News Desk : dhakamirror.com
The Festival of Tolerance was held on Sunday at Zilla Shilpakala Academy in Chattogram with the goal of building a peaceful, tolerant, and harmonious Bangladesh.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organised the festival as part of its Partnerships for a More Tolerant and Inclusive Bangladesh (PTIB) project, with support from the Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka, in collaboration with the ICT Division, and UNESCO, read a press release.
Speaking as the chief guest, Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury said, “Our government is continuing the great development path by bringing people from all ethnic groups, religions, colours, languages, and traditions together to build a Smart Bangladesh. We believe that cultural and ethnic variety will contribute to sustainable economic development and prosperity in Bangladesh.”
He also underscored the importance of ensuring a safe and inclusive cyberspace for all citizens
Sonali Dayaratne, deputy resident representative of UNDP Bangladesh, said, “Bangladesh has a history of rich cultural, religious, and ethnic diversity. For decades, the country has upheld the values of unity in diversity. The importance of diversity is also well reflected in the government’s vision of a “Smart” Bangladesh.
“In particular, in the ambitions of nurturing and promoting Bangladesh’s culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence for human development.”
Ambassador Espen Rikter-Svendsen of the Royal Norwegian Embassy commended Bangladesh’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity, acknowledging the connection between inclusion, community, and tolerance.
“Norway always regards diversity and harmony with special attention and dignity. To address intolerance, I see a connection between inclusion, community, and diversity, which the PTIB Project also points out. I believe that Bangladesh will continue to uplift the values of humanity, harmony, and togetherness for balanced and just development,” the ambassador said.
The festival also featured notable figures such as Mostafa Kamal Jatra, executive director of Unite Theater for Social Action, and Nirupa Dewan, former member of the National Human Rights Commission, who expressed their optimism for a more tolerant and peaceful society.
Abu Sayed, project director of the PTIB Project, emphasised the role of technology in promoting virtual tolerance and countering hate speech.
The event showcased cultural diversity through performances, including harmony dances, Chakma songs, and music by children with special needs, underscoring the power of art and culture in fostering unity.
A discussion session on “Youth Mindfulness towards Tolerance” moderated by Sheela Tasneem Haq, senior governance specialist, UNDP, engaged the youth in envisioning a smarter and more harmonious Bangladesh. – Press release