PBA DESK : The total number of international accolades conferred on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has increased to 36 as she won the “Lifetime Contribution for Women Empowerment Award” on the occasion of this year’s International Women’s Day. On behalf of the premier, Bangladesh Ambassador to Germany Imtiaz Ahmed received the award given by the Institute of South Asian Women in Berlin on March 7.
Sheikh Hasina won the award for her outstanding contributions to the field of women empowerment as well as her dynamic leadership in South Asian region. Earlier, different reputed universities and institutions across the world conferred various degrees upon the premier for playing an important role in peace-building, upholding democracy and socioeconomic development.
Sheikh Hasina was also honoured with awards for her outstanding contributions to social work, peace and stability. The premier received two international awards — the IPS International Achievement Award and the 2018 Special Distinction Award for Leadership — for her humanitarian and responsible policy in hosting the Rohingyas and for her far-sighted leadership over the Rohingya issue.
The Inter Press Service (IPS), one of the world’s leading news agencies, and the Global Hope Coalition, a network of three not-for-profit foundations based in New York, Zurich and Hong Kong, honoured her with the two awards on September 28 last year. She received the Global Women’s Leadership Award on April 27 last year for her outstanding leadership in women education and entrepreneurship in Bangladesh.
The US-based Global Summit of Women conferred the prestigious accolade on Sheikh Hasina at a gala dinner of the organization in Sydney, Australia. The prime minister received the award from Global Summit of Women President Irene Natividad amid thunderous clapping of nearly 1500 women leaders from across the globe who joined the summit.
A four-time elected premier, Sheikh Hasina first drew an extra international focus when the UN honoured her with its UNESCO Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize in 1998, a year after Bangladesh saw the end of a nearly two- decade old insurgency in the southeastern hills in line with the peace talks with the ethnic rebels.
“Following the footsteps of your father, who dedicated his life to founding a nation, you in turn have taken that nation along the road of peace and reconciliation . . . Your peace-making efforts within your country’s borders have been matched by your dedication to the cause of a global culture of peace,” the then UNESCO director general Federico Mayor told her while handing over the award on September 24, 1999.
Since then, Sheikh Hasina has been keeping marks of her commitment to areas of global peace, climate change, agriculture, girl’s education and ICT, reintroducing Bangladesh to a global platform and installing the nation to an elevated seat in the international arena.
The international academic community also acknowledged her contributions with renowned universities in the United States, Britain, Australia, Belgium and India conferring nine honourary doctorate degrees on laws, literature, liberal arts and humane letters.
In 2010, the Bangladesh leader received the UN award for Bangladesh’s MDG achievements for achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG) particularly in reducing child mortality.
In recognition to her continued commitment to the country’s development, she was conferred with the “ICT Sustainable Development Award” for promoting the use of ICT towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015.
Women in Parliament (WIP) and UNIESCO awarded her the “WIP Global Forum Award” for her leading role in reducing gender gap in political sphere in South and South East Asia in March this year and “Tree of Peace” Award for promotion of girls’ and women’s education in September, 2014.
The premier won the “South-South Award twice, one in 2011 and another in 2013 for her contribution to reducing child and maternal mortality rates through using information technology in health sector and to fight against hunger and poverty.
She was also awarded the Pearl S Buck Award (1999), CERES Medal by FAO (1999), Mother Teresa Award, MK Gandhi Award, Indira Gandhi Peace Award (2009), Indira Gandhi Gold Plaque, Head of State Medal, Global Diversity Award (2011, 2012), and Netaji Memorial Award (1997).
Besides, Cornell University of the United States awarded Sheikh Hasina a certificate in September 2014 for her contribution to attaining self- sufficiency in food production and ICT development.
Apart from these, Sheikh Hasina was conferred with honorary Doctor of Liberal Arts by the University of Alberta Dundee in the United Kingdom in 1997, honorary Doctor of Laws by the Boston University in the United States and the Waseda University of Japan respectively.
India’s Visva-Bharati University conferred her with the degree of Desikottama (Doctor of Literature) while Australian National University awarded her the honorary Doctor of Laws in 1999. Peoples Friendship University of Russia also conferred her with honourary doctorate degree in 2005 for her contribution to establishing peace, democracy and human rights.
At home, she was conferred with honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Dhaka University in 1999 while Catholic University of Brussels offered her with identical honour in 2000. She won the Champions of the Earth, the highest global accolade for environment, in 2015 as recognition to her farsighted programmes in tackling adverse impacts of climate change in Bangladesh.
In 2016, Sheikh Hasina was conferred with the “Agent of Change” award and “Planet 50-50 Champion” honour for her outstanding contributions to women empowerment. The UN Women recognised the prime minister as “Planet 50-50 Champion” while the Global Partnership Forum honoured her with the “Agent of Change” award at a reception at the UN headquarters in New York that year.