UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, on Wednesday announced the appointment of British actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw as its newest global Goodwill Ambassador.
Gugu has been working as a high-profile supporter for UNHCR since 2018 and is a powerful advocate for the rights of refugees.
Also read: Bangladesh becomes UNHRC member
“I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to work in support of refugees and help amplify their voices. I am always amazed by their courage and strength in the face of such seemingly insurmountable odds and it’s a real honour to play a part in sharing their stories," she said.
The Covid crisis has made them all aware of the fragility of the lives they build and the importance of doing all they can to support those who have had to leave the place they call home, said Gugu.
“The crisis has also taught us that, in this interconnected world, we are only as strong as the most vulnerable in society. Inclusion of refugees is vital in ensuring the wellbeing of whole communities.”
Also read: Tahsan becomes UNHCR goodwill ambassador
Gugu’s robust engagement with UNHCR and advocacy for people forced to flee has seen her take part in UNHCR’s EveryOneCounts campaign, challenging xenophobia and advocating for stronger partnerships to find solutions to global displacement.
She also contributed to UNHCR’s COVID-19 awareness appeal and to an IMDb and UNHCR partnership, Films of Hope, to raise funds for the Covid Solidarity Appeal.
She has spent time in the field, hearing directly from refugees about their experiences of conflict, displacement and exile.
This included visits to Burundian and Congolese refugees in Rwanda as well as in Uganda, learning from refugee women who survived conflict-related sexual violence and also refugee youths living with albinism.
In her public advocacy for refugees, Gugu has spoken at UNHCR events in Venice , Los Angeles and London and has written about the refugee cause in outlets such as Refinery29 and Vogue.
She has also used her own artwork to raise awareness for refugees on social media and is a keen supporter of MADE51, a programme that empowers refugee artisans by helping them sell products globally.
“We appreciate Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s heartfelt advocacy and support for refugees and welcome her to the UNHCR family. We look forward to continuing our work together to help raise attention on the issues and needs facing refugees,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
“Now more than ever, in the context of the unprecedented impact of the Covid pandemic, the voices of refugees – some of the most marginalized and forgotten people on earth – need to be heard and amplified”.
Gugu is known for her award-winning role in Belle, Beyond the Lights and Black Mirror San Junipero and most recently starred in The Morning Show, Misbehaviour and Summerland.
She will next be seen in Loki, the Marvel limited series coming to Disney + this Spring. Gugu was awarded an MBE in 2018 for services to Drama.
The 4th Bangladesh-Japan Joint PPP platform meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday highlighting important projects presented by the Japanese side.
Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan jointly organised the web conference.
Salman F. Rahman, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to Prime Minister, Nomura Masafumi, Vice-Minister, MLIT, Japan, Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Tofazzel Hossain Miah, Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, Ito Naoki, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Shahabuddin Ahmed, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Japan, Sultana Afroz, Secretary and CEO of PPPA, Secretaries of concerned ministries, senior government officials, private investors, representatives of financial institutions, MLIT and PPPA joined the meeting.
Construction of Multimodal Transport Hub (MmTH) Kamalapur Railway Station Project was presented by Kajima Corporation while Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar Highway Project (to be developed into a four-lane expressway) was shown by Marubeni Corporation.
Buet has already submitted their findings and the progress of their work to Road and Highways Department. Progress of the Dhaka Outer Ring Road Project was also presented by RHD.
Detailed Design, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of Mass Rapid Transit MRT Line-2 project presentation was delivered by DMTCL.
Along the previous projects, two new projects were discussed for implementing under this platform.
These two projects are i) ‘Upgrading of Nabinagar-Manikgong-Paturia Road (N5) into Expressway Project’ presented by Roads and Highways Department (RHD); and (ii) ‘Concession for Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and Developments of Surrounding Area’ presented by Mitsubishi Corporation.
Ambassador Naoki said Bangladesh and Japan will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations between both countries.
The Ambassador of Bangladesh to Japan emphasized the importance of PPP with Japan where Bangladesh will benefit from the transfer of technical knowledge, reduced risk exposure and availability of capital.
Tofazzel Miah was impressed to see how MLIT and PPPA are working together and emphasize to select and implement large scale infrastructure projects in Bangladesh which will be a win win situation for both coutnries.
Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus highlighted the historical ties between Bangladesh and Japan, that goes back to the early 20th century when Rabindranath Tagore spent significant time with Japanese artists in Japan.
He also mentioned that one of the best documentaries of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was made by a Japanese journalist. He also appreciated Japan’s support for PPP projects in Bangladesh as a trusted development partner.
Masafumi appreciated the support of PPPA and the government of Bangladesh not only for organizing the event but also for strengthening the partnership between Japanese investors and the Bangladesh government agencies.
Salman opined that PPP under the G2G modality is the best comfortable way to meet the much-needed infrastructure in Bangladesh.
He also encouraged MLIT and the Japanese private to partner with Bangladesh private investors to implement PPP projects
Amakawa Hirofumi, Assistant Vice Minister, MLIT, Japan expressed his gratitude to the Bangladesh Government, PPPA, private investors for their efforts to reach a higher level of development towards the proposed projects.
He hoped that the decision making could be a little faster.
Sultana Afroz thanked the distinguished participants for their active participation.
Bangladesh and Uzbekistan have discussed involvement of "Uztekstilprom" in the upcoming third Joint Working Commission (JWC) meeting between the two countries to expand ties in new areas.
Bangladesh Ambassador to Uzbekistan Md Zahangir Alam had a meeting with Ilkhom Khaidarov Utkurovich, former Ambassador and Chairman (with status of a Cabinet Minister) of the government organization "Uztekstilprom", Association of Enterprises of the Textiles of the Republic of Uzbekistan at the Association office on Tuesday.
During the meeting both sides discussed about involvement of "Uztekstilprom" in the upcoming JWC meeting, said the Bangladesh Embassy on Wednesday.
The two countries want to expand relations in textile sector, leather products as well as jute industry, collaboration in the field of IT and software products and services related to textile industry, availing opportunities being provided in Free Economic Zones of Uzbekistan.
Bangladesh sought investment in Economic Zones during the meeting and laid emphasis on exchange of educational, research and training programmes related to textiles especially textile engineering and opening branch of Bangladesh University of Textiles in Tashkent.
Ilkhom Khaidarov assured Bangladesh Ambassador to share detailed information on all opportunities/facilities for investors and ensure land free of cost and banking support for Bangladesh investors/entrepreneurs by sending formal letter to Bangladesh Embassy.
DCM and Minister of Bangladesh Embassy Nripendra Chandra Debnath along with HR Director, Director for Logistics and Foreign Relations Director of the Association were present during the meeting.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said Bangladesh wants to elevate her relations with the US from partnership to a strategic level through maintaining a close and sustained contact with the US leadership.
He expressed the hope that US President Joe Biden would visit Bangladesh soon as the two countries want to work together to address common challenges in the region and its beyond.
Dr Momen also invited Secretary of State Antony Blinken to visit Bangladesh soon to see the socio-economic achievements, and join the celebrations of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh.
Also read:Biden's win a blessing for world: FM
US Secretary of State Blinken said the US considers Bangladesh as a "crucial economic and security partner" in the Indo-Pacific region.
He lauded Bangladesh’s “remarkable” economic performance and mentioned the existing strong economic partnership between the two countries.
Dr Momen and Blinken expressed their willingness to further deepen Bangladesh-US relations by advancing common goals and mutual interests.
In a tele-conversation, held between the two in Washington on Tuesday, the Foreign Minister and the Secretary of State have agreed to work together to further strengthen bilateral relations and enhance cooperation on global issues.
At the beginning of the discussion, US Secretary of State expressed his regret that he could not physically meet Foreign Minister Dr Momen due to the Covid-19 health restrictions, and termed Bangladesh-US relations as a ‘growing and deep’ one.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister underscored the need for early deportation of Rashed Chowdhury, the self-confessed killer of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in the spirit of the shared values of establishing good governance, the rule of law and justice.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister said while his government was working with the US Department of Justice on this issue, support from the State Department on this important matter will be greatly appreciated.
Dr Momen congratulated the new US administration for upholding the democratic process with a strong popular mandate, assuming once again America’s global leadership role.
He also appreciated the new US Administration’s approach of handling the Covid pandemic challenges and emphasised the exchange of visits at the highest political levels between the two countries.
On tackling the Covid-19, the Foreign Minister briefed his counterpart on the Bangladesh government’s effective handling of the pandemic, including the ongoing the vaccination program that have reduced the number of infection and fatality on the one hand and kept the economy running.
He noted with satisfaction the excellent cooperation between the two countries in tackling Covid-19, as manifested through the US donation of high-quality ventilators and Bangladesh’s supply of 6.5 million PPEs to the US in the initial phase of the pandemic.
The Foreign Minister said Bangladeshis are ready to supply medical instruments, like syringes.
The Secretary of State appreciated Bangladesh’s remarkable success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic situation and hoped that both the countries would be able to find newer avenues for collaboration in the post Covid-19 era by mutual support and cooperation.
Mentioning the recently held US-Bangladesh Economic Partnership Consultation, Secretary Blinken said the consultation had created great opportunities to advance cooperation in health, energy and business sectors.
He sought favourable policy support from the Bangladesh government to secure enabling business and investment climate for promoting more trade and investment between the two countries.
The Foreign Minister welcomed US investment in Special Economic zones and High-Tech Parks, underscoring the higher return of investment from Bangladesh as well as the good connectivity.
Both sides expressed their optimism that the US companies would take advantage of the competitiveness of Bangladesh and invest in the country in much greater volume, particularly in the areas of ICT, energy, pharmaceuticals and infrastructural development.
The Foreign Minister also requested the US Secretary of State to consider providing assistance in water management.
Both sides agreed to work together on the promotion of democracy, good governance and human rights.
On Rohingya issue, the Foreign Minister expresses his thanks and gratitude to the US government for its humanitarian and political support to Bangladesh to cope with the Rohingya exodus.
He emphasised that the US should take the lead and bring the international community together to put enough political pressure on Myanmar to create condition for the sustainable return of the Rohingyas.
Thanking the US government for imposing sanctions on some individuals, he encouraged the US government to take more stringent measures like imposing economic sanction and withdrawing GSP facilities of Myanmar.
Foreign Minister Dr Momen further recommended that the US may appoint a Special Envoy on Rohingya in order to press Myanmar to create a conducive environment for the repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas to Myanmar.
Secretary Blinken appreciated Bangladesh for sheltering over one million Rohingyas and showed his government’s full understanding of the tremendous pressure it has created on the government and the people of Bangladesh.
Expressing concern on the disruption in the democratic process in Myanmar, Secretary Blinken assured that the US would continue its support for Bangladesh on Rohingya issue.
Foreign Minister Dr Momen welcomed the decision of the US to return to the Paris Climate Agreement.
Recalling his recent discussion with US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry, he also hoped that the new US administration with their climate agenda would be more actively engaged with climate vulnerable countries, including Bangladesh to address the threats and challenges posed by impacts of climate change, including the issues like losses and damages.
He expressed optimism that the two sides would be able to work closely on climate change before and during the upcoming COP26.
Dr. Momen is currently visiting Washington DC on an official trip to reach out the new administration to further enhance the level of cooperation between Bangladesh and the United States.
China has said it will continue its vaccine cooperation with relevant countries including Bangladesh, offering support within its capability.
"Till today, our Bangladeshi friend has not authorized or accepted the emergency use of Chinese vaccines due to its domestic regulatory clearance," noted the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka on Tuesday.
China will make concrete contributions to securing a victory against the pandemic as soon as possible and to building a global community of health for all, it said.
China is providing vaccine aid to 53 developing countries and exporting vaccines to 22 countries.
Earlier, China decided to offer 10 million vaccines to COVAX, mainly to help meet the needs of developing countries.
By helping countries in need, China has taken concrete steps to honor its pledge to make vaccines global public goods, once available, with greater affordability and accessibility in developing countries, said the Embassy.