Both are promising countries for foreign investors: Guner Ureya



Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal
Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Bangladesh Guner Ureya

Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Bangladesh Guner Ureya

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Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Bangladesh Guner Ureya said, Both Kosovo and Bangladesh are promising countries for foreign investors and both countries have areas of investment that should be explored. Since such a situation exists between Kosovo and Bangladesh, the importance of joint ventures rather than mutual direct investments is appearing.  If both parties can bring a part of the manufacturing capacity of Bangladesh on one side and Kosovo on another side with its capacities as a country next-door to big consumer markets, together they can create an incredible synergy. If both parties manufacture together and target third-country markets, they may achieve excellent results.

He said this in an interview with Bangladesh Travel Writers Association (BDTWA) recently.

In this interview, Lee Guner Ureya also said,

BDTWA president Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal, executive member Shakil Bin Mushtaq and Md. Zakaria Mondol were present in the interview session.


Here is the interview of the Excellency-

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: According to the current state of both country’s bilateral trade status, how does H.E see future trade relations?

Guner Ureya: Considering the fact that only a few years ago, we had almost zero trade between the two countries, we should not underestimate our current trading volume.  According to the Kosovo Agency of Statistics in 2021 trade volume between the two countries was around 13,200,000 Euros. In the first 8 months of 2022, our trade volume was around 11,602,000 Euro. These figures are very promising. Kosovo is pleased with the improvement in trade and other relations between the two countries and is confident that the trade volume will steadily increase in the upcoming years.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How can we work together for Bangladesh–Kosovo’s bilateral tourism development?

Guner Ureya: The most important factor affecting tourism cooperation is mutual perceptions. It is strengthened by multifaceted cooperation and convergence of mutual perception. Cooperation in cultural, trade, and other fields will both increase interaction and help us get to know each other better. In addition to all these, tourism portfolios of both sides, attractions, modern infrastructure, and promotional events like fairs and familiarization trips, will also lead to the development of our cooperation in the field of tourism.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Which country has the most investment in KOSOVO and in which sector?

Guner Ureya: Most of FDIs are from Switzerland, Germany, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and Albania, particularly in real estate and services. There are considerable foreign investments in the manufacturing sector as well.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: What are the challenges you see for more Kosovo investment in Bangladesh?

Guner Ureya: Let me clarify a thing. Both Kosovo and Bangladesh are promising countries for foreign investors and both countries have areas of investment that should be explored. Since such a situation exists between Kosovo and Bangladesh, the importance of joint ventures rather than mutual direct investments is appearing.  If both parties can bring a part of the manufacturing capacity of Bangladesh on one side and Kosovo on another side with its capacities as a country next-door to big consumer markets, together they can create an incredible synergy. If both parties manufacture together and target third-country markets, they may achieve excellent results.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Many people visit to TURKEY from Bangladesh and its only 1h 40 minutes from Istanbul to Kosovo. Can Kosovo consider this for the frequent travelers to visit Kosovo and facilitate their Tourist visa from BANGLADESH?

Guner Ureya: Tourism is very important for the promotion of the values of our countries and for our economies. Sure, we recommend tourists visiting the countries of the region to visit Kosovo as well. We also started to provide visa services at our Embassy in Dhaka. Besides Kosovar visas, those who have multiple Schengen visas can easily visit our beautiful country. Our doors are always open to those who want to see the beauties of Kosovo. I just have to highlight an issue. There are those who see tourism as an area of exploitation for illegal immigration. As Kosovo, we are very strict on this and we do not allow such abuses.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How do you see Bangladesh economically in 10 or 20 years?

Guner Ureya: If you keep this development trend and ensure progress in income sharing, your country will be qualified as developed as planned in 2041. Economic growth will lead to the allocation of more financial tools for better infrastructure. Investments to be made in areas such as education and health will help the development of the whole society. In a word, a more prosperous atmosphere will be provided for everyone.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Have you visited any tourist places in Bangladesh? How were your experiences? Do you have any favorite places in Bangladesh?

Guner Ureya: Alongside historical monuments and sites, Cox's Bazar caught my attention. The routes to the historical places are tiresome, but you feel good after you arrive. Cox's Bazaar is excellent, but there is still a lot of work to be done to attract foreign tourists. Accommodation prices in the hotels are very high there. This is a situation related to the high demand for accommodation from domestic tourists. Honestly speaking, more investments and other arrangements are required to attract foreign tourists in Cox’s Bazar. In the tourism sector, "being only beautiful" is not a sufficient criterion for success.


Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: During your stay in Bangladesh what impressed you the most?

Guner Ureya: The hospitality and friendliness of Bangladeshi people fascinated me the most. Your people are very nice and friendly.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: During your stay in Bangladesh what disappointed you the most?

Guner Ureya: Traffic.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How many Kosovo citizens live in Bangladesh? What are the major reasons behind their stay?

Guner Ureya: We have a very small number of Kosovars with residence in Bangladesh. Besides diplomats and their family members, there are Kosovars working for international organizations. 

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: What are the top five exports and Imports between Kosovo and Bangladesh? Are there any potential sectors that both countries are missing?

Guner Ureya: I'm sure that in a few years we'll be counting to 5 or even more articles of import and export between the two countries. Currently, the main trade items are RMG. Of course, there is also the modest pharmaceutical products trade. Food, furniture but also ICT services are among other potential sectors for the trade of goods and services between the two countries. 

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How many Bangladeshi students go to Kosovo each year and how many of them got Scholarships?

Guner Ureya: The doors of Kosovo universities are open to international students. We would be pleased to have Bangladeshi students studying in our country. So far, we have identified only one Bangladeshi graduate from one of Kosovo's universities. We hope this number will increase. For the first time, there is ongoing work on a scheme for a scholarship for international students in Kosovo. An announcement will be made once the process is completed.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Is there any High official visit this year and how many were in between the two countries?

Guner Ureya: Recently, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Kreshnik Ahmeti visited Dhaka. On the other side, Hon'ble Minister of Education of Bangladesh participated Women Peace Security Forum held in Prishtina on 22-23 October 2022.  The Prime Ministers of both countries have sent invitations to each other for an official visit. Both Excellences have very busy schedules. I hope it comes about soon.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Is there any tax-free agreement/FTA between Kosovo and Bangladesh?

Guner Ureya: There is an ongoing process of negotiation for the finalization of the Agreement for Economic Cooperation and Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion between the two countries. On the other hand, the Stabilization and Accession Agreement with the European Union is in force and Kosovo’s aim is to be a part of this great European family through the integration process. Therefore, we have to comply with EU criteria regarding FTAs. Our trade arrangements with Bangladesh will proceed in parallel with the arrangements your country will make with the EU.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: We heard one Kosovar Girl has been to Bangladesh and wrote about BANGLADESH, we will be happy to have her write up about Bangladesh and what were her experiences in Bangladesh?

Guner Ureya: Yes, Ms. Lavdi Zymberi visited different parts of Bangladesh and she left here with friendly impressions. As far as I know, she posts her impressions on her own blog. I will forward your write-up request to her.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: BDTWA wishes to invite some Kosovar Travel Writer, Professional photographer to visit Bangladesh for 7 to 10 days and BDTWA wish to visit Kosovo as well to write a travel book and to make a travel blog about Kosovo, can you arrange a FAM trip to Kosovo? 

Guner Ureya: Of course, we are aware that such familiarization trips are important. We have organized such trips for tour operators and journalists from a few countries before. In the future, taking into account the demands and priorities of the stakeholders in the tourism sector, we can organize such an event between Kosovo and Bangladesh as well.

Multi-Destination Education Expo to be held in capital on 28 January



News Desk, Barta24.com
Multi-Destination Education Expo to be held in capital on 28 January

Multi-Destination Education Expo to be held in capital on 28 January

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EDUMIG Limited is going to organize a Multi-Destination Education Expo 2023 in the capital city of Bangladesh. The day-long event will be held on 28th January 2023 from 11 am to 5 pm at Hotel Sarina, Banani, Dhaka.

At the event, students wishing to pursue higher education abroad can learn about the admission procedures of universities in Canada, Australia, America, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, Malaysia, South Korea, and the Schengen countries. Representatives from various universities worldwide will attend the event, where students can avail all the information regarding their higher education abroad, starting from the application procedures to obtaining VISAs.

Mr. Abbas Karimi, the founder of Edumig Ltd, will be inaugurating the event with our esteemed representatives of the mentioned universities at the Multi-Destination Expo 2023, offering up more than a decade of experience.

The Multi-Destination Expo 2023 offers students from all walks of life plenty of opportunities to pursue their higher studies abroad with scholarships. There can be scholarship opportunities of up to 10,000 dollars!

Mr. Abbas Karimi has been successfully helping students with their dreams of studying abroad. Now, he would like to help you with yours. So, please join us at Hotel Sarina and meet with the experienced Edumig Team and the University Representatives. We strive to provide you with a solution for your education abroad.

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Sections of Balkan river become floating garbage dump



News Desk, Barta24.com
Sections of Balkan river become floating garbage dump

Sections of Balkan river become floating garbage dump

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Tons of waste dumped in poorly regulated riverside landfills or directly into the waterways that flow across three countries end up accumulating behind a trash barrier in the Drina River in eastern Bosnia during the wet weather of winter and early spring.

This week, the barrier once again became the outer edge of a massive floating waste dump crammed with plastic bottles, rusty barrels, used tires, household appliances, driftwood and other garbage picked up by the river from its tributaries.

The river fencing installed by a Bosnian hydroelectric plant, a few kilometers upstream from its dam near Visegrad, has turned the city into an unwilling regional waste site, local environmental activists complain.

Heavy rain and unseasonably warm weather over the past week have caused many rivers and streams in Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro to overflow, flooding the surrounding areas and forcing scores of people from their homes. Temperatures dropped in many areas on Friday as rain turned into snow.

"We had a lot of rainfall and torrential floods in recent days and a huge inflow of water from (the Drina's tributaries in) Montenegro which is now, fortunately, subsiding," said Dejan Furtula of the environmental group Eko Centar Visegrad.

"Unfortunately, the huge inflow of garbage has not ceased," he added.

The Drina River runs 346 kilometers (215 miles) from the mountains of northwestern Montenegro through Serbia and Bosnia. and some of its tributaries are known for their emerald color and breathtaking scenery. A section along the border between Bosnia and Serbia is popular with river rafters when it's not "garbage season."

Some 10,000 cubic meters (more than 353,000 cubic feet) of waste are estimated to have amassed behind the Drina River trash barrier in recent days, Furtula said.

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Don’t stop cultivating cash crops but increase production in unutilized lands: PM



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Don’t stop cultivating cash crops but increase production in unutilized lands: PM

Don’t stop cultivating cash crops but increase production in unutilized lands: PM

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called for increasing overall crop cultivation in the country. During the question and answer round of the National Parliament session on Wednesday January 11 2023, she emphasized her say, “People generally tend to focus on cultivating cash crops while farming. We are well aware about that. Our target should never be hampering the growth of any such crop, instead it’s our duty to ensure that unutilized lands are being used for cultivation of crops.”

The PM conveyed this message while replying to a question asked by Gaibandha-1 MP Shamim Haider Patwary about banning tobacco cultivation. “It’s wiser to utilize all the cultivable lands for inclusive agricultural boost rather than halting the cultivation of any crop,” she opined.

The Prime Minister also added, “My own area (Gopalganj) can be mentioned here as an example. Our family owns quite a bit of land in the area that was not looked after or the farmers entrusted with the responsibility, failed to look after the lands. We have taken the initiative to ensure cultivation in these lands. Not only on our land, we are also ensuring that the non-arable land around ours are being prepared for cultivation. We can ensure cultivation on over 10,000 hectares of lands that was previously non-arable.”

“Even though some of the lands are waterlogged for over eight months in a year, we are planning fish-farming where applicable. Apart from this, we will cultivate whichever crop that is possible to cultivate. There is a trend of preparing floating beds using water hyacinths to cultivate different crops called dhaap. We have started using this method and have deployed the same method in other parts of the country,” she said.

“My message to the Honourable member of the parliament is that, instead of stopping what is currently being cultivated, start thinking about utilizing the lands that are not being used for cultivation,” the prime minister added.

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Bangladeshi Sri Chinmoy is important for the whole world



Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal
Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy

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A Peace Run is going to be held in Bangladesh from January 6 to 10, 2023. Around 12 international runners will come from the USA, UK, India, Haiti, South Korea, Iceland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary. Chinmoy Center in Dhaka is organizing the great event after the name of Sri Chinmoy. So, who is Sri Chinmoy? where was he born? What is Sri Chinmoy philosophy? Why is he so famous in the world? In an recent interview, Sri Chinmoy Center Dhaka,s Representative Shanti Sri is telling about the great man.

By Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal

  1. Who is Sri Chinmoy and where was he born?

Sri Chinmoy is a spiritual master, born on 27 August, 1931, at Shakpura, near Chattogram. He was the youngest of 7 children.

  1. What is Sri Chinmoy philosophy? Why is he so famous in the world?

Sri Chinmoy wrote: "Our philosophy in one sentence: Our philosophy is the acceptance of life for the transformation of life and also for the manifestation of God's Light here on earth, at God's choice Hour, in God's own Way."

Sri Chinmoy is best known as a man of peace, or as he describes himself  "a lifelong student of peace". He initiated many projects to help foster peace, inner and outer—through meditation, through art, through music, through sports, through civic life.


  1. How many Sri Chinmoy Centres in this world and when did Bangladesh start this centre?

There are Sri Chinmoy Centres in 330 cities, in 71 countries. The first one was founded in 1967 on the island of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. The New York Centre was founded a few months later. New York, where Sri Chinmoy lived from 1964 until his death in 2007, is the headquarters of the Centre.

A Centre was established in Dhaka in 2016 and in Chattogram in 2020.

  1. How long have you been involved with the Sri Chinmoy Centre and what inspired you to join?

I joined the Centre in my native city of Glasgow, Scotland on 2 December 1971, so, more than 50 years ago.

Sri Chinmoy came to Glasgow as part of his first European lecture tour. My husband was a student at Glasgow University. He was very interested in spirituality and philosophy, especially Eastern philosophy. He was involved in arranging the programme for Sri Chinmoy to speak at the University. I have to say at that time I was not a believer in any kind of spirituality. I had no patience for it. But I went along to the talk anyway. I was not happy that I did not believe in anything, in fact I suffered a lot from depression. What was I doing with my life? What was it all about?

Posters had been sent to us from New York, and they described Sri Chinmoy as a "spiritual Master". I felt that no one could be a master of spirituality; no one could know about these things for sure; it was all a matter of opinion. But the moment I entered the hall and saw Sri Chinmoy at the other end, there was something about him—charisma—I said to myself, "He knows." I felt it immediately, and I immediately wanted to learn from him.


While he was talking I could see a blue light all around him. It was fascinating, and I thought it was my imagination, but when I spoke to others afterwards, they had seen it too.

Sri Chinmoy offered to teach meditation to anyone at the lecture who was interested, so about 10 of us stayed behind and he showed us some meditation techniques and he formed the Glasgow Sri Chinmoy Centre. Again I saw this light. This time he became light. The silhouette was still there, but there were no features, just this shimmering light. Again I was amazed at this phenomenon, but even more, I felt great joy inside me, because I felt he could show me a way out of my depression, and show me how to become the person I really wanted to be.

  1. How many books has he written? How many poems and songs?

1600 books have been published, there are more notebooks that are still being transcribed and edited and will be published in due course. His work includes poetry, plays, lectures, questions and answers and short stories. Nearly 117,000 poems and aphorisms have been published.

Sri Chinmoy composed more than 21,000 songs, the majority of them in Bengali. These songs are performed by his students at concerts all over the world.

  1. He also loves painting? How many paintings he drew and how many galleries he made his painting exhibitions around the world? Was there any painting exhibition held in Bangladesh too, if so when?

Poetry and music were present in Sri Chinmoy's life from his childhood, but not painting. It was not until 1974 when he was 43 years old that he took up painting for the first time. His painting style is abstract and very colorful. He calls it "Jharna-Kala". As in all endeavors, Sri Chinmoy gave his heart and soul to painting, and in the first year produced 100,000 acrylic paintings—a veritable fountain of art!

He also does pen drawings and these are mostly of birds—"soul birds" as he calls them, and these number in the millions!

  1. How many followers at present in the world and how many countries have Sri Chinmoy centres?

There are around 7-9 thousand members of Sri Chinmoy Centres in 71 countries around the world. Members are expected to follow a strict spiritual discipline—daily meditation, exercise, vegetarian diet.

Sri Chinmoy emphasizes that his way is not a religion—he encourages people to stay in their own religion. There are people from all religions in the centres—Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and people with no formal religion. From my own experience, when following this path I got a deeper understanding of my own religion.

  1. Is there any Guinness book of world record in his name?

At one time Sri Chinmoy held a Guiness record for weightlifting for his age (73), but I don't have the details.

A central part of Sri Chinmoy's philosophy is "self-transcendence" meaning always trying to better your own achievements. Competing with yourself and not with others. This is the philosophy behind the races the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team organizes, including the world's longest race of 3,100 miles (almost 5000 k). Sri Chinmoy's followers have taken part in this race, have swum the English Channel, have climbed many of the world's highest mountains. The Marathon Team hosts a games every year in Europe called "Impossibility-Challengers" where people come to set new records—personal, national, or world.

  1. How many countries have roads in his name and how many roads?

70 Sri Chinmoy streets have been dedicated in 14 countries worldwide.

Countries are as follows:Australia, Canada, Czech,UK, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Scotland, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, USA.

  1. When he started praying sessions in the UN and how did it happen?

In 1971, Sri Chinmoy was invited by U Thant, third Secretary-General of the United Nations, to form a meditation group for delegates and staff at the United Nations in New York. The group met twice a week and Sri Chinmoy attended whenever he was in town. The group still meets to this day.

 

  1. Please tell us something about his Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run? When it was started and why this peace run?

The Peace Run is a team of international runners who run around the world carrying a torch symbolizing peace. It is based on a very simple idea, if you believe in peace, if you care for peace, if you hope for peace then express your hope by holding the Peace Torch, by joining the Peace Run for a few steps or a few miles. Since Sri Chinmoy founded it in 1987 more than 7 million people have participated in the Peace Run, covering 395,000 miles in 155 countries on all 7 continents.

Those who have held the Peace Torch include Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, President Gorbachev, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Queen Elizabeth II, Muhammad Ali, Carl Lewis, Pope Francis.

  1. I heard you are going to organize a Peace run in Bangladesh next January 2023 please let us know in details, how many people will join from how many countries? Who can join? Is it free to join? From where to where the run will start?

The Peace Run will be in Bangladesh from January 6-10, 2023. Around 12 international runners will come from the USA, UK, India, Haiti, South Korea, Iceland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary.

There are certain events where everyone can join, for example the opening ceremony of the Peace Run will be at the Eternal Flame at Suhrawardy Udyan on January 6 at 8am. From there we will run with the torch around Hatirjheel between 9:30 am and 11 am.

At 1 pm the Peace Run will visit the Buriganga Eco Park at Shyampur for the dedication of the Buriganga as a Peace River. On January 7th the Peace Run will run from Dhaka to Savar. You are welcome to run part of the way with us. There is no cost to be part of the Peace Run. On January 8th the Peace Run will visit schools in the Dhaka area. On January 9th the Peace Run will have a program in Chattogram and on January 10th it will visit Shakpura, the birthplace of Sri Chinmoy. For details please check PeaceRun.org

  1. How many books have been translated into Bengali, which were written by Sri Chinmoy?

About ten of Sri Chinmoy books have been translated into Bengali. It is an ongoing process. In some of the poetry books, for example "The Garden of Love-Light" and "Pole-Star-Promise-Light," both the English and Bangla versions were written by Sri Chinmoy, and he later set these poems to music.

  1. Is there anyone who did a Ph. D. in Sri Chinmoy? Who did and when?

Dr. Vidagdha Bennett, an Australia writer, wrote her Ph. D. thesis on Sri Chinmoy's poetry in the late 1980s, "Simplicity and Power: The Poetry of Sri Chinmoy 1971-1981". She has also written several autobiographical books on Sri Chinmoy. The best known is "His Sacred Breath."

Bidushi's book you have.

  1. How many books written on Sri Chinmoy and how many of them are in Bengali?

Vidagdha Bennett has written several autobiographical books about Sri Chinmoy.

The Bengali ones by Shankar and Nashima Khan, a Bengali-born journalist now living in NY, you have.

  1. As we know he wrote 1600 books, into how many languages have his book been translated?

I can't tell you exactly, but I know of his books being translated into many of the European languages—Italian, Spanish, German, French, some Greek, some Icelandic, some Portugese and Japanese.

A poem written by Sri Chinmoy was recited in 203 languages by members of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run at the Dag Hammerskjöld Plaza, New York, USA, on 10 April 2014, setting a world record.

  1. Why Sri Chinmoy was important to us?

Sri Chinmoy is important because he offers a path to spiritual fulfillment that takes account of the modern world. You don't have to shun the world and go live in a cave in the Himalayas—you can live in a modern city, have a job, fulfill your family responsibilities and still make solid progress in your spiritual life, discovering your true self, developing your good qualities, transcending your negative qualities, achieving peace of mind, depth of understanding and real happiness. The goal, you can call it Self-discovery, God-realization, Salvation, Nirvana, is the same, but the way to get there is tailored to the 21st century.

  1. Tell us something about his project Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles.

Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles was begun by Sri Chinmoy in 1991 in response to a request by President Gorbachev at a time when Russia was undergoing great financial hardship. Sri Chinmoy organized a convoy of food, clothing and medical supplies and equipment to be sent to relieve the suffering of the Russian people. Since that time it has been delivering humanitarian aid to poor countries, and in response to natural disasters. On two occasions Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles has delivered container shipments of medical equipment to Bangladesh.

One notable project is the Kids to Kids program where children in developed countries collect and send toys and school supplies to less fortunate kids. Children are also encouraged to send drawings and messages of encouragement to children who are suffering, for example to Aceh Province in Indonesia after the tsunami of 2004.

Another project was Dolls for Africa, where people worldwide hand-crafted dolls for poor African children.

From 2002 to 2007 Ambassador Anwaral Chowdhury of Bangladesh was Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. Ambassador Chowdhury entrusted to Sri Chinmoy, ten of the most vulnerable countries, to serve through humanitarian shipments. Ambassador Chowdhury stated that Sri Chinmoy surpassed the original request of ten countries which now totals 33 countries.

In 2020, 300 villagers from the village of Shakpura, where Sri Chinmoy was born, signed a petition requesting that the newly paved main road leading into Shakpura be called Sri Chinmoy Road. A letter signed by the late Speaker Humayan Rashid Choudhury dedicating 6 of Bangladesh's rivers as Peace Rivers.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: President, Bangladesh travel writers association

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