May 1, 2013 — The Asia Foundation recently hosted U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan W. Mozena, for an informal lunch discussion at its San Francisco headquarters, followed by a public event hosted by the Foundation’s Washington, DC office. Ambassador Mozena also participated in the South Asia Women Parliamentarians Conference, jointly organized by The Asia Foundation and USAID in Dhaka last July and pictured above. Members of the Bay Area Bangladeshi diaspora, including Silicon Valley executives, investment advisors, and members of the academic community, attended the lively and informative lunch in San Francisco. The Washington event, held at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, focused on “Bangladesh Challenges and Opportunities,” and Ambassador Mozena provided an update on political and economic developments in the country.
In the three decades since independence, Bangladesh has made tremendous improvements in basic infrastructure, social services, and economic opportunities. In part, due to a strong civil society and a commitment by its political and religious leaders, Bangladesh continues to expand opportunities to its 150+ million citizens. Yet, Bangladesh still faces many challenges, particularly in the functioning of its political institutions. Climate change also is having a profound impact on its ecosystem, and overcrowding of its urban centers combined with low-income levels means many continue to live in poverty.
Ambassador Mozena said he and his staff are working closely with the Bangladesh government and civil society to bolster food security and nutrition, improve health, and increase capacity to cope with climate change, natural disasters, and other security challenges. Ambassador Mozena said he’d had the privilege of visiting all of the country’s 64 districts.
While in San Francisco, The Asia Foundation’s well-respected blog In Asia conducted a Q&A with Ambassador Mozena to discuss Bangladesh’s goals to become a middle-income country, its need for an “education revolution,” the role Bangladeshi-Americans in the Silicon Valley can play in development, and why Ambassador Mozena says Bangladesh – the nexus of inter-regional trade – is an emerging “Asian Tiger.” Read more.