Bangladesh formally became a member of the United Nations on 17 September 1974. but before this historic moment, several scenes had been played out and many battles were fought- both military and diplomatic. Finally, Bangladesh was able to establish herself as a sovereign nation. To give a glimpse of what transpired during the delay in the country attaining UN membership, the author goes back in time and traces the political lineage of Bangladesh, from ancient Bengal, through the Mughal and Colonial periods to her present national sovereignty. This has richly influenced her cultural heritage and made Bangladeshis who they are today- independent–spirited people driven to fight for their rights, values and vision of a better life. The author in describing the the obstacles Bangladesh faced, shows how these experiences influenced her multilateral foreign policy to be centred around the culture of peace. The author also brings to the spotlight the status of implementation in Bangladesh of other common principles that the UN shares with its Member States, viz. UN conventions, covenants and protocols that set norms and standards ranging from the safety level of arsenic in drinking water to corruption.
Shamim Hamid is a Research Fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts and was the first woman in South Asia to be selected as a Mason Fellow in the same Institute. Her research interests include Women and Development, national income accounts, microcredit, poverty, and natural resources. She has worked as a consultant to FAO, WFP, IFAD, ADB, the World Bank and the Government of Bangladesh. Her hobby is writing short stories.