Bangladeshi people have made many contributions to our collective advocacy and action on contemporary and emerging global challenges. A splendid example of this is our 2021 Commonwealth Young Person of Year, Faysal Islam, who is from Bangladesh. He was selected from among more than 1,000 nominations to be recognised in this way for his initiative in developing and delivering a project providing low-cost ambulances and medical care to rural people. Faysal demonstrates ingenuity as well as those distinctive characteristics of Commonwealth cooperation - concern and commitment to the poorer, the weaker and the more vulnerable people of our countries and communities.

Leaders and representatives of other Commonwealth nations will be joining with the people of Bangladesh in the celebrations this week. This is a true reflection of what we hold dear in the Commonwealth – that we are a family of nations.

During the past fifty years, and particularly in recent months, we have been through challenging times. Even with the current severe economic and social disruption and necessary restrictions on travel and public gatherings because of COVID-19, I sincerely hope the government and people of Bangladesh people will enjoy a memorable and uplifting 50th independence day as they unite in celebration of their achievement in building a strong, inclusive, vibrant and resilient nation.

* Patricia Scotland is the Commonwealth Secretary General

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