Enduring Policy Ideals and Practices - Evidence from Bangabandhu's Speech at the United Nations and Bangladesh's Voting Records at the Assembly: 2001-2017
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s historic speech at the 29th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was the first ‘strategic communication’ by the father of the nation at the Assembly following Bangladesh’s admission to the United Nations. Apart from the well-known and much-to-be-proud of fact that the speech was delivered in Bangla, the content of this speech stands out as a key document, begging to be studied from an international relations perspective and the enduring ideals it enunciates and has been in practice by Bangladesh. This paper seeks to answer: to what extent has Bangladesh remain seized supporting the enduring ideals on key global issues enunciated by Bangabandhu in his speech at the United Nations? Accordingly, the paper carries out a (i) content analysis to identify the enduring ideals (ii) comparison of Bangladesh’s positions on the 1,284 UNGA resolutions that were put to vote between 2001-2017 to assess country’s support to those ideals. The paper finds that, except for the politically sensitive country-specific human rights resolutions, Bangladesh has consistently remained seized in supporting Bangabandhu’s ideals in all thematic categories (between 92-100% ‘yes’ votes). It demonstrates that Bangabandhu’s emphasis on the primacy of the United Nations to build a peaceful and just world, non-alignment, peaceful co-existence, economic emancipation and global solidarity has become much more relevant in the Covid-19 era and the current geopolitical context of South Asia. The paper opens new avenues to use a novel methodology to conduct evidence-based research on the policy ideals and its practices.