CSN reporter Jesse Robitaille has signed on as the Canadian commissioner for Bangabandhu 2021, the first virtual international exhibition, slated for this December.
Named after the Bangladeshi pater patriae – the “Father of the Nation,” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – Bangabandhu 2021 will be held from Dec. 10-30. The exhibition was originally scheduled as an in-person event with approval from the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP); however, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition will be held virtually with a separate physical exhibition being planned for next year. Hosted by the Bangladesh Philatelic Federation (BPF), the exhibition marks the birth centenary of “Sheikh Mujib” (as his name often shortened) plus the golden jubilee – 50th anniversary – of Bangladeshi independence.
“As a commissioner, I’ll be in the middle of the action, gathering first-hand insight into not just the world of international exhibiting but also the development of a new form of virtual exhibiting,” Robitaille wrote in his “Philatelic Commentary” column (CSN Vol. 46 #10) this August.
His commissioner role includes publicizing the event, encouraging Canadian exhibitors to participate and co-ordinating their entries, including payments, with the show’s organizing committee.
The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) international liaison committee, chaired by David McLaughlin, voted in favour of Canada’s participation earlier this summer. Each invited FIP member is asked to assign a national commissioner, a role that doesn’t preclude one from exhibiting or serving as a judge.
Grégoire Teyssier, of Québec, is tentatively nominated as a Canadian judge. Teyssier is an RPSC-accredited national-level judge.
The show comes about half a century into friendly relations between Bangladesh and Canada, whose government was among the first to recognize Bangladeshi independence after the country’s “Victory Day” on Dec. 16, 1971. That day, the Mukti Bahini – the Bangladeshi guerrilla resistance movement – defeated the occupying Pakistani forces.
Mujib has declared the South Asia country’s independence from Pakistan on March 26, 1971, at the onset of the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was ratified the following month, and Mujib served as the country’s head of state from 1971 until his assassination four years later.
In 1972, Canada supported Bangladesh’s membership in the Commonwealth before co-sponsoring a resolution to support Bangladesh’s admission to the United Nations two years later.
Mujib also visited Ottawa to attend a Commonwealth meeting in 1973, and then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau reciprocated by visiting Bangladesh with one of his sons – current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – a decade later.
Today, Canada’s Bangladeshi diaspora numbers about 120,000 people and “continues to make significant contributions to Canadian prosperity and to the multi-cultural fabric of Canada,” according to the Government of Canada website.
BPF officials have developed a virtual exhibition platform, through which applications and judging will be completed, and there’s an unlimited frame capacity.
Interested exhibitors can apply online or through Robitalle with any entries awarded at least 70 points – a silver medal – at a national-level exhibition. Exhibits that competed at exhibitions with FIP, Federacion Interamericana de Filatelia (FIAF), Federation of European Philatelic Associations (FEPA) or Federation of Inter-Asian Philately (FIAP) patronage are also accepted.
For the experimental classes, all exhibitors are encouraged to apply.
Entries in the non-competitive classes are only by special invitation at the organizers’ discretion.
In addition to two non-competitive classes, the exhibition will feature 14 competitive classes, including:
- the Bangabandhu Championship Class, which is only open to FIP-class exhibits awarded at least two gold medals (or higher) at an exhibition with patronage or held under the auspices of the FIP, FIAP, FEPA or FIAF;
- traditional philately, with both a Bangladesh “national class” and another grouping for the rest of the world, including Canada;
- postal history, also with a Bangladesh “national class” and another grouping for the rest of the world;
- postal stationery;
- thematic philately, with three sub-classes, including nature, culture and technology;
- open philately;
- modern philately, which includes 1980 through the present day;
- picture postcards, an experimental class;
- first-day covers, another experimental class;
- youth philately, with three sub-classes, including ages 10-15, 16-18 and 19-21 (as of Jan. 1, 2021);
- single frames, whose entries will be judged by points and awarded certificates (for fewer than 60 points) or souvenir medals (for more than 60 points); and
- philatelic literature, with three sub-classes, including philatelic books and research papers (published on or after Jan. 1, 2016), philatelic magazines and periodicals (the whole annual volume issued after Jan. 1, 2016) and catalogues (published after Jan. 1, 2016).
While there is no fee for non-competitive entries, the competitive classes (except classes 12-14) are $25 US (about $31 Cdn.) a frame.
The fees for youth philately (class 12), single frames (class 13) and philatelic literature (class 14) are $10 US (about $12.50 Cdn.) a frame; $40 US total (about $50 Cdn.); and $25 US (about $31.50 Cdn.) an exhibit, respectively.
While Robitaille is responsible for collecting these fees, exhibitors can also remit them to the organizing committee directly by Oct. 30.
HOW TO COMPETE
Application forms must be submitted with a copy of the exhibit’s introduction in English by Oct. 1.
As exhibitors submit application forms (one for each of their exhibits) via the exhibition website, show officials will notify Robitaille about the Canadian entries. He will then take a preliminary look at each of these applications to either accept or reject them in consultation with Canada’s national officials, but the Bangabandhu organizing committee maintains the authority to accept or reject any applications.
As Robitaille processes the approved applications through the online platform, exhibitors will be notified about their acceptance or rejection by Oct. 10. Each approved exhibit will be listed in the exhibition catalogue under its given title as stated in the application form. They will also be publicly displayed on the Bangabandhu website throughout the show dates.
Exhibitors must also provide their FIP identity number, which can be obtained from RPSC Secretary Jane Sodero, of Halifax, N.S.
Final exhibits must be uploaded – by either the exhibitor or Robitaille via the Bangabandhu website – by Nov. 15. Robitaille will confirm to exhibitors their submission is uploaded by Nov. 20, and he can request any changes on behalf of exhibitors before Nov. 30.
Note: Bangabandhu 2021 is not to be confused with ‘Jubileepex 2021,’ another virtual exhibition hosted this year by the Philatelic Society of Bangladesh, a BPF non-member. The BPF did not recognize Jubileepex as an international exhibition, and that show – described as a ‘rogue show’ by Canadian officials – also lacks an affiliation with an international federation such as the FIP, FIAP or FIAF. Exhibits awarded a medal at these ‘rogue shows’ do not qualify for international shows, including the upcoming CAPEX 22.