liberation movement in 1971. Over the last 50 years, the friendship between our two countries has grown stronger, and our connections are closer than ever before. These cultural ties are further reinforced through the large and active Bangladeshi diaspora community in the UK, many of whom were involved in the Liberation War demonstrations across the UK, half a century ago.’
The exhibition in the Liberation War Museum will continue till 16 December 2021.