The British Council is the UK’s international cultural organization has a history of delivering international festivals around the globe and adapting them to the local context. In this regard, the British Council brings in an international programme for the citizens of Chittagong at the Public Library as the people outside Dhaka rarely get the opportunity to such international programmes. The programme was open for public from all background that includes – women, youth, and people from semi-urban areas in Chittagong.
The Programme started with the WOW Dhaka: Chittagong Chapter. The initiative is part of the British Council and Southbank Centre’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and in particular to the women in South Asia who go from strength to strength in overcoming odds in their daily lives, politics, education and creative disciplines.
A series of events and activities all over Bangladesh for next two years will lead up to WOW (Women of the World) Dhaka in 2019. As a part of that initiative, the first event, Chittagong Chapter of WOW Dhaka was organized jointly by the British Council, South Bank Centre, Bonhishikha and SPaRC at Chittagong.
The programme brought together people from all over Chittagong that includes community leaders, activist, entrepreneurs, students, media personals and semi-urban representation to have a conversation around societal and cultural challenges, taboos, and stereotypes.
The event consisted of speed mentoring, panel discussions, performances, inspirational talks and many more, highlighting the particular challenges facing the women of Bangladesh. Topics covered include tech for women, legal support, health, leadership, and how to support young Bangladeshi people as empowered individuals.
Ashish Kumar Sarker, Director General, Department of Public Libraries Additional Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Barbara Wickham, Director Bangladesh, British Council and Domino Pateman, Senior Programmer, WOW – Women of the World attended the Chittagong Chapter of the globally observed event.
Barbara said, ‘Women are more empowered now than ever before. However, there is still much to be done to ensure equal rights of the genders at all levels, everywhere. WOW is an excellent initiative to attain that objective, and we are delighted to be associated with it.’
Following the WOW programme, the British Council opened another door of opportunity for the citizens of Chittagong to enrich their knowledge further. The British Council introduced an “English Language Self Access Centre” at the Chittagong Public Library. Mr. Ashish Kumar Sarker, Director General, Department of Public Libraries Additional Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs inaugurated an English language Self Access Centre (English language SAC) for library users at the Chittagong Public Library where the British Council has donated around 2500 Books, 6 Computers, furniture, 300 DVDs and a 42″ LED TV for library users. The English language SAC will be set up on the first floor, beside the newspaper reading room, at the Chittagong Public Library.
The programme ended with a networking session among the stakeholders in order to promote and enhance collaboration to exchange culture and spread knowledge throughout the country.