Diplomacy has been one of the areas Bangladeshis have been lagging behind since years. The examples of the Farakkah or the BSF killings or the repatriation of the Rohingyas all toll the bells. Our Bangladeshi blood seems to have been diluted through the years and as a result our diplomatic meets are trees bearing no fruits. The over flow of rivers drown settlements, devastate crops year after year with no particular measure in place as a remedy. Border killings go on unabated with the slightest over stepping of even small girls like “Felani Khatun”. Neighboring Myanmar force feeds Bangladesh their share of population on grounds of ethnicity. Although there is need for lessons learnt from failed diplomacy are ears are sealed.
Former Governor of the Cayman Islands
British High Commissioner, Bangladesh
In such a circumstance having a Bangladeshi descent, even though a British citizen, as a diplomat, is quite memerising. We are talking about none other than Anwar Bakht Choudhury, the British diplomat born on 15 June 1959 to a Bengali Muslim family in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). His family is originally from the village of Prabhakarpur, Patli Union, Jagannathpur, Sunamganj and moved to the United Kingdom when he was young.
He is a British diplomat of Bangladeshi origin, who is currently Director for Consular Strategy. He was Governor of the Cayman Islands until he was recalled in June 2018 after less than three months in post. Prior to that, he was British Ambassador to Peru, Director of International Institutions at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and High Commissioner to Bangladesh.
Mr Anwar Choudhury succeeded Mrs Helen Kilpatrick CB as Governor of the Cayman Islands on 26th March 2018.
Mr Choudhury joined the FCO in 2003 having served in the private sector, the Royal Air Force, the Ministry of Defence and the Cabinet Office as Director. He was appointed British High Commissioner to Bangladesh in 2004 where he served for four years, returning to the FCO in 2008 as Director International Institutions responsible for multilateral policy.
Thereafter, he worked on initiatives to improve the FCO, where he was presented the Institute of Government award for ‘Inspiration in Government’ for his work on Diplomatic Excellence.
His most recent posting was British Ambassador to Peru where he was responsible for the direction and work of the Embassy and its Consulates, including political work, trade and investment, press and cultural relations, and visa and consular services.
Choudhury followed an unusual route into the Diplomatic Service; in 1985, he attained a BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Salford. He worked at Siemens Plessey, before entering the Civil Service as an engineering strategist with the Royal Air Force. In 1995, he graduated with a Master of Business Administration from Durham University.
Choudhury was promoted through the Ministry of Defence until 2000, when he was recruited by the Cabinet Office, before being headhunted for the position of High Commissioner to Bangladesh. He was succeeded in 2008 by Stephen Evans. When he was appointed as High Commissioner to Bangladesh in 2004, he became one of the first two British ambassadors from ethnic minority backgrounds to be appointed in modern times (the other being Alp Mehmet, who was appointed Ambassador to Iceland). He was sworn in as Governor of the Cayman Islands on 26 March 2018.
On 21 May 2004, Choudhury was targeted in a failed grenade attack, in which he was wounded and two bystanders were killed. The attempted assassination came as he was leaving the Dargah-e-Shah Jalal mosque in Sylhet Division, his home province, following Jumu’ah (Friday prayers). In December 2008, three attackers were sentenced to death and two others to life in prison for the attack.
To top it all Choudhury is a Muslim. A rare combination, in international diplomacy. His main interests include folk music of Bengal (baul). He is also passionate about community integration and protection of the UK abroad. He is married to Momina Choudhury and has three daughters. He also has a son from his first marriage. He has three brothers. His hobbies include playing cricket and bridge. He is a Bangladeshi cuisine foodie.