Ban Ki-moon, Gordon Brown among global figures who will address or attend the two-day event

President Md Abdul Hamid will inaugurate the World Peace Conference 2021 in Dhaka on Saturday that will bring together global thinkers, writers, poets, singers and political personalities to promote a culture of peace and tolerance.

The conference will look back on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s vision and political struggle for peace.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend the closing ceremony of the two-day conference on Sunday as the chief guest. Both the president and the prime minister will join the event virtually, reports UNB.

The conference, to be held in a hybrid format through both physical and virtual participation, will also shed light on the legacy being carried forward by Prime Minister Hasina in her “untiring quest” for building a peaceful, just, rights-based, inclusive and prosperous nation.

“Bangladesh will get a special document through the adoption of ‘Dhaka Peace Declaration’ which will work as a reference for Bangladesh’s all peace and security-related global initiatives to be taken in the future,” said Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen.

He said Bangladesh did not invite any head of state or government to the conference but invited peace activists, writers, poets, singers and civil society members from different countries to join the conference.

Representatives from 50 countries will join the conference both virtually and in person. Around 59 participants from over 30 countries will join in person while around 40 guests virtually. Some of the guests will send video messages.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam said some invited guests converted their participation in the virtual one due to new reality amid the new Covid-19 variant though they initially planned to join in person

The guests who were scheduled to come from South Africa will now join virtually.

On the occasion of 50 years of Independence and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh celebrates five decades of its peace-centric diplomacy aimed at promoting sustainable development, fundamental rights and freedoms, and social justice and inclusion.

Bangladesh is hosting the World Peace Conference as part of its celebrations of the Mujib Year, the birth centenary of Bangabandhu and the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh.

The idea of holding the conference is to let the world feel that peace has to be cherished in multifarious ways, perceiving that the invaluable contributions of the global pioneers are universal and that peace will be sustainable only through social justice, equity and inclusiveness, the government said.

Prominent speakers 

Those who will join the two-day event include Ban Ki-moon, former secretary general of the United Nations; Goh Chok Tong, former prime minister of Singapore; Gordon Brown, former prime minister of the United Kingdom; Irina Bokova, former foreign minister of Bulgaria; José Ramos-Horta, former president of East Timor; Tan Sri Dr Syed Hamid Albar, chairman of World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation; Dr Francisco Rojas Aravena, rector of University for Peace; Surichai Wun’Gaeo, director of Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Chulalongkorn University; Husain Haqqani, former Pakistan ambassador to United States and Sri Lanka; Dr Akiko Horiba, program director and senior program officer of Asia Peace Initiative Department at Sasakawa Peace Foundation; Archie Law, chair of Sydney Peace Foundation; Dr Irene Victoria Massimino, human rights lawyer, professor and activist; Simone Neads, managing editor of The European Security Journal; Philip Ruddock AO, president of NSW Liberal Party; Chandrika N Wijeyaratne, vice-chancellor of University of Colombo, Sri Lanka; and David Wick, executive director of Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, among others.

During the conference, a number of panel discussions will be held which will be participated by intellectuals, educationists, eminent personalities and the people of high stature from around the world who are dedicated to establishing peace.

The conference will conclude with the “Dhaka Peace Declaration, 2021.”

It is expected that the conference will offer an opportunity to people around the world to share the bright ideas of the distinguished discussants and be able to impart those ideas in their respective countries with a view to achieving sustainable global peace.

Earlier, a 46-member committee was formed with Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury as its chair and Saima Wazed Hossain as its member secretary to successfully host the World Peace Conference.

The in-person sessions of the conference will be held in Hotel InterContinental, Hotel Sonargaon and Foreign Service Academy.

The inaugural and closing ceremony will be held in InterContinental while panel discussion will be held at Foreign Service Academy.

Speaker Chaudhury will host dinner for the guests on Saturday. That will be followed by cultural programs.

The participating guests will visit a number of places of historical importance, including the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi 32.

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