Few leaders, in the annals of Bangladesh’s political history, have left as indelible a mark as Sheikh Hasina. She is the longest-serving prime minister in the nation’s history. Her enduring leadership has been instrumental in transforming Bangladesh from a struggling Least Developed Country (LDC) into a thriving developing nation, and her visionary policies have set the country on a trajectory toward sustainable development. It has not only transformed her nation but has also had a resounding impact on regional and global politics. The country, once known for its struggles with poverty and political instability, has made remarkable progress in recent years. Central to this transformation has been the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, the premier.
Under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, Bangladesh has made significant strides across various sectors, earning international recognition for its achievements. The economic growth of the country has been particularly noteworthy, with consistent GDP growth and a burgeoning manufacturing sector. Her government has implemented a series of economic reforms, including investment in infrastructure, industrialization, and export diversification. These initiatives have propelled Bangladesh’s economy forward. Her administration’s commitment to improving the living standards of the citizens has manifested through various social safety net programmes, infrastructure development, and poverty reduction initiatives.
One of the remarkable achievements of Sheikh Hasina’s tenure has been the remarkable progress in the education sector. Investments in education have resulted in increased literacy rates, improved access to quality education, and the establishment of numerous world-class institutions. The youth of Bangladesh are now better equipped to contribute to the country’s development and compete on the global stage.
Sheikh Hasina’s leadership has been instrumental in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in Bangladesh. From introducing tougher laws against sexual harassment to promoting women’s participation in politics and the workforce, her policies are driving a societal shift towards greater gender inclusivity. Bangladesh now boasts a significant number of women in leadership positions, including the Prime Minister herself, setting an example for the region and the world. Furthermore, Sheikh Hasina’s administration has demonstrated a strong commitment to inclusivity. Minorities and marginalized communities have seen improved access to essential services, while measures have been taken to protect the rights of indigenous peoples. The focus on inclusivity has not only fostered social cohesion but also contributed to the country’s overall development. Promoting women’s participation in the workforce and decision-making roles has been a significant focus. The empowerment of women is not only a matter of social justice but also a crucial driver of economic growth and social progress.
Sheikh Hasina’s leadership has elevated Bangladesh’s stature on the global stage. Her diplomatic acumen and commitment to international cooperation have earned her respect and admiration worldwide. Under her guidance, Bangladesh has played a crucial role in addressing global challenges such as climate change, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping, and sustainable development. Bangladesh’s active engagement in international forums, including the United Nations, has allowed the country to contribute to global decision-making processes. Her speeches at the United Nations General Assembly have often emphasized the importance of addressing global inequalities, poverty, and sustainable development. Her diplomacy has improved Bangladesh’s standing in the global community.
Sheikh Hasina’s leadership is deeply aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Her government has integrated the SDGs into national development plans, showcasing a dedication to building a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable future for Bangladesh. Initiatives related to clean energy, environmental conservation, and poverty reduction exemplify her commitment to these global objectives. As Bangladesh continues its journey toward sustainable development, the pursuit of justice remains a crucial element in healing the wounds of the past. Sheikh Hasina’s leadership stands as a beacon of hope for those who seek accountability for the atrocities committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. The path forward necessitates a collective commitment to justice, reconciliation, and ensuring that the lessons of history are not forgotten. Moreover, her administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated resilience and a people-centric approach. Bangladesh’s vaccination drive, public health measures, and social support programmes showcased effective governance during a global crisis.
Sheikh Hasina’s leadership can be evaluated very positively in the realm of regional and global politics due to her commitment to diplomacy, regional stability, and addressing global challenges. Her achievements, such as resolving longstanding regional disputes, advancing climate change discussions, and contributing to international peacekeeping efforts, have elevated Bangladesh’s status in global politics. She has navigated the complex dynamics of global politics with a deft hand, fostering partnerships that have advanced the nation’s interests.
Sheikh Hasina’s proactive stance on climate change has garnered international acclaim. Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, and her government’s efforts in mitigation and adaptation strategies have made her a global leader in addressing this critical issue. Climate change poses a severe threat to Bangladesh, with its vulnerability to rising sea levels. She has championed the cause of climate change on the global stage, advocating for the interests of countries most affected. Her commitment to renewable energy and climate-resilient infrastructure is not only securing Bangladesh’s future but also inspiring global climate action.
Sheikh Hasina’s leadership is not merely a political tenure but a transformative force that has reshaped Bangladesh. Her commitment to sustainable development, gender equality, and international cooperation has positioned Bangladesh as a rising star on the global stage. Her pragmatic approach to diplomacy, commitment to addressing global challenges, and advocacy for the Global South has earned her respect and recognition on the world stage. Her leadership has been instrumental in propelling Bangladesh toward sustainable development. As the country continues its journey toward a brighter future, her guidance remains crucial for achieving the sustainable development goals and ensuring a prosperous and equitable Bangladesh for all. As Bangladesh stands on the cusp of further progress, the role of Sheikh Hasina in shaping the nation’s destiny is undeniable. Her legacy is not just a story of a political leader but a narrative of a visionary who transformed a nation. For Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina represents hope, progress, and resilience.
The positive assessment of Sheikh Hasina’s leadership transcends political boundaries. It is a celebration of a leader who has uplifted her nation, inspired her people, and earned the respect of the global community. Sheikh Hasina’s journey is a testament to the incredible potential of leadership when driven by a genuine commitment to the well-being of a nation and its people. In an ever-changing world, her leadership remains an invaluable asset, not only to Bangladesh but also to the cause of global progress and cooperation. Her role as Bangladesh’s premier transcends mere governance; it embodies a remarkable journey of transformation and progress. In a world where leadership is often synonymous with power, her tenure stands as an exemplary testament to the power of leadership.
Dr. Rashid Askari is a former Vice Chancellor of Islamic University Bangladesh