Mamata Banerjee first Indian woman leader to be invited in prestigious Oxford Union

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Mamata Banerjee first Indian woman leader to be invited in prestigious Oxford Union - We The World Magazine

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been invited to the world’s most prestigious student’s union, The Oxford Union Society, scheduled in 2021.

Didi, as Mamata Banerjee is fondly known in West Bengal, has received an invitation from the Oxford Union to speak at the prestigious organization in the United Kingdom.

Didi joins the likes of global leaders who have graced the student’s society since its inception in the 1800s, including the US Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton; UK Prime Ministers including Theresa May, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, all of whom has participated in the Oxford Union debates.

Mamata Banerjee, who started her political career as a student leader in Kolkata gets her second similar invite to the UK, the first time being at Cambridge University when she invited to deliver a lecture. She was the Railway Minister under UPA 1 at that time, although the invitation was declined, according to reports.

Sources close to Ms. Banerjee say this time the West Bengal CM is keen to attend the prestigious debate, where once legends like the Dalai Lama and Albert Einstien have taken part.

“Yes, she has indeed received the invitation. She is happy about it. In all likeliness, she will attend the debate. The invite has come on Wednesday from L Vadlamani, the president of the society. It is an honor for the whole state,” a source close to the Chief Minister told Times Now News.

Owing to the pandemic, this year the debate might take place virtually. According to news reports, the organizers of the debate have sought dates from Mamata Banerjee between January 9 and March 15, 2021. The Oxford Union was founded in 1823 and has since then tremendously influenced the global discourse.

Speaking about the topic Ms. Banerjee will be speaking, the society which is independent and not a part of the Oxford University did not outline any particular niche and emphasises in a letter sent to the CM, that she is free to choose what she wants to speak about.

Mamata Banerjee’s government which has been the ruling party in West Bengal since 2011, has attracted global attention prior to this. Her ‘Kanyashree Prakalp’ which aims to foster adolescent girls from disadvantaged societies of Bengal with small cash transfers, was inferred with the highest public service award from the UN- the United Nations Public Service Award at The Hague. 

Her government’s ‘Sabooj Sathi’ scheme has to date distributed 1 crore plus bicycles to young boys and girls from disadvantaged societies in the state so that they can attend schools from far off places.

Ms. Banerjee, known for her unapologetic statements, is a strong critique of BJP’s nationalism and certain decisions like the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Bill). West Bengal is due to take to polls in 2021.

(Cover image courtesy of @MamataOfficial via Twitter)