Harmony festival was held in Chittagong to create a peaceful, tolerant and harmonious Bangladesh by creating smart and responsible citizens of Smart Bangladesh. The festival was celebrated with a day-long program at Shilpakala Academy on Sunday. “Diversity for Peace” project of “Partnership for a More Tolerant, Inclusive Bangladesh (PTIB)” of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Bangladesh with the support of Norway Embassy and ICT Department in Bangladesh - Aspire to Innovate, UNESCO, ActionAid Bangladesh, Institute for Environment and Development (IED), The Foundation for People (MJF), The Asia Foundation and Bangladesh Nari Pragati Sangh (BNPS) jointly organized the festival.
In the speech of the chief guest at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel said that the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had planted the seeds of a non-communal society without discrimination in East Pakistan full of corruption. He dreamed of a society without discrimination. The reactionary forces did not allow that society to be established. The subcontinent has long been famous for tolerance and free thinking. Our cultural diversity centuries of heritage has been destroyed through colonialism.
Special guest Norwegian Ambassador to Spain Richter Svendsen said that the festival of harmony is a wonderful idea. Harmony and tolerance is not so easy. Accepting difference is tolerance, it's hard. It has to be acquired through practice. Disagreement requires harmony. Peace and democracy require harmony. We are hesitant about tolerance. Different opinion does not mean we are the same. But we have to give our maximum for the freedom of expression of others. The internet and social media have provided endless opportunities for communication. But it also creates crisis due to various reasons including spreading of false information.
Special guest Member of Parliament Dipankar Talukder's written speech was read on the occasion. He said, the hope of the father of the nation was a non-communal Bangladesh. For people of all religions and castes. We will move forward with everyone with respect for everyone.
PTIB Project Director, ICT Division Abu Sayed said, Our main focus is to keep everyone safe from cyber bullying. Such arrangements are meant to include people from all walks of life. In the age of information technology, a safe cyber space must be ensured for all. The festival of harmony is an important contribution to the government's grand plan.
Before this, the festival started with the national anthem. Then UNDP Bangladesh Deputy Resident Representative Sonali Dayaratne gave a welcome speech at the opening ceremony. Nirupa Dewan, Member of the Governing Body of the Foundation for Humanity, Numan Ahmed Khan, Executive Director of Institute for Environment and Development (IED), Mustafa Kamal Yatra, Executive Director of United Theater for Social Action (UTS) spoke.
The inaugural session featured Chakma songs, music by children with special needs, girls' martial arts, puppet shows and ballads by members of the transgender community.
Smart Bangladesh, how peace, harmony and tolerance can play a role in the formation of Smart Bangladesh, the opinion of the youth is taken. BRAC's research manager Abu Saeed presented the article in this episode moderated by Sheel Tasnim Haque, senior governance specialist of UNDP Jewel Mia.
In the concluding phase, the play- 'Sampritir Bangladesh' was staged. Music was performed by 'Tonger Gan' and Southal band 'Angra'. The day-long event also included art exhibitions, puppet shows and empathy games