Syeda Shamin Mortada
If you were asked to close your eyes and someone whispered the word “Bangladesh” very close to your ears, what images would cross your mind?
To some it may mean flood, famine, poverty, corruption and even terrorism while some may imagine the unveiling hidden beauty of the land, the tranquil greenery, serene rivers, beautiful people, vast heritage, multiple cultures and a history to be proud of. It all depends on which side of the coin we tend to choose.
On August 27 an interesting discussion took place at the Radisson Water Garden Hotel, Dhaka on the problems relating to the image of Bangladesh. The recommended strategies to present to the world indicated a very optimistic and promising image of our land. “Branding Bangladesh” was the theme of the daylong conclave. This ambitious exercise was organised by Ice Today, its sister publication (Jamini and Kali o Kalam) and its parent organisation, the Bengal Foundation. Some of the participants included well known economist Atiur Rahman, Fakrul Alam, Professor of English, Dhaka University, fashion designer Bibi Russel, former foreign secretary Farooq Sobhan, artist Murtaja Bashir, Motiur Rahman, Editor of Daily Prothom Alo, Wahiduddin Mahmud, Professor of Economics, DU and many more.
What is National Branding? It is to promote and advertise our country; it is the art of projecting ourselves in a proper and positive way. This can be done if we can tap the huge reservoir of our country and address and work on the obstacles that hold us back and mar our reputation.
A survey carried out by CPD (Centre for Policy Dialogue) among a set of young professionals ranked the six core areas of brand reputation in the following descending order of strength: People, Exports, Culture, Tourism, Investment and Governance. According to Mahfuz Anam, Editor of the Daily Star, Bangladesh needs to be rediscovered. Self-confidence along with our main asset, which is the people, can go a long way to build the image of our country.
Needless to say that the ruling party, the opposition party, private and corporate sectors, academic institutions, NGOs all need to come forward with their own vision and work hand in hand to help achieve the desired target. The ideas and views of the young people should be taken into account. Instead of playing the blame game it is now time to get united and take action.
In today's globalised world, we look forward to build a promising image of Bangladesh, full of hope and optimism. We further wish to secure a place for ourselves in this competitive and digitalised world. With sheer resilience and perseverance in the international arena the loyal citizens of Bangladesh will make make sure that Bangladesh secures a respectable place in the global arena.
(R) thedailystar.net 2006