Roots of Friendship: 50 Years of U.S.-Bangladesh Relations

In 2022, the United States and Bangladesh celebrated 50 years of friendship. Composed of 50 photographs, Roots of Friendship covers the roots and routes of this unfolding journey between these two nations and is a special tribute to the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence. Through pivotal historical events and personal moments, the exhibition goes beyond diplomatic bonds and underscores people-to-people connections. It explores the stories of Bangladeshi people who have found a new home in the United States and have woven themselves into the fabric of communities throughout the nation. The images also reveal how the United States has simultaneously extended its friendship, resources, and technical expertise in rebuilding the Bangladeshi economy after its independence from Pakistan on December 16, 1971.

Like all diplomatic partners, Bangladesh and the United States have had to make adjustments through periods of difficulty. Following Bangladesh's transition to democracy and implementation of free-market policies in the 1990s, however, the relationship between the two countries has grown stronger and more cooperative. Since then, Bangladesh has progressed in economic development, maternal health, and primary education. It is a major player in South Asia and a valuable regional partner to the United States. Over the period of this diplomatic relationship—as well as before it was officially established—the U.S. has invested billions of dollars to improve the lives of people in Bangladesh, to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, to invest in economic and social development, and to assist Bangladesh in facing the challenges of climate change. The U.S.-Bangladesh relationship benefits both countries and will become even more robust and fruitful over the years, creating a resilient network of connections. As Ted Kennedy Jr. said during his family’s commemorative visit to Dhaka in 2022, it is “a bond as strong and as broad as a banyan tree.”

— Lamia Karim, University of Oregon


This exhibition was organized by the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C., with support from the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Project summary

Roots of Friendship: 50 Years of U.S.-Bangladesh Relations
Regions: South and Central Asia
Countries: Bangladesh, United States
Impact Areas: Cultural Diplomacy
Program Areas: Culture
Partners: Diplomatic Corps