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Bangladesh Foreign Minister visits Portsmouth

Bangladesh's Foreign Minister and High Commissioner to the UK will be officially welcomed to Portsmouth this week during a visit to boost business, education and cultural links.

The visit builds on progress made during Portsmouth’s 2019 Trade Mission to Bangladesh, when Portsmouth became a “sister city” with Sylhet in eastern Bangladesh. Since then, the city and the University of Portsmouth have become established in the minds of key decision makers, institutions and organisations in Bangladesh.

The visit, organised by the Portsmouth Bangladesh Business Association (PBBA), will take place on Wednesday 29 June. The Foreign Minister, the Honourable Professor Dr A.K Abdul Momen, and his delegation will first meet local groups associated with the PBBA at Portsmouth International Port. They will then attend an official welcome ceremony at Portsmouth Guildhall by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, with the raising of the Bangladesh flag and exchange of gifts, followed by lunch in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour.

After a visit to the Spinnaker Tower and a harbour boat tour, the Minister will attend the University of Portsmouth where he will give a public talk at 4pm about peace and foreign diplomacy. In the evening there will be a lighting up of the Spinnaker Tower in red and green to show support for Sylhet, which is currently experiencing severe flooding. The event ends with a dinner at the Mary Rose Museum, hosted by the University of Portsmouth.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: “Portsmouth’s Bangladeshi community makes a significant contribution to the local economy. Since the trade mission in 2019, with the support of the university and our business community, we have been able to develop our relationship. Bangladesh is an exciting country offering opportunity and endless potential for our city.”

Chris Chang, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement and Student Life) at the University of Portsmouth, said: “This visit offers the opportunity to continue to raise the profile of the University in Bangladesh to a level unmatched by any other UK institution. Since the trade visit in 2019, we have undertaken a number of activities, including opening offices in Dhaka and Sylhet and establishing strong working relationships with the PBBA and local Bangladeshi community, which has resulted in over 400 students from Bangladesh now studying at our university.

“The university and council are saddened to see the tragic situation in Sylhet and our thoughts are with everyone affected.”