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since April 1998




BICN 16 Mar - 5 Apr 2000

Volume 3 Number 14


+From the Editor

+Feature Article – 199,999,999 Reasons to Learn Bengali? 


+Commercial Advertisements: 

-Contemporary Bengali Instruction


+News & Announcements 

+Books from Mr Kashem 

+Late March / Early April Events

+A Little Later On 

+Non-Commercial Classified Ads


 BICN is published first & third Wednesdays September to May from Dhaka Bangladesh by Sara Bennett. To SUBSCRIBE, email 

BICN welcomes your community event announcements, personal classified ads, letters to the editor, short articles - all appear FREE. Commercial advertisements appear for a small fee.

Next issue submission deadline Tue 4 Apr 2000. Email items to


-- 199,999,999 Reasons to Learn Bengali? --

Did you know Bengali is the fifth most common language spoken? Here are the world’s top ten languages:

1. Mandarin (almost 900 mil) 2. English (over 300 mil) 3. Spanish (close to 300 mil) 4. Arabic (about 200 mil) 5. Bengali (almost 200 mil) 6. Hindi (less than 200 mil) 7. Portugese (more than 150 mil) 8. Russian (more than 150 mil) 9. Japanese (over 100 mil) 10. German ( about 100 mil) =

Bangladesh is now a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, and you may have read in the local papers, the suggestion that Bangladesh should now lobby to get Bangla made an official language of the UN! The current official UN languages are:

1. English 2. French 3. Mandarin 4. Russian 5. Spanish 6. Arabic

Why these six? Hmmm… I don’t know, but we can observe that this list comprises the four most spoken languages, plus the languages of the two other victorious powers of WWII (after which the UN was set up), Russia and France.


-- Contemporary Bengali Instruction -- 

Nondita Chowdhury offers Bengali instruction to individuals and groups: 

+Course 1, Survival Bangla - 20 2-hour sessions focusing on speaking and understanding 

+Course 2, Basic Bangla - 20 2-hour sessions with the introduction of reading and writing 

+Individual instruction - tailored to students needs 

Ms Chowdhury was principal of Heed Language Centre (1991-97), and has over 20 years experience in Bengali instruction. Lessons given at her school in Gulshan or learner's home or office. Courses cost Tk6000 per person for groups of two to seven, or Tk7500 for one person, includes all materials. For more information, email, include your name & telephone number.


-- New Website for Thanarbaid Health Care Centre, Bangladesh --

Thanarbaid is “a rural health movement in Bangladesh, promoting health for all people by involving the rural poor in their own healthcare.” URL is: 

For more information, contact webmaster Jason Morgenson at (or , ).


-- 25 years in Bangladesh --

In Dhaka’s mobile expat community, three years is a long time. Sue Headlam has worked continuously for 25 years in Chandraghona Hospital in the Rangamati Hill Tracts on a community health programme.

There are many people in Dhaka who may not know of Sue or the work she has done, but they will have witnessed the results of her work. In many homes in Bangladesh, the soft furnishings would be in Chandraghona fabric from an income generating weaving project for destitute women that Sue started using old bicycle wheels and wooden looms. Over the years, tribal breastcloths, bags, bedspreads, tablecloths, trousers, shirts, aprons, shawls have been bought by expatriate families in Dhaka and displayed in many countries around the world .

Now, Sue is planning to return to England to look after her aging parents. To say farewell and honour her for her long service to Bangladesh, there will be a party for her on Friday 7 April at 7.30pm, at the BAGHA Club. Please join us. Chandraghona fabrics and ready made items from will be available for purchase to support the legacy that Sue leaves behind in Bangladesh.

-- Celebration of Bangladesh Independence Day in New York City 26 March --

The America Bangladesh Friendship Society (ABFS) is going to celebrate the 30th Independence Day of Bangladesh in New York City on Sunday, March 26, 2000. In this celebration, ten US Congressmen and other distinguished dignitaries are expected attend, including Congresspersons Benjamin A. Gilman, Chairman, International Relations Committee; Charles E. Rangel; Nadya M. Velaquez; Nita Lowley; Gary Ackerman; William J. Pascrell, Jr.; Joseph Crowley; Jerrold Nadler; and Edolphus Towns; New York city and state officials; distinguished Bangladeshi guests including the Bangladesh Ambassador to the US and the Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the UN.

The celebration will include presentation of documentary film on the liberation war of Bangladesh and a colorful cultural performance highlighting the ideals of the liberation war and the struggles for emancipation of the Bengali nation.

--- Bengal Studies Conference, 34th Meeting, May 5-7, 2000 --- --- University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh ---

On line registration, call for papers, location of conference, transport, accommodation, and other relevant information is available at 

Or contact Professor Zillur Khan, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, tel (920) 424-0924, fax (920) 424-0739, email khan@uwosh 

-- Job Announcement - Human Rights Director --

Organization: Women, Law and Development, International Location: Washington, DC, USA Closing date for applications: Unknown

“Women, Law and Development International promotes women's full and equal participation in society by advancing universal respect for human rights, expanding rights education and legal literacy among women, and challenging discriminatory socio-economic barriers. Committed to capacity-building, advocacy and expanding women's rights networks, WLD collaborates with researchers, advocates, activists and monitors throughout the world to identify legal, cultural and economic impediments to women's enjoyment of human rights, to develop activist strategies, and to train women's groups to advocate before UN and governmental bodies for policies that recognize women's rights.

“Job Description: The Human Rights Director has overall responsibility for the human rights dimension of WLDI's multidisciplinary work in research, training, and advocacy. The Human Rights Director oversees WLDI's Global Human Rights Advocacy Training program. Based on the manual Women's Human Rights Step by Step, this initiative builds understanding and skills in women's human rights advocacy. Working with the President and Director of Programs, the Human Rights Director provides expertise in human rights concepts, guiding the design and implementation of WLDI's work in economic rights and violence against women. Specific responsibilities include:

- Planning and conducting human rights advocacy training; - Supervising and guiding the work of regional Human Rights Advocacy staff; - Coordination of training and technical assistance with participants and an international roster of experts; - Liaising with program participants and providing technical advice and guidance; - Raising funds and liaising with donors; - Program evaluation and dissemination of learnings; - Developing human rights curricula and training tools.

“Extensive international travel is required. The primary qualifications for the position are an extensive background in human rights strong program management skills. WLDI seeks to identify applicants with:

- extensive experience in human rights advocacy and organizing at the UN and national levels; - understanding of gender; - training experience; - excellent program management skills; - fundraising experience; - demonstrated ability to work collaboratively; - ability to manage multiple tasks, delegate and supervise others, and work under pressure; - excellent conceptual, writing, communication and interpersonal skills; - demonstrated personal commitment to women's human rights; - international experience; - fluency in one major international language plus English; and - an advanced degree in law, public policy, human rights, international relations or women's studies.

“Salary will be commensurate with experience. WLDI offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes health and dental insurance, vacation, and savings programs. WLDI is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply. Interested and qualified candidates should mail or fax a cover letter and resume to: Human Rights Director Search, Women, Law & Development International, 1350 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 407, Washington, DC 20036. Fax: 202-463-7480.


Email  for more info or to order. Free delivery service in Dhaka. Overseas customers, please visit the UPL website at .


All events are in Dhaka unless otherwise noted. Entry to some events is restricted eg to members - contact the organizers for information.

6-18 Mar - Eid-ul-Azha (subject to moon)

Fri 17 March: UNWA Welfare visit to Families for Children, an orphanage in Uttara. Departure at 1pm. Email .

Fri 17 Mar - National holiday, Bangabandhu's Birthday

Sat 25 Mar - Scheduled visit of US President Clinton to Bangladesh

Sun 26 Mar - National holiday, Independence Day

Tue 28 Mar - BWA Monthly Lunch at Spaghetti Jazz, 12:30pm. Email .

Thu 30 Mar - UNWA Monthly Luncheon, email

1 Apr - Garment Bazaar, AIS/D Gym, 10am-2pm.

Sat 1 Apr – BWA outing to Monno Ceramics Factory. Open to children and spouses. Please bring drinks and a packed lunch. Email for details.


Wed 5 Apr – BWA monthly general meeting, 3pm. Talk by Sue Hedlam about her last 25 years in Bangladesh and Chandraghona Fabrics. Email for details.

Thu 6 Apr – Faure Requiem performance by Cantemus at Canadian Club. Fri 7 Apr – Farewell party for Sue Headlam, 7:30pm, BAGHA Club.

Fri 7 Apr: [NOTE NEW DATE] DAWC 60s/70s/80s Dance Party, US Mission club 8pm. Tickets Tk500, on sale in March from the USMC office for expat club card holders. Ticket includes snacks and floorshow at 10pm. Cash bar. Be sure to wear a costume from your favorite decade. Sponsorship to this charity event welcome. Email .

8 Apr – AIS/D International Fair, 4pm-8pm. Cultural show performed by children, parents and teachers. Taste of the nations, a selection of food from around the world. 40 charity stalls. A chance to purchase all those gifts in one place to take back home in the summer! Children's bouncy castle and games. Barbecue and drinks. Please bring a picnic blanket. This is a fund raiser by the PTA as we would like to improve playground equipment in the elementary school. Please support this event especially if you have children at the school but if not everyone is welcome!

Wed 19 April – BWA Newcomers Tea, 3:30pm. A talk will be given by Phil Commons about back problems and how to set up a clinic in Dhaka. Email for details.

Thu 27 Apr – BWA welfare visit to Tikhana House, 3:30pm. This is the home for acid victims that has been set up by the Acid Victims Foundation. Email .

28-30 Apr, Atlantic City NJ: "Tech Transfer-2000: North America" (TT2000:NA) convention. "This conference will bring together potential and actual actors in Technology Transfer to Bangladesh. The most important group, who can contribute directly to the transfer of technology to Bangladesh, are Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRB) who are Technologists, Scientists, Engineers, Investors, or Entrepreneurs. They are the strongest link of Bangladesh to modern technology and industry. TT2000:NA is being organized and hosted by TechBangla and enthusiastically co-sponsored by AABEA, BCBSNA, EB2000, BSCDI, ComputerNet and other NRB organizations. For more information see or contact: in Bangladesh, Tanvir Chowdhury, Editor , tel +880(2)8827413, email ; in USA, Shaikh Mizan, Coordinator, TechTransfer-2000:NA, email , tel +1(706)613-7808, fax +1(706)542-5771.

Sat 29 April – BWA Monthly lunch at the Skyroom, 12:30pm. Email .

5-7 May - Bengal Studies Conference, 34th Meeting,University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. On line registration, call for papers, location of conference, transport, accommodation, and other relevant information is available at  . Or contact Professor Zillur Khan, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, tel (920) 424-0924, fax (920) 424-0739, email 

Sun - Tues 14-16 May, Oslo: European Network of Bangladesh Studies Sixth Workshop, "Bangladesh - Changing Identities and Economic Transformation," hosted by the Department of Sociology at the University of Oslo, with NORAD funding. For more information, see the website 

16-19 May: Dhaka Stage production of Woody Allen's Comedy "Don't Drink The Water". Email arussell@ais-dhaka  .


Mother Theresa Home for the Elderly and the Homeless is looking to purchase soaps, detergent, as well as antiseptic cleaning products at Whole Sale prices. Anyone having information on how and where they could do this, please contact Regine Whittlesey, tel 8814602 or email: 

The Missionaries of Charity Homes would like to collect any old clothes or pieces of scrap material for multi-purpose uses. Even western style clothing is welcome. Contact Mia Obdam (8826559) if you have anything you can donate.

From Chris Mack: “I am in the process of leaving Bangladesh and selling my car to my driver who wants to start a driving business. If you need a car with a very good English speaking driver - available by day, week or longer - please call 018215523 for details.”

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