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Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Meets Archbishop Randall to Discuss AI, Religious Harmony, and Papal Invitation

Archbishop Kevin S. Randall, the Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to Bangladesh (left) and Bangladesh's Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina (right). (Photo supplied)

On May 12, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina welcomed Archbishop Kevin S. Randall, the Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to Bangladesh, at her official residence in Ganabhaban to fortify bilateral relations and extend an invitation to Pope Francis.

This significant diplomatic gesture marks another milestone in the ongoing dialogue between Bangladesh and the Vatican.

Prime Minister's Speech Writer M. Nazrul Islam provided details of the discussion to the press.

According to him, Hasina highlighted Bangladesh’s cautious yet progressive approach towards the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

"We welcome AI, but we have to take some protection measures by enacting laws to preventing its misuses," she stated, underscoring the importance of regulatory frameworks to mitigate potential risks associated with AI technologies.

The prime Minister also spoke on Bangladesh’s tradition of religious harmony, stressing the peaceful coexistence of Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists.

"We celebrate our festivals all together," she remarked, reflecting the nation’s inclusive cultural fabric.

Archbishop Randall commended Bangladesh's proactive stance on critical global issues such as climate change and the Rohingya refugee crisis. His appreciation reinforces the international recognition of Bangladesh’s efforts in these areas.

Archbishop Randall relayed Prime Minister Hasina's invitation to Pope Francis to visit Bangladesh during the meeting.

Pope Francis' last papal visit, from November 30 to December 2, 2017, remains a memorable event in the country's history.

He was the third Pope to visit Bangladesh, following Pope Paul VI, who visited East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on November 26, 1970, and St. Pope John Paul II, who visited on November 19, 1986. Pope Paul VI’s visit was notable for expressing sympathy for the victims of a devastating cyclone.

Bangladesh, with a population exceeding 160 million, is predominantly Muslim, with around 90 percent adhering to Sunni Islam. Hindus constitute about 8 percent, while the remainder includes Buddhists and Christians. 

Christians, primarily Catholics, make up less than one percent of the population, with approximately 400,000 Catholics spread across two archdioceses and six dioceses.

Prime Minister Hasina’s invitation to Pope Francis symbolizes a continued commitment to interfaith dialogue and international cooperation, reflecting Bangladesh’s evolving role on the global stage. - Nikhil Gomes 


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