Bishwo Shahitto Kendro

Bishwo Shahitto Kendro (BSK) or World Literature Center (WLC) popularly known as Kendro. The organisation was formally inaugurated on 6 March 1980, Located at 14 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Dhaka. It is a registered public welfare trust, with a nine-member trustee board headed by Abdullah Abu Sayeed. The other trustees are Mohammad Fariduddin, AKM Rafiquddin, Lutfar Rahman Sarkar, Mahbub Jamil, Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Khondaker M Asaduzzaman, Mr. M Shah Alam Sarwar, and Mohammed Mijarul Quayes. The principal objective of the Bishwo Shahitto Kendro is to create throughout the country a congenial environment for fostering enlightened individuals, organising them into a national force and to catalyze enlightenment in the collective persona of the citizens of Bangladesh.

Bishwo Shahitto Kendro has a nine-storied cultural complex with an art gallery, a theatre stage, a children's centre, three auditoriums, a centre of world literature, an archive of world-famous films, an archive of world music along with office spaces of the Kendro, with a guesthouse and a cafeteria. The central library of the kendro containing more than 200,000 books on different disciplines is open to all. More than 10,000 male and female readers annually make use of its reading hall. The total members of this library is 5812 at present (2011).

Important programs being implemented by the Kendro such as:

Nationwide Enrichment Program (NEP) This Program has been undertaken mainly to fill up the gaps of formal educational program in terms of introducing the students with a wider range of study beyond the syllabus. At present the program is being implemented in 4000 schools and colleges in 64 districts. The program consists of two components which are book-reading and other pedagogic activities.

Mobile Library Program (MLP) Under the MLP, books reach the doorsteps of all sorts of readers as the libraries-on-wheels travel in both in rural and urban areas. The specific objectives of the program are Expand book-lending facilities in different locations of the country. Upgrade the reading habits of the people. The library vans stay in each area for some time to perform weekly lending services to the readers. Though this program started in 1998 with 8 mobile libraries, at present a total of 41 mobile library units are covering 180 Upazilas of the 55 districts of Bangladesh. The number of readers of this program is now 100,000.

Mobile Library, Bishwo Shahitto Kendro

Study Circle Program (SCP) The study circles are formed based on various aspects of different disciplines by likeminded members. These disciplines include aesthetic literature, philosophy, painting, music, film, architecture, economics, history, politics etc. It is designed mainly to develop leadership skills in different friend of knowledge. It involves the university-level students as well as dedicated self-educators. The members of this groups read and discuss on selected books or topics and take action on a problem or issues if necessary.

Cultural Enrichment Program (CEP) This program is designed to provide the opportunity of enjoying the world's greatest musical compositions and films for the Kendro members to enrich their aesthetic sensibilities. The program has two departments: the Music Department and the Film and Audio-Video Department.

Publication Program (PP) One of the major activities of this program is to publish the greatest books in of different languages in Bangla translation including best books of Bangla language. The program publishes three categories of books which are World Classic Series, Bangla Classic Series, and Juvenile Literature Series. Under this program 350 titles of books already published.

Thoughtful Writings of Bangla Language: Collection and Publication Program This program intends to provide ready access to academics, researchers and general readers on source material for creative thinking in the Bangla language. Under the program, the Kendro is collating the creative works of all Bengali thinkers of the last two hundred years and publishing them in 205 volumes. The works are classified such as education, politics, philosophy, history, literature, art and aesthetics, music, film, theatre, dance, religion, economics, sociology, natural science, agriculture etc. The total publication is expected to consist of 65,000 pages.

As recognition of the Kendro's contribution for its outstanding achievement and innovations in the field of education, it was awarded UNESCO's most prestigious education award, the Jan Amos Comenius Medal for the year 2008. [Mohammed Mijarul Quayes]