Bangladesh

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Overview
Bangladesh is one of the world’s newer countries, having achieved independence from Pakistan in 1971. At the time, the U.S. opposed independence out of loyalty to its ally Pakistan, but relations between the two countries quickly became close and cooperative. Bangladesh is a poor country currently enjoying robust economic growth, albeit at the cost of weakening protections for its workers’ health, wages, and organizing rights. It is one of a few majority Muslim countries with a democratic political system, although its politics have often been highly turbulent with street protests and mob actions, and human rights abuses have become more common in recent years. 
 
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Basic Information
Lay of the Land: Bangladesh, or “Bengal Nation,” is located at the eastern edge of Asia’s Indian subcontinent, on the delta and alluvial plain of the Padma River (which is the combination of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers). Bangladesh is almost completely surrounded by India, but the southeastern Division of Chittagong shares a 119-mile-long border with Burma, and to the south of Bangladesh is the Bay of Bengal. With a total area of 55,599 square miles, it is about the size of Iowa. Except for the Chittagong Hills in the southeastern portion of the country, the land is flat. As much as one third of the country is subject to flooding during the monsoon season. 
 
Population: 153.5 million
 
Religions: Sunni Muslim 88.6%, Hindu 9.6%, Christian 0.7%, Buddhist 0.6%, Ethnoreligious 0.5%, non-religious 0.1%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Bengali 98.5%, other (includes tribal groups) 2%
 
Languages: Bengali (official) 70.8%, Chittagonian 9.9%, Sylheti 5.0%, Burmese 0.3%, Chakma 0.3%, Arakanese 0.1%, Garo 0.1%, Kok Borok 0.1%, Tippera 0.1%. There are 39 living languages in Bangladesh.
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History
Bangladesh comprises the eastern half of what used to be called Bengal. The remnants of past civilization in what is now both Bangladesh (which was East Bengal) and West Bengal (in India) date back about 4,000 years, and the history of Bengal region has its own culture, literature and language. One distinguishing trait of Bangladesh (and previously East Bengal) is the predominance of Islam, which arrived in the 12th century and has been the majority religion since that time. Like the rest of the subcontinent, Bengal came under the rule of the British during the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1947, the subcontinent was partitioned into two countries, majority Hindu India and majority Muslim Pakistan, which itself was divided between West Pakistan (now simply Pakistan) and East Pakistan, which is now the independent country of Bangladesh. The two halves of Pakistan were separated by 1,000 miles. Growing dissatisfaction with the dominance of West Pakistan, as well as cultural and linguistic differences, led to a movement for autonomy in the 1960s, and eventually to a war for independence in 1971. The U.S. supported Pakistan in opposing Bangladesh independence, but did little to affect the outcome. Critical military assistance from India assured victory to Bangladesh, and independence was established on December 17, 1971. Since independence, Bangladesh has been one of the only Muslim countries with a multi-party, competitive political system, and while its politics have been turbulent and sometimes violent, Bangladeshis vote in very high numbers, and view democracy as one of the important legacies of their independence struggle.
 

 

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Bangladesh's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Bangladesh
U.S.-Bangladesh relations have been close and cooperative. These relations were boosted in March 2000 when President Clinton visited Bangladesh, the first-ever visit by a sitting U.S. President. A centerpiece of the bilateral relationship is the large U.S. aid program, which will total about $110 million in fiscal year 2008. U.S. economic and food aid programs, which began as emergency relief following the 1971 war for independence, now concentrate on long-term development. U.S. assistance objectives include stabilizing population growth, protecting human health, encouraging broad-based economic growth, and building democracy. In total, the United States has provided more than $4.3 billion in food and development assistance to Bangladesh. U.S. development assistance emphasizes family planning and health, agricultural development, and rural employment. At times of natural disaster, moreover, the U.S. has generally provided large amounts of humanitarian aid and assistance. 
 
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Current U.S. Relations with Bangladesh
Since the Al Qaeda attacks on September 11, 2001, Bangladesh has become more important to the United States and its “war on terror.” During the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, Bangladesh participated by offering the use of its airspace, ports and aircraft refueling stations, but it did not commit troops either to that war or to the later one in Iraq. Bangladeshi reluctance arose both because of popular opinion, which was against the Iraq war, and because Bangladesh policy has been to participate militarily only under United Nations auspices. In March 2006, President George W. Bush became the second sitting President to visit Bangladesh, underscoring the increasing importance of Bangladesh to U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, Bangladesh has become a United States ally in the Global War on Terror. As part of their efforts, Bangladesh has begun to address money laundering and weak border controls to ensure that Bangladesh does not become a terrorist safe-haven. In July 2006, the U.S. Navy's hospital ship Mercy visited Bangladesh and U.S. personnel worked with Bangladeshi medical personnel to provide medical treatment to Bangladeshi patients. Between 2005 and 2008, the United States obligated $2.2 million in grant aid funding (Foreign Military Financing) to purchase Defender class small boats for the Coast Guard of Bangladesh, and allocated $934,000 in IMET (International Military Education and Training) for 2007. In addition to heavy flooding at the end of summer 2007, Cyclone Sidr hit the country on November 15, 2007, causing widespread devastation and affecting the lives of millions of people. Following the cyclone, U.S. troops and two U.S. naval vessels assisted in the delivery of relief supplies to cyclone victims, and USAID provided approximately $19.5 million in food and relief items.
 
The 2000 U.S. census listed 95,294 people identifying themselves as having Bangladeshi origin. Almost 50% of Bangladeshis in the U.S. over the age of 25 had at least a Bachelor's degree as compared to less than 25% of the United States population. Since the country of Bangladesh was founded only in 1971, immigrants from the Bengali region before that time were listed as Pakistani or, before 1947, Indian. Immigrants from this region have come to the U.S. in small numbers since the turn of the 20th century, though they were limited by racially exclusionary immigration laws before the passage of the more liberal Immigration Act of 1965. There is a large population of undocumented Bangladeshi immigrants in the U.S., with estimates ranging as high as 150,000. New York City claims the largest Bangladeshi community, with other large communities congregating in Los Angeles, Miami, Washington D.C., and Atlanta. Although Bangladesh is not a major tourist destination, 16,516 Americans visited Bangladesh in 2006. The number of tourists has fluctuated between a low of 13,422 (2005) and a high of 27,895 (2004) since 2002. 8,288 Bangladeshis visited the U.S. in 2006. The number of Bangladeshis traveling to America has remained very close to 9,000 since 2002.
 
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Where Does the Money Flow
Although 63% Bangladeshis work in agriculture, manufacturing (especially of clothing and textiles) contributes more to the country’s GDP and exports. The leading customers for Bangladesh’s exports are the U.S. (23.9% of the total), Germany (12.2%), the U.K. (9.7%), and France (5%), while Bangladesh imports its goods from China (17.7%), India (13.2%), Kuwait (8.1%), and Singapore (4.9%). For 2007, U.S. imports from Bangladesh totaled $3.4 billion, predominantly clothing and textiles, which accounted for $3.2 billion or 93% of all U.S. imports from Bangladesh. For the same year, U.S. exports to Bangladesh came up to $456 million, mainly food ($131 million or 28.7%), machinery and other equipment ($78 million or 17%), raw cotton ($59 million or 13%), and steelmaking materials ($39.5 million or 8.67%). The U.S.-based energy corporation, Chevron, has been making large investments in the growing natural gas production sector of the economy. 
 
The U.S. gave $84.2 million in aid to Bangladesh in 2007. The budget allotted the most funds to Health ($50.7 million), Disaster Readiness ($6.5 million), Humanitarian Assistance: Protection, Assistance and Solutions ($3.6 million), and Good Governance ($3.2 million). The 2008 budget estimate significantly increased aid to Bangladesh, to $105 million, and the 2009 budget request will retain aid at similar levels, at $106.8 million. The 2009 budget will distribute the most aid to Health ($42.7 million), Good Governance ($11.5 million), Social Services and Protection for Especially Vulnerable People ($8.8 million), Disaster Readiness ($6.1 million), and Private Sector Competitiveness ($5.1 million).
 
Bangladesh: Security Assistance (the U.S. sold $37.8 million of defense articles and services to Bangladesh in 2007)
 
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Controversies
The American labor movement has argued that certain trade preferences granted to Bangladesh should be suspended because labor rights are denied in Bangladesh’s “export processing zones,” where foreign companies enjoy certain exemptions from regulatory laws, including labor laws. 
USTR hears GSP petition (by Kazi Azizul Islam, Dhaka New Age) (scroll down)
Hello, Bangladesh: Please Take Note (Human Rights for Workers)
 
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Human Rights
Bangladesh is a multiparty parliamentary democracy with a history of political violence between the two major parties. Since October 2006, however, the country has been run by a “caretaker government,” pursuant to a unique constitutional provision requiring nonpartisan governance when elections are imminent. The caretaker government was supposed to hold elections in early 2007, but political unrest led to the postponement of elections, which are set for December 2008. The government’s human rights record has worsened recently, owing in part to the state of emergency and postponement of elections. The Emergency Powers Rules of 2007 suspended many fundamental rights, including freedom of press, freedom of association, and the right to bail. An anticorruption drive initiated by the government, while somewhat popular, gave rise to concerns about due process, as more than 200,000 people, including the leaders of the two major political parties, were arrested. For most of 2007 the government banned political activities, although this policy was enforced unevenly. Further, there are signs that some factions within the military foresee it playing a more prominent political role in the near future. While there was a significant drop in the number of extrajudicial killings by security forces, they were accused of serious abuses, including custodial deaths, arbitrary arrest and detention, and harassment of journalists. Some members of security forces acted with impunity and committed acts of physical and psychological torture. Violence against women and children remained a major problem, labor rights are regularly violated, and trafficking in persons continues.
 
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Debate
Export Processing Zones
The role of Bangladesh’s Export Processing Zones (EPZ’s) in shaping the country’s economic and social structure, as well as their place in U.S. – Bangladesh trade, has yielded considerable debate.
Against the EPZ’s – From the Left
 
Against the EPZ’s – From the Center
Internationally-Recognised Core Labour Stamdards in Bangladesh, (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions) (PDF)
 
For the EPZ’s – From the Center
Performance of Export Processing Zones: A Comparative Analysis of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (by Aradhna Aggarwa, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations) (PDF)
 
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Past Ambassadors
Name: Davis Eugene Boster
State of Residency: Ohio
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Feb 28, 1974
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 13, 1974
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 10, 1976
Note: Boster was also Ambassador to Guatemala from 1976 to 1979.
 
Name: Edward E. Masters
State of Residency: Ohio
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Oct 4, 1976
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 5, 1976
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 27, 1977
Note: Masters also served as Ambassador to Indonesia in 1977. 
 
Name: David T. Schneider
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Mar 2, 1978
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 29, 1978
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 25, 1981
 
Name: Jane Abell Coon
State of Residency: New Hampshire
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Jun 30, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 11, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 3, 1984
 
Name: Howard Bruner Schaffer
State of Residency: New York
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Aug 13, 1984
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 26, 1984
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 9, 1987
 
Name: Willard Ames De Pree
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Jul 2, 1987
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 5, 1987
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 17, 1990
Note: De Pree also served as Ambassador to Mozambique from 1976 to 1980. 
 
Name: William B. Milam
State of Residency: California
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Jun 27, 1990
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 1, 1990
Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 9, 1993
Note: Milam also served as Ambassador to Pakistan from 1998-2001.
 
Name: Daniel Nathan Merrill
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Feb 11, 1994
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 5, 1994
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 14, 1997
 
Name: John C. Holzman
State of Residency: Hawai’i
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Aug 1, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 2, 1997
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 6, 2000
 
Name: Mary Ann Peters
State of Residency: California
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Sep 15, 2000
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 25, 2000
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 19, 2003
 
Name: Harry K. Thomas, Jr.
State of Residency: New York
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: May 27, 2003
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 14, 2003
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 2, 2005
 
Name: Patricia A. Butenis
State of Residency: Virginia
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: February 21, 2006
Presentation of Credentials: April 13, 2006
Termination of Mission: April 1, 2008
 
 
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Bangladesh's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Qader, Akramul

A career diplomat with a cabinet rank of state minister, Akramul Qader has served as ambassador of Bangladesh to the United States since November 2009. In December 2010, he also assumed the role of ambassador to Mexico.

 
Qader received his master’s degree in Islamic history from Dhaka University and worked briefly as a college lecturer in the 1960s.
 
He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the government of Pakistan in 1968 as a section officer.
 
In 1970, Qader attended a specialized course in organization and methods at the National Institute of Public Administration in Dhaka.
 
After Bangladesh became an independent nation, Qader joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh in 1972, and the following year he attended a Foreign Service Training Course in Australia.
 
From 1974-1976, he was posted to the Soviet Union, followed by diplomatic assignments in Burma (1976-1981) and Pakistan (1981-1984).
 
He was director of the Foreign Secretary’s Office and director of the South East Asia Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka from 1984-1986. He also worked briefly in the personnel and finance directorates of the ministry.
 
Qader served as deputy chief of mission/ambassador at the embassy of Bangladesh in Brussels, Belgium, with concurrent accreditation to the European Commission, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (1990-1994), as well as counselor and later deputy chief of mission in the High Commission of Bangladesh in New Delhi, India.
 
He has also served as permanent representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and as director general of multilateral economic affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka from 1994 to 1996.
 
He was ambassador to Thailand , with concurrent accreditation to Cambodia from 1996 to April 1999, followed by high commissioner to South Africa, with concurrent accreditation as high commissioner to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho until 2002.
 
Qader also represented the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the board of directors of the Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs, served as director of the board of the Bangladesh Overseas Employment Services Limited and was a member, from 2004 to 2009, of the Sub-Committee on International Affairs of the Bangladesh Awami League political party.
 
Qader and his wife, Rifat Sultana Akram, have two children.
 
Biography (The Washington Diplomat)

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Bangladesh's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh

Mozena, Dan
ambassador-image

The new U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh is a career diplomat who grew up milking cows on the family farm, and whose career has taken him primarily to rural countries in South Asia and Southern Africa. Dan W. Mozena previously served at the embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs from 1998 to 2001. He was sworn in as Ambassador on November 17, 2011.

 
Born May 1, 1949, in Dubuque, Iowa, Mozena is the second of four sons and one daughter of Kenneth and Edna Mozena. Growing up on a family dairy farm in Iowa, Mozena spent his childhood milking cows, slopping hogs, and doing daily chores. He started his education in a one-room country school with only 12 students spread over eight grades. He earned a BS in History and Government at Iowa State University in 1970, spent the next year in Nepal on a National 4-H Council Cultural Exchange program, and then earned an MA in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1974.
 
From 1974 to 1976, Mozena and his wife, Grace, were Peace Corps Volunteers in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), helping farmers develop better ways to raise chickens. Back from the Peace Corps, Mozena worked as a Program Specialist from 1977 to 1981 for the National 4-H Council in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
 
Mozena joined the State Department Foreign Service as a Political Officer in 1981. His first overseas assignments sent him to Africa, first to the Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia, to serve as a Consular Officer from 1982 to 1983, and then to serve as Economic and Political Officer at the Embassy in Kinshasa, Zaire, from 1983 to 1985. Mozena spent the next three years serving as a Public Diplomacy Officer at the State Department’s Office of Strategic Nuclear Policy from 1985 to 1988. He studied the Hindi language at the Foreign Service Institute from 1988 to 1989, and then served three years, 1989 to 1992, as Deputy Counselor for Political Affairs at the Embassy in New Delhi, India.
 
Shifting his focus back to Africa, Mozena served at State Department Headquarters as Officer-in-Charge of South African Affairs for 1992 to 1993, and as Deputy Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs from 1993 to 1995, during South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy. He also assisted with then-President Nelson Mandela’s historic state visit to Washington.
 
Mozena spent the next nine years overseas, returning to South Asia in 1995 to serve as Deputy Counselor for Political Affairs at the Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, until 1998, when he headed to the Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to serve as Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs through 2001. He went back to the scene of his first overseas assignment to serve as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia, from 2001 to 2004. Mozena was appointed Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs in 2004, and served three years in that capacity, until his first ambassadorial appointment in 2007, as Ambassador to Angola, a position he held from August 15, 2007, until July 2, 2010. For the 2010–2011 academic year, Mozena was Professor of National Security at the National War College in Washington, DC.
 
Mozena and his wife, Grace (Feeney), were married in 1971. She is a retired elementary school teacher with professional interests in elementary education and English as a second language. The Mozenas have two children: Anne (born 1979) and Mark (born 1983).
 
 
 
 
 

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh

Moriarty, James
ambassador-image

James F. Moriarty was confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh on March 13, 2008 and sworn in on March 26, 2008. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Moriarty joined the Foreign Service in 1975. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from Dartmouth College in 1975, and speaks Chinese, Nepali, Urdu, French and Bangla. Early assignments in his career included postings at the U.S. embassies in Pakistan, Swaziland and Morocco, and work on African issues at the U.S. Department of State. As Deputy Director of the State Department’s Office of United Nations Political Affairs from 1991 to 1993, Moriarty coordinated U.S. policy on UN Security Council issues. Moriarty was Diplomat-in-Residence at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1993-94.
 
From 1994 to 1998, Moriarty led the General Affairs (Political) Section at the American Institute in Taiwan; from 1998 to 2001, he served as Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing; and from 2001 to 2002 he worked in the White House as National Security Council (NSC) Director for China Affairs. From 2002 to 2004, he served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior NSC. Moriarty served as U.S. Ambassador to Nepal between 2004 and 2007. 
 

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Bookmark and Share
News
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Overview
Bangladesh is one of the world’s newer countries, having achieved independence from Pakistan in 1971. At the time, the U.S. opposed independence out of loyalty to its ally Pakistan, but relations between the two countries quickly became close and cooperative. Bangladesh is a poor country currently enjoying robust economic growth, albeit at the cost of weakening protections for its workers’ health, wages, and organizing rights. It is one of a few majority Muslim countries with a democratic political system, although its politics have often been highly turbulent with street protests and mob actions, and human rights abuses have become more common in recent years. 
 
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Basic Information
Lay of the Land: Bangladesh, or “Bengal Nation,” is located at the eastern edge of Asia’s Indian subcontinent, on the delta and alluvial plain of the Padma River (which is the combination of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers). Bangladesh is almost completely surrounded by India, but the southeastern Division of Chittagong shares a 119-mile-long border with Burma, and to the south of Bangladesh is the Bay of Bengal. With a total area of 55,599 square miles, it is about the size of Iowa. Except for the Chittagong Hills in the southeastern portion of the country, the land is flat. As much as one third of the country is subject to flooding during the monsoon season. 
 
Population: 153.5 million
 
Religions: Sunni Muslim 88.6%, Hindu 9.6%, Christian 0.7%, Buddhist 0.6%, Ethnoreligious 0.5%, non-religious 0.1%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Bengali 98.5%, other (includes tribal groups) 2%
 
Languages: Bengali (official) 70.8%, Chittagonian 9.9%, Sylheti 5.0%, Burmese 0.3%, Chakma 0.3%, Arakanese 0.1%, Garo 0.1%, Kok Borok 0.1%, Tippera 0.1%. There are 39 living languages in Bangladesh.
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History
Bangladesh comprises the eastern half of what used to be called Bengal. The remnants of past civilization in what is now both Bangladesh (which was East Bengal) and West Bengal (in India) date back about 4,000 years, and the history of Bengal region has its own culture, literature and language. One distinguishing trait of Bangladesh (and previously East Bengal) is the predominance of Islam, which arrived in the 12th century and has been the majority religion since that time. Like the rest of the subcontinent, Bengal came under the rule of the British during the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1947, the subcontinent was partitioned into two countries, majority Hindu India and majority Muslim Pakistan, which itself was divided between West Pakistan (now simply Pakistan) and East Pakistan, which is now the independent country of Bangladesh. The two halves of Pakistan were separated by 1,000 miles. Growing dissatisfaction with the dominance of West Pakistan, as well as cultural and linguistic differences, led to a movement for autonomy in the 1960s, and eventually to a war for independence in 1971. The U.S. supported Pakistan in opposing Bangladesh independence, but did little to affect the outcome. Critical military assistance from India assured victory to Bangladesh, and independence was established on December 17, 1971. Since independence, Bangladesh has been one of the only Muslim countries with a multi-party, competitive political system, and while its politics have been turbulent and sometimes violent, Bangladeshis vote in very high numbers, and view democracy as one of the important legacies of their independence struggle.
 

 

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Bangladesh's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Bangladesh
U.S.-Bangladesh relations have been close and cooperative. These relations were boosted in March 2000 when President Clinton visited Bangladesh, the first-ever visit by a sitting U.S. President. A centerpiece of the bilateral relationship is the large U.S. aid program, which will total about $110 million in fiscal year 2008. U.S. economic and food aid programs, which began as emergency relief following the 1971 war for independence, now concentrate on long-term development. U.S. assistance objectives include stabilizing population growth, protecting human health, encouraging broad-based economic growth, and building democracy. In total, the United States has provided more than $4.3 billion in food and development assistance to Bangladesh. U.S. development assistance emphasizes family planning and health, agricultural development, and rural employment. At times of natural disaster, moreover, the U.S. has generally provided large amounts of humanitarian aid and assistance. 
 
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Current U.S. Relations with Bangladesh
Since the Al Qaeda attacks on September 11, 2001, Bangladesh has become more important to the United States and its “war on terror.” During the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, Bangladesh participated by offering the use of its airspace, ports and aircraft refueling stations, but it did not commit troops either to that war or to the later one in Iraq. Bangladeshi reluctance arose both because of popular opinion, which was against the Iraq war, and because Bangladesh policy has been to participate militarily only under United Nations auspices. In March 2006, President George W. Bush became the second sitting President to visit Bangladesh, underscoring the increasing importance of Bangladesh to U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, Bangladesh has become a United States ally in the Global War on Terror. As part of their efforts, Bangladesh has begun to address money laundering and weak border controls to ensure that Bangladesh does not become a terrorist safe-haven. In July 2006, the U.S. Navy's hospital ship Mercy visited Bangladesh and U.S. personnel worked with Bangladeshi medical personnel to provide medical treatment to Bangladeshi patients. Between 2005 and 2008, the United States obligated $2.2 million in grant aid funding (Foreign Military Financing) to purchase Defender class small boats for the Coast Guard of Bangladesh, and allocated $934,000 in IMET (International Military Education and Training) for 2007. In addition to heavy flooding at the end of summer 2007, Cyclone Sidr hit the country on November 15, 2007, causing widespread devastation and affecting the lives of millions of people. Following the cyclone, U.S. troops and two U.S. naval vessels assisted in the delivery of relief supplies to cyclone victims, and USAID provided approximately $19.5 million in food and relief items.
 
The 2000 U.S. census listed 95,294 people identifying themselves as having Bangladeshi origin. Almost 50% of Bangladeshis in the U.S. over the age of 25 had at least a Bachelor's degree as compared to less than 25% of the United States population. Since the country of Bangladesh was founded only in 1971, immigrants from the Bengali region before that time were listed as Pakistani or, before 1947, Indian. Immigrants from this region have come to the U.S. in small numbers since the turn of the 20th century, though they were limited by racially exclusionary immigration laws before the passage of the more liberal Immigration Act of 1965. There is a large population of undocumented Bangladeshi immigrants in the U.S., with estimates ranging as high as 150,000. New York City claims the largest Bangladeshi community, with other large communities congregating in Los Angeles, Miami, Washington D.C., and Atlanta. Although Bangladesh is not a major tourist destination, 16,516 Americans visited Bangladesh in 2006. The number of tourists has fluctuated between a low of 13,422 (2005) and a high of 27,895 (2004) since 2002. 8,288 Bangladeshis visited the U.S. in 2006. The number of Bangladeshis traveling to America has remained very close to 9,000 since 2002.
 
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Where Does the Money Flow
Although 63% Bangladeshis work in agriculture, manufacturing (especially of clothing and textiles) contributes more to the country’s GDP and exports. The leading customers for Bangladesh’s exports are the U.S. (23.9% of the total), Germany (12.2%), the U.K. (9.7%), and France (5%), while Bangladesh imports its goods from China (17.7%), India (13.2%), Kuwait (8.1%), and Singapore (4.9%). For 2007, U.S. imports from Bangladesh totaled $3.4 billion, predominantly clothing and textiles, which accounted for $3.2 billion or 93% of all U.S. imports from Bangladesh. For the same year, U.S. exports to Bangladesh came up to $456 million, mainly food ($131 million or 28.7%), machinery and other equipment ($78 million or 17%), raw cotton ($59 million or 13%), and steelmaking materials ($39.5 million or 8.67%). The U.S.-based energy corporation, Chevron, has been making large investments in the growing natural gas production sector of the economy. 
 
The U.S. gave $84.2 million in aid to Bangladesh in 2007. The budget allotted the most funds to Health ($50.7 million), Disaster Readiness ($6.5 million), Humanitarian Assistance: Protection, Assistance and Solutions ($3.6 million), and Good Governance ($3.2 million). The 2008 budget estimate significantly increased aid to Bangladesh, to $105 million, and the 2009 budget request will retain aid at similar levels, at $106.8 million. The 2009 budget will distribute the most aid to Health ($42.7 million), Good Governance ($11.5 million), Social Services and Protection for Especially Vulnerable People ($8.8 million), Disaster Readiness ($6.1 million), and Private Sector Competitiveness ($5.1 million).
 
Bangladesh: Security Assistance (the U.S. sold $37.8 million of defense articles and services to Bangladesh in 2007)
 
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Controversies
The American labor movement has argued that certain trade preferences granted to Bangladesh should be suspended because labor rights are denied in Bangladesh’s “export processing zones,” where foreign companies enjoy certain exemptions from regulatory laws, including labor laws. 
USTR hears GSP petition (by Kazi Azizul Islam, Dhaka New Age) (scroll down)
Hello, Bangladesh: Please Take Note (Human Rights for Workers)
 
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Human Rights
Bangladesh is a multiparty parliamentary democracy with a history of political violence between the two major parties. Since October 2006, however, the country has been run by a “caretaker government,” pursuant to a unique constitutional provision requiring nonpartisan governance when elections are imminent. The caretaker government was supposed to hold elections in early 2007, but political unrest led to the postponement of elections, which are set for December 2008. The government’s human rights record has worsened recently, owing in part to the state of emergency and postponement of elections. The Emergency Powers Rules of 2007 suspended many fundamental rights, including freedom of press, freedom of association, and the right to bail. An anticorruption drive initiated by the government, while somewhat popular, gave rise to concerns about due process, as more than 200,000 people, including the leaders of the two major political parties, were arrested. For most of 2007 the government banned political activities, although this policy was enforced unevenly. Further, there are signs that some factions within the military foresee it playing a more prominent political role in the near future. While there was a significant drop in the number of extrajudicial killings by security forces, they were accused of serious abuses, including custodial deaths, arbitrary arrest and detention, and harassment of journalists. Some members of security forces acted with impunity and committed acts of physical and psychological torture. Violence against women and children remained a major problem, labor rights are regularly violated, and trafficking in persons continues.
 
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Debate
Export Processing Zones
The role of Bangladesh’s Export Processing Zones (EPZ’s) in shaping the country’s economic and social structure, as well as their place in U.S. – Bangladesh trade, has yielded considerable debate.
Against the EPZ’s – From the Left
 
Against the EPZ’s – From the Center
Internationally-Recognised Core Labour Stamdards in Bangladesh, (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions) (PDF)
 
For the EPZ’s – From the Center
Performance of Export Processing Zones: A Comparative Analysis of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (by Aradhna Aggarwa, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations) (PDF)
 
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Past Ambassadors
Name: Davis Eugene Boster
State of Residency: Ohio
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Feb 28, 1974
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 13, 1974
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 10, 1976
Note: Boster was also Ambassador to Guatemala from 1976 to 1979.
 
Name: Edward E. Masters
State of Residency: Ohio
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Oct 4, 1976
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 5, 1976
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 27, 1977
Note: Masters also served as Ambassador to Indonesia in 1977. 
 
Name: David T. Schneider
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Mar 2, 1978
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 29, 1978
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 25, 1981
 
Name: Jane Abell Coon
State of Residency: New Hampshire
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Jun 30, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 11, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 3, 1984
 
Name: Howard Bruner Schaffer
State of Residency: New York
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Aug 13, 1984
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 26, 1984
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 9, 1987
 
Name: Willard Ames De Pree
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Jul 2, 1987
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 5, 1987
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 17, 1990
Note: De Pree also served as Ambassador to Mozambique from 1976 to 1980. 
 
Name: William B. Milam
State of Residency: California
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Jun 27, 1990
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 1, 1990
Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 9, 1993
Note: Milam also served as Ambassador to Pakistan from 1998-2001.
 
Name: Daniel Nathan Merrill
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Feb 11, 1994
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 5, 1994
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 14, 1997
 
Name: John C. Holzman
State of Residency: Hawai’i
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Aug 1, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 2, 1997
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 6, 2000
 
Name: Mary Ann Peters
State of Residency: California
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Sep 15, 2000
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 25, 2000
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 19, 2003
 
Name: Harry K. Thomas, Jr.
State of Residency: New York
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: May 27, 2003
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 14, 2003
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 2, 2005
 
Name: Patricia A. Butenis
State of Residency: Virginia
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: February 21, 2006
Presentation of Credentials: April 13, 2006
Termination of Mission: April 1, 2008
 
 
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Bangladesh's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Qader, Akramul

A career diplomat with a cabinet rank of state minister, Akramul Qader has served as ambassador of Bangladesh to the United States since November 2009. In December 2010, he also assumed the role of ambassador to Mexico.

 
Qader received his master’s degree in Islamic history from Dhaka University and worked briefly as a college lecturer in the 1960s.
 
He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the government of Pakistan in 1968 as a section officer.
 
In 1970, Qader attended a specialized course in organization and methods at the National Institute of Public Administration in Dhaka.
 
After Bangladesh became an independent nation, Qader joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh in 1972, and the following year he attended a Foreign Service Training Course in Australia.
 
From 1974-1976, he was posted to the Soviet Union, followed by diplomatic assignments in Burma (1976-1981) and Pakistan (1981-1984).
 
He was director of the Foreign Secretary’s Office and director of the South East Asia Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka from 1984-1986. He also worked briefly in the personnel and finance directorates of the ministry.
 
Qader served as deputy chief of mission/ambassador at the embassy of Bangladesh in Brussels, Belgium, with concurrent accreditation to the European Commission, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (1990-1994), as well as counselor and later deputy chief of mission in the High Commission of Bangladesh in New Delhi, India.
 
He has also served as permanent representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and as director general of multilateral economic affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka from 1994 to 1996.
 
He was ambassador to Thailand , with concurrent accreditation to Cambodia from 1996 to April 1999, followed by high commissioner to South Africa, with concurrent accreditation as high commissioner to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho until 2002.
 
Qader also represented the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the board of directors of the Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs, served as director of the board of the Bangladesh Overseas Employment Services Limited and was a member, from 2004 to 2009, of the Sub-Committee on International Affairs of the Bangladesh Awami League political party.
 
Qader and his wife, Rifat Sultana Akram, have two children.
 
Biography (The Washington Diplomat)

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Bangladesh's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh

Mozena, Dan
ambassador-image

The new U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh is a career diplomat who grew up milking cows on the family farm, and whose career has taken him primarily to rural countries in South Asia and Southern Africa. Dan W. Mozena previously served at the embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs from 1998 to 2001. He was sworn in as Ambassador on November 17, 2011.

 
Born May 1, 1949, in Dubuque, Iowa, Mozena is the second of four sons and one daughter of Kenneth and Edna Mozena. Growing up on a family dairy farm in Iowa, Mozena spent his childhood milking cows, slopping hogs, and doing daily chores. He started his education in a one-room country school with only 12 students spread over eight grades. He earned a BS in History and Government at Iowa State University in 1970, spent the next year in Nepal on a National 4-H Council Cultural Exchange program, and then earned an MA in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1974.
 
From 1974 to 1976, Mozena and his wife, Grace, were Peace Corps Volunteers in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), helping farmers develop better ways to raise chickens. Back from the Peace Corps, Mozena worked as a Program Specialist from 1977 to 1981 for the National 4-H Council in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
 
Mozena joined the State Department Foreign Service as a Political Officer in 1981. His first overseas assignments sent him to Africa, first to the Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia, to serve as a Consular Officer from 1982 to 1983, and then to serve as Economic and Political Officer at the Embassy in Kinshasa, Zaire, from 1983 to 1985. Mozena spent the next three years serving as a Public Diplomacy Officer at the State Department’s Office of Strategic Nuclear Policy from 1985 to 1988. He studied the Hindi language at the Foreign Service Institute from 1988 to 1989, and then served three years, 1989 to 1992, as Deputy Counselor for Political Affairs at the Embassy in New Delhi, India.
 
Shifting his focus back to Africa, Mozena served at State Department Headquarters as Officer-in-Charge of South African Affairs for 1992 to 1993, and as Deputy Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs from 1993 to 1995, during South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy. He also assisted with then-President Nelson Mandela’s historic state visit to Washington.
 
Mozena spent the next nine years overseas, returning to South Asia in 1995 to serve as Deputy Counselor for Political Affairs at the Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, until 1998, when he headed to the Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to serve as Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs through 2001. He went back to the scene of his first overseas assignment to serve as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia, from 2001 to 2004. Mozena was appointed Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs in 2004, and served three years in that capacity, until his first ambassadorial appointment in 2007, as Ambassador to Angola, a position he held from August 15, 2007, until July 2, 2010. For the 2010–2011 academic year, Mozena was Professor of National Security at the National War College in Washington, DC.
 
Mozena and his wife, Grace (Feeney), were married in 1971. She is a retired elementary school teacher with professional interests in elementary education and English as a second language. The Mozenas have two children: Anne (born 1979) and Mark (born 1983).
 
 
 
 
 

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh

Moriarty, James
ambassador-image

James F. Moriarty was confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh on March 13, 2008 and sworn in on March 26, 2008. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Moriarty joined the Foreign Service in 1975. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from Dartmouth College in 1975, and speaks Chinese, Nepali, Urdu, French and Bangla. Early assignments in his career included postings at the U.S. embassies in Pakistan, Swaziland and Morocco, and work on African issues at the U.S. Department of State. As Deputy Director of the State Department’s Office of United Nations Political Affairs from 1991 to 1993, Moriarty coordinated U.S. policy on UN Security Council issues. Moriarty was Diplomat-in-Residence at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1993-94.
 
From 1994 to 1998, Moriarty led the General Affairs (Political) Section at the American Institute in Taiwan; from 1998 to 2001, he served as Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing; and from 2001 to 2002 he worked in the White House as National Security Council (NSC) Director for China Affairs. From 2002 to 2004, he served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior NSC. Moriarty served as U.S. Ambassador to Nepal between 2004 and 2007. 
 

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