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Afsan Chowdhury in conversation with Sophia Balagamwala

Oak Fellow Afsan Chowdhury Afsan Chowdhury was born in 1954. He has had a parallel career in development work and the media. He has been active in multi-disciplinary research, media relations, journalism, and program development for two decades, and is one of the editors of an authoritative work on Bangladesh’s War of Independence. He held a high position in UNICEF, but left to become a freelancer and social activist. He was also the BBC’s correspondent in Bangladesh but left to concentrate on development-related work. In 1994, he established, HASAB, a funding nonprofit for organizations working in the area of HIV, STDs, and AIDS.He was Contributing Producer for a number of BBC World Service series, and is the author of four novels. Afsan has compiled an extensive set of audio interviews of ordinary Bangladeshis as well as high profile people in Bangladesh and India on their experiences of 1971.
Sophia Balagamwala is the Director of Interactive Projects at the Citizens Archive of Pakistan, a non profit organization dedicated to Cultural and Historic Preservation. She is responsible for conceptualizing and curating exhibitions  that exhibit oral histories, video, photography, and other archival material with the aim to to engage and educate the community and foster an awareness of Pakistan’s true history. She recently curated State of Being so Divided, an exhibition commemorating the transformation of the subcontinent, and fortieth anniversary of the creation of the state of Bangladesh.
The Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP) is a non profit organization dedicated to Cultural and Historic Preservation.
CAP has focused its attention on the tradition of oral story-telling in Pakistan, emphasizing the importance of such narratives in a dialogue on national identity. Our organization has three main goals: to preserve and provide access to the archive, to build and support educational programs, and to develop educational products based on the testimonies collected.
Afsan and Sophia will participate in a short discussion during the launch of the 1971 archives at the National Press Club on the 12th February 2012. The programme can be seen online at from 11:00 am Bangladesh Standard Time (GMT +6)
Related Articles:
 Songs of a Wounded Image
Archiving 1971

Published in1971Bangladesh

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