There have been significant developments in Bangladesh in 2013 that merit close U.S. attention. A series of protest demonstrations including by secularists calling for harsher punishments of Islamist leaders that committed human rights abuses during the country’s fight for independence over 40 years ago and Islamists demanding stricter Islamic laws have rocked the country in the past few months. The Rana Plaza building collapse on April 24, 2013, that killed over 1,100 garment workers also sparked a series of street demonstrations.
The recent political volatility comes in the context of overall economic and social gains made by Bangladesh in the last decade. For instance, life expectancy has increased by ten years, infant mortality has declined by nearly two-thirds, female literacy has doubled, and economic growth has averaged over 5 percent annually. Bangladesh also faces a critical election early next year. How can the country’s leaders ensure that the campaign season is peaceful and that the election process is viewed as credible and fair? How can U.S. policies encourage democracy, political stability, and continued economic growth in Bangladesh – one of the largest Muslim democracies with a long history of close U.S. ties?
Join us we discuss these and other issues related to U.S.-Bangladesh relations.
Keynote Remarks by
His Excellency Akramul Qader
Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United States
Panel 1 – Economics
Edward Gresser, Director, Progressive Economy Project, Global Works Foundation
Shamarukh Mohiuddin, Executive Director, U.S. Bangladesh Advisory Council
Dr. Munir Quddus, Dean, College of Business, and Professor Economics, Prairie View A&M University
Walter Lohman, Director, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation (Moderator)
Panel 2 – Politics and Security
Dr. Alyssa Ayres, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs
Dr. Ali Riaz, Professor and Chair, Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State University
Maneeza Hossein, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, and Director, Daily Ittefaq
Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation (Moderator)