The British Council held a press conference today at its Main Premises in Fuller Road, Dhaka. Following the press conference, the British Council unveiled a memorial in honour of eight police guards, who gave their lives protecting British Council on 25 March, 1971.
Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive; Mark Stephens, Regional Director, South Asia; and Barbara Wickham, Director Bangladesh were among the panelists at the press conference.
The conference highlighted the purpose of Sir Ciarán Devane’s visit - to understand the broad portfolio of work focused on the youth population and its impact both in Bangladesh and the UK.
The central focus of Sir Ciarán Devane’s programme was to see first-hand the progress of the British Council’s priority areas in Bangladesh, which took him across Dhaka to meet with a variety of partners across Education, Society and the Arts.
The areas of priority for the British Council in Bangladesh focuses on engagement with young people across the country to foster leadership and 21st Century skills that will enable young active citizens to build stronger communities, and in addition to a particular focus on girls, by providing them with training in English language and ICT to build confidence and a springboard for the future.
There are also key programs around Arts for social change, using the Arts as a medium to highlight difficult social issues and prompt meaningful discussion around them. As part of his visit, Mr Devane also visited a school to see a reading program in action, in partnership with HSBC.
In the conference, Sir Ciarán Devane highlighted the global cultural relations work of the British Council and the positive relationship it fosters between Bangladesh and the UK. He said
‘The British Council plays an important role in the exchange of ideas, knowledge and discovery between Bangladesh and the UK. We have been working in Bangladesh for almost 70 years, and continue to contribute to the ongoing growth of Bangladesh, through the best of the UK in Education, Society and the Arts’
The unveiling of the memorial following the conference was aimed at highlighting the sacrifice made by eight Bangladeshi security guards who died while protecting the British Council’s premises during the Black Night of 1971. The memorial also aspires to serve as a poignant reminder of the British Council’s commitment as a cultural relations organisation through the different periods of a country’s history
Barbara Wickham said
‘The British Council through the unveiling of this memorial, wishes to express our sincere gratitude to the eight brave guards who gave their lives to protect the British Council while on duty in March 1971’
During the program, the panelists answered several questions posed by members of the Bangladeshi media present at the occasion.