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USAID celebrates 50th anniversary and 40 years with Bangladesh

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DHAKA, JANUARY 12, 2012—The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Government’s premier development agency, celebrated 50 years of global assistance and 40 years with Bangladesh at a gala event last evening at the Radisson Hotel. U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena, the honorable Minister of Finance, Dr. Abul Maal A. Muhith, the honorable Minister for Food and Disaster Management, Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzaque were among the dignitaries present at the event.

Kicking off the event, Ambassador Mozena noted that “Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy had a vision, a vision of global prosperity and security made possible by human progress. To help realize this vision, President Kennedy created USAID. This agency had the mandate to help people help themselves in building a better life for themselves and their children. I believe President Kennedy would be pleased and proud of what his creation has done and continues to do here in Bangladesh, in partnership with the people of Bangladesh.” For the past 40 years, USAID has worked in partnership with local institutions to support the progress and development of Bangladesh. The Social Marketing Company and ICDDR,B are two noteworthy local partners that have saved the lives of tens of thousands of children and promoted maternal and child health with USAID support. USAID was also a proud partner in establishing the Bangladesh Agricultural University, where the country’s brightest students and researchers developed high-yield rice varieties. USAID has been at the forefront of family planning efforts, rural electrification and many other important programs over the years. These many achievements are the product of dedicated American and Bangladeshi professionals, Bangladeshi institutions, non-governmental and civil society organizations.

USAID Bangladesh Mission Director Richard Greene concluded the event by unveiling USAID’s new five-year strategy for Bangladesh. Under this plan, USAID will provide close to US$1 billion in assistance to Bangladesh over the next five years in support of three broad initiatives addressing food security, health and global climate change. USAID food security initiatives will help an estimated seven million farmers, landless laborers, private sector actors and others in southern Bangladesh to improve their food security and economic status. The initiative will also reduce malnutrition among mothers and children. USAID health activities will help the families of Bangladesh meet their unmet need for family planning, improve the overall health of mothers and children and fight infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Finally, USAID climate change programs will promote clean energy, reduce deforestation and build resilience to the effects of climate change.

President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961. Since that time, USAID has been a quiet force for progress, fostering a more peaceful and secure world. In Bangladesh, USAID has provided critical food and disaster assistance after devastating cyclones, and is working with communities today to strengthen disaster preparedness. For four decades, USAID has partnered with Bangladesh and its people to improve basic living conditions, food security, family planning, education, healthcare, energy, the environment and so much more. As of 2011, the U.S. Government, through USAID, has provided over $5.7 billion in development assistance— from the people of the United States to the people of Bangladesh.