Ekushe Academy Australia (EAA) is a secular, non-political and non-profitable organization. This organization is managed by a thirteen-member Executive Committee (EC), elected by its financial Members. Tenure of the EC is two years and members of the EC work on honorary basis. The Academy also has its own constitution.
Our slogan: ‘Conserve your mother language ‘
To mainly institute and promote the Bangla language, its literature and cultural practices among Bangalees and to create awareness of mother language in the Australian multicultural society.
• To organize a day-long Book Fair and cultural program every year, dedicated to immortal the 21st (Ekushey) February and the International Mother Language Day (IMLD).
• To uphold the aspirations of IMLD in the Australian Multicultural Society and among the Bangla speaking people of the world as a whole.
• To establish a well maintained Library with books, journals, newspapers, DVDs and other electronic media and reference materials on Bangla and Bangladesh and the world, thereby creating an opportunity for a lifelong learning process.
• To inspire the younger generation about multilingual and cultural diversity and to help them nurturing their own ethnic language (Mother Tongue) and to share the multicultural spirit.
• To work in collaboration with and to provide continuous support to other organizations having similar objectives of enhancing the acceptability and recognition of the Bangla language and its promotion in Australia.
• To organize regular seminars, symposiums and cultural activities and festivals to promote Bangladesh.
History: From 'Ekushey Book Fair’ to ‘Ekushe Academy'
It all started on February 21 in 1999 when 'Mishook Publication’, a local importer of Bangla language books for the expatriate readers of the Bangladeshi community in Sydney had arranged a book fair and cultural program for the first time in Sydney's Ashfield Heritage Park. The idea was to commemorate 21st February: a day most significant in the history of Bangladesh. It reminds the nation of those valiant sons who undauntedly sacrificed their lives for the sake of the mother tongue.
The program was the brainchild of Mr.Nehal Neyamul Bari, the proprietor of Mishook. There were also few other pioneers of that first venture: Mr. Abdul Aziz, Mr. Feroz Showkat Ali and Mr. Al Noman Shamim being three of them. The names of Mr. Ashis Bhattacharjee Bablu and renowned singer Mr. Sirajus Salekin are also noteworthy for their special contributions. The local expatriates were impressed by the day's program and so was the local media. Today, after a decade, with the Book Fair and cultural programs being held every year in the same venue, the ‘Ekushe Academy’ is the ultimate culmination of long tradition and dedication.
This article tries to show a timeline of the academy’s brief history: how it all came to what it is today and how it has helped bond an entire community of people as they try to hold the cultural identity of their native land far away from home.
After the first two years of successes in 1999 and 2000, the Ekushe Boi-mela Parishad Australia (EBPA) Inc. was created with Mr. Bari in the chair on October 2, 2000. A committee was formed to formally institutionalise the annual program which would otherwise remain only as a cultural activity. The working committee had thirteen members in the term of 2001-2002 with Mr. Omar Faruque being the first General Secretary. The constitution of the organisation was approved in the annual general meeting (AGM) in 2001 and organisation was incorporated on January 7, 2002.
Mr. Nehal Bari was again elected as the President of the organisation for the second term of 2003 - 2004. This term saw Dr. Sultan Mahmud as the General Secretary of the committee. It was their vision of the future that also saw the executive committee changing its name and becoming for the first time, what is now known today as ‘Ekushe Academy’. The change was approved in the AGM of the organisation on October 31, 2004.
Between October 2004 and August 2006, the Academy was headed by Mr. Nirmal Paul as the President and Dr. Mahmud as the General Secretary (his second term). It was a successful term for the Academy: working closely with the Australian and Bangladeshi government and guided by the continuous support, encouragement and financial help of thousands of Bangladeshis living in Australia, it succeeded in erecting the Monument of Remembrance for the Ekushey martyrs the and International Mother Language Day in Sydney’s Ashfield Heritage Park. The plaque of the monument was unmasked during the book fair in the park on February 19, 2006.
In retrospect, this was probably the greatest achievement of the Ekushe Academy so far – only two other cities in the world have this monument created by the Bangladeshis. It is not only a symbol of Bangladeshi national identity and a piece of history that saw the struggle of its people against the colonial rulers, but also the love of its people for their own language. It is a tribute to all freedom loving people of the world, dedicated to those who want to conserve their native language, culture and heritage against all odds.
Over the last thirteen years, the Academy was not only helping to spread the spirit of 21st February in a distant land, it was also engaged in community work. Building a close relationship with the Australian community, it has been trying to bridge the gap between the East and the West and to foster multiculturalism. The organisation has been arranging voluntary blood donation for the Australian Red Cross on the International Mother Language Day for the last ten years. Working closely with the Ashfield Municipal Council, it also has been doing its duty towards the environment by taking part in the Cleanup Australia Day. It was not only the work of the members of the Executive Committee, but also the voluntary service and participation of hundreds of expatriates in the Bangladeshi community that saw the Academy earning the trust and respect of the local government council of Ashfield.
Since its inception the organisation has been trying to build a library and an information centre as part of its founding objectives. It is envisioned that this new centre will hold works of Bangla literature and cultural heritage and references to the works of millions of Bangladeshis around the world who have excelled in their professional fields.
We believe our initiative will see the dawning of a new era for the expatriate Bangladeshis in Australia and worldwide. The organisation would like to thank everyone whose encouragement and effort has been the key elements of its journey over the last decade.