Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas at Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Closing Ceremony

March 22, 2023  

(As prepared for delivery) 

Good afternoon, Minister Khalid, Secretary Mohammad Abu Mansur, Director General Chandan Kumar Dey, friends from the media, and distinguished guests. 

On behalf of the U.S. government, I am honored to be with you here today. Today, we mark the completion of a very special cultural initiative to restore, retrofit, and document the architectural design of the historic Mughal Hammam Khana of Lalbagh Fort.   

Thanks to funding from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, the site is now open it for the public to experience a 17th century architectural wonder.     

Almost two years ago, we began this special collaboration with the Department of Archaeology of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.   

 This journey provides another example of the United States’ commitment to the Bangladeshi people.   

 To celebrate over 50 years of friendship, we are honored to support the preservation of your cultural heritage. 

 As I reflect on my first year as the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, I recall the incredible connections I made with the resilient, diverse, and friendly people of this beautiful country. 

At this moment, we celebrate the preservation of this 100-year-old heritage site as the nation prepares to commemorate its 53rd Independence Day on Sunday.   

Promoting cultural diversity, supporting freedom of expression, and preserving cultural heritage around the world are priorities for the United States.   

In the past 20 years, the U.S. Embassy has supported 11 cultural preservation projects throughout Bangladesh.   

At a total value of over 6 crore taka, some examples include the restoration of a 17th century building in Shakhari Bazaar, improving public access to the Varendra Research Museum’s collection, the documentation and of Baul song and cultural traditions, and the preservation of Jamdani weaving methods. 

Most recently, some partners in our cultural preservation efforts participated in a special International Visitors Leadership Program on “Preserving Cultural Heritage and Memory in the Digital Age.”   

They met with their American counterparts to discuss preservation, protection, and sustainable conservation of cultural heritage. 

I am glad to see architect Mah-Fuz Alam Su-Man, one of the participants present here today.   

He is providing extraordinary contributions in the 3D documentation of the Hammam Khana.  Congratulations, Mahfuz! 

Looking at the newly renovated Hammam Khana, I welcome everyone to enjoy the natural light sources and the geometric design work that will expand the legacy of this 1,000-year-old landmark.   

Moreover, the openness of the second floor reflects the Mughal architectural legacy.  The public is indeed for a treat in the restored marvel. 

In conclusion, I offer my gratitude to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs’ Department of Archaeology for this collaboration.  

I also would like to and congratulate everyone associated with the project for your determination to restore, preserve, and protect a remarkable piece of Bangladesh’s history.   

All of us must appreciate and protect the richness of our cultural offerings for future generations.  The ancient historical monuments are not only living wonders, but they also speak volumes of history and ancient culture.   

It is our shared responsibility to conserve our cultural diversity and preserve it for future identities.  It is a reminder of the wise words that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once offered, “We are not makers of history.  We are made by history.” 

I wish you all a happy Ramadan.  Thank you