Lisbon, 22 March 2023
Bangladesh Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal celebrated the 52nd Anniversary of Independence and National Day of Bangladesh with due dignity and festivity. On this occasion, the Embassy hosted a reception in the evening on Monday, 20 March 2023 at a prestigious hotel (Marriott Hotel). As 26 March 2023 falls in the weekend and the holy month of Ramadan, the Mission hosted the National Day Reception on 20 March 2023 in line with the guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The venue of the National Day Reception was decorated with an impressive arrangement of fresh flowers, colourful backdrop banner and roll-up banners. The portraits of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, President and Prime Minister were placed at a prominent location of the venue. A photographic exhibition on ‘Beautiful Bangladesh’ comprising an array of framed pictures of natural beauty, architectural heritage and socio-economic development of Bangladesh was also set up in the atrium that led to the door of the Reception hall. In the line of presentation at the door of the Reception hall, Bangladesh Ambassador to Portugal Tarik Ahsan, his lady wife, First Secretary Md. Alamgeer Hossain and his lady wife welcomed the guests.
The Reception was graced by the presence of the Secretary of State (State Minister) for Equality and Migration Dr. Isabel Almeida Rodrigues; the Vice-President of Portugal-Bangladesh Parliamentary Friendship Group Mr. Pedro Anastácio; and the Head of State Protocol Amb. Jorge Silva Lopes, among other dignitaries. This is the first time that a guest of the rank of a Secretary of State attended Bangladesh Reception in Lisbon. The Reception was well attended by the Dean of Diplomatic Corp, Ambassadors, diplomats, officials of Foreign Ministry & local government councils, members of civil society, business community, leaders & members of Bangladesh community (from Lisbon, Porto and other parts of Portugal), representatives of Bangladesh media, officials of Bangladesh Embassy along with their spouses.
The official part of the ceremony began with playing of National Anthems of Bangladesh and Portugal in sequence. In his welcome speech, Ambassador Tarik Ahsan offered profound homage to the memory of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and recalled with gratitude the supreme sacrifice of martyrs, valiant freedom fighters and women who suffered horrific abuses during the War of Liberation. He mentioned that, thanks to a high growth trajectory seen in last 14 years under the government of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh had now emerged as the 35th largest economy in the world. He added that, being a responsible and responsive member of the international community, Bangladesh has been an advocate for the causes of peace, development, disarmament, climate action, religious moderation and a leading contributor to UN peace keeping missions. The Ambassador also listed the positive developments in the bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and Portugal in last one year: bilateral meeting between two Foreign Ministers on side-lines of Ocean Conference; first-ever exchange of bilateral visits at the level of State Ministers of Foreign Affairs; first-ever formation of Portugal-Bangladesh Parliamentary Friendship Group; signature of 3 Memoranda of Understanding between three Bangladeshi institutions with their Portuguese counterparts; increase of volume of two-way trade by about 50% from 2021 to 2022.
The Secretary of State for Equality and Migration Dr. Isabel Almeida Rodrigues congratulated Bangladesh on the 52nd Anniversary of Independence and National Day. She remarked that democracy existed in Bangladesh even a couple of years earlier than it did in Portugal. She also commented that the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Portugal have been deepening over the years. She hoped that the bilateral engagements would increase further in the years to come. She also praised the contribution of Bangladeshi migrants in Portugal and resolved to work with Bangladesh Embassy to improve the living and working conditions of Bangladeshi migrants living in Portugal.
Thereafter, Ambassador Tarik Ahsan was joined by the Secretary of State for Equality and Migration Dr. Isabel Almeida Rodrigues, the Vice-President of Portugal-Bangladesh Parliamentary Friendship Group Mr. Pedro Anastácio; the Head of State Protocol Amb. Jorge Silva Lopes and Dean of Diplomatic Corp Most Rev. Ivo Scapolo in jointly cutting the Independence Day cake. The cake was also served along with other desserts among the guests.
The official part of the event was followed by a cultural segment of colourful dance performances. Dances were performed to the tune of Liberation War-time song “Shono Ekti Mujiborer”, a folk song of Hason Raja and a patriotic song which enthralled the guests.
After the cultural segment, the guests were entertained with a buffet dinner. The menu consisted of a selection of Bangladeshi and Portuguese cuisines. The guests were delighted to taste the food, particularly the Bangladeshi desserts. Video documentaries depicting Bangladesh’s natural beauty and development as well as patriotic songs of Bangladesh were played before the official & cultural part as well as during the buffet dinner. The whole arrangement projected a very positive image of Bangladesh before the elite of this European Capital and expatriate Bangladesh community.