ICC Events and the Bangladeshi Diaspora in the US: A Call for Closer US-Bangladesh Relations

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been working for the past two decades to spread the cricket craze and market worldwide. They have increased the number of associate cricket-playing nations as well as the number of participants in major ICC tournaments to bring the sport to more countries. Malcolm Speed, former CEO of the ICC, openly discussed organizing a major ICC event in the United States two decades ago, which has come to reality this year. However, many critics believe that the motivation was business, not the spirit of the game, as the ICC aims to tap into the American market, which has a large South Asian diaspora population. According to statistics, South Asian Americans are one of the fastest-growing groups in the United States, with their population increasing from 2.2 million to 4.9 million between 2000 and 2015. South Asian Americans now run large businesses, hold vital positions in politics, and lead provincial governments. Consequently, their preferences, vacation habits, spending patterns, and cultural-religious beliefs have become crucial in American business and public policy domains.

Like other countries on the Indian subcontinent, the Bangladeshi diaspora also holds a strong position in the United States. We saw packed house crowds at every match of the Bangladeshi cricket team, with fans supporting their nation with lots of hope and encouragement in the United States. Many might wonder how many Bangladeshi immigrants live in the United States. If we focus solely on the Bangladeshi population, the number of immigrants has steadily increased. From 1981 to 2020, there were 333,235 Bangladeshi migrants in the United States. Additionally, the second-generation Bangladeshi diaspora population includes approximately 90,000 people who were born in the United States and have at least one parent born in Bangladesh. The data unequivocally demonstrates that a substantial number of Bangladeshis reside in the United States, where their average yearly income of roughly $60,000 remains higher than that of Americans. Not only in economic terms, but Bangladeshi immigrants, on average, also have better educational degrees, better job positions, and higher social status than Americans. They, therefore, represent a strong interest group in American politics. In recent decades, the Bangladeshi American community has become more active in local and national politics, with many Bangladeshi Americans running for office or forming political organizations to better represent those within and outside the community who share common goals. In 2022, four Bangladeshi-origin candidates from various states were elected in the American midterm elections.

Geert Hofstede, a distinguished sociologist, defined culture as the software of the human mind. Cultural values and childhood upbringing experiences are crucial determinants of an individual’s response to a specific event. When people are culturally connected, they feel cozy with each other’s feelings and beliefs. For the rest of the world, the United States has been a land of opportunity and a dreamland to live in. It is also known as the land of immigrants due to the fact that thousands of intellectuals have migrated to this country to alter their fate or serve humanity to a greater extent. Brilliant minds from Bangladesh come here every year to be educated and skilled; after a couple of years, a significant percentage of them decide to stay in the United States. This phenomenon is a massive brain drain for Bangladesh but, conversely, a brain gain for the United States. Bengali festivals like Basanta Utsab, Nabanna Utsab, Poush Mela, Pohela Boishakh, Baul Mela, Amor Ekushey, International Mother Language Day, Independence and National Day, Victory Day, and religious programs are celebrated annually by the Bangladeshi community with great enthusiasm and pride, in conjunction with other native Americans. Many Americans participate in these events and derive pleasure from Bangladesh’s cultural heritage. Many Americans gravitate to our cultural values, arts and crafts, food, and dressing style. Culturally, the Bangladeshi community has been closely tied with the Americans, fostering a harmonious environment in which both communities can live and collaborate toward advancement.

This ICC event could be an opportunity for policymakers from both Bangladesh and America to consider extending their relationship because, ultimately, it will be beneficial for all. Americans will have ultimate access to untapped resources (manpower and natural) from Bangladesh. In contrast, Bangladeshi people will get an opportunity to test their fortune and sharpen their skills at the best institutions in the United States. These diaspora networks will serve as conduits for knowledge and commercial exchanges, as well as for investment and opportunity creation in all of the nations involved. Through their remittances, foreign direct investments, entrepreneurial endeavors, trade facilitation, and knowledge/skill transfer, these networks will have a multitude of effects on global economies as well.

[Representational image: Credit: Aksh yadav / Unsplash]

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

NATO’s Uncertain Future: Navigating the Challenges in a Changing Global Landscape

As The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) observes its 75th anniversary in Washington, The General Secretary of NATO writes that the outcome of the...

Struggling for OECD membership, Indonesia Needs to Re-understand the Contestation in Global Tax Politics

In the summer of 2023, Indonesia initiated the intention to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Following a year, in the...

Is India Moving in the Direction to Have A Strategic Culture as Understood in the West?

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), known for his contribution to turning mass mobilization against British imperial rule into non-violent movements for Indian independence, also used...