On this occasion of the 45th anniversary of the death of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, I would like to pay tribute to his life and legacy. Even four and a half decades after his death, the world still remembers his dedication, struggle and sacrifices when fighting for the rights and freedom of his people.
Our Organization shares this aspiration for an inclusive, equitable and democratic society — an aspiration that Bangabandhu presented on 7 March 1971 in a historic speech now inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of World International Register.
This year, UNESCO is joining the world in celebrating the 100th anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth. It is an opportunity to renew our commitment to his vision of a fairer world and to building societies that foster respect for the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of all people.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman strongly believed in the power of union between nations to build a better future. Stating this belief to the United Nations in 1974, he reaffirmed his ‘faith in the indomitable spirit of man — in the capacity of the people to achieve the impossible and to overcome insurmountable odds’. Faced with the current crisis and the daunting challenges of the future, we must share this faith and act upon it.
As the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences threaten to shake the foundations of our societies and to erode decades of progress made in the core areas of UNESCO’s competence, we are compelled to redouble our efforts at the national, regional and global levels to build back better and achieve our sustainable development goals.
It is certain that Bangabandhu’s legacy will continue to be a great source of inspiration for generations to come, for all those working to reinvent the world.
By Audrey Azoulay