Julian Francis, fondly called Julian Bhai by his friends in Bangladesh, was awarded Bangladeshi citizenship on Monday.
‘It is great honor,’ Julian told New Age over phone as he shared the news.
‘I have witnessed the birth of the country in 1971, followed the life of the country and its development. It is a remarkable incident in my life,’ Julian said.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina handed over the citizenship documents to Julian at Ganabhaban at 7:30pm, Julian said.
‘I am the seventh person to receive the honor in the history of Bangladesh,’ said an exalted Julian.
Julian often becomes the subject of Independence Day coverage of national newspapers for the role he played during the country’s liberation war in 1971.
In 2012, the role earned him state recognition from Bangladesh as ‘Friends of Bangladesh.’
Julian, a Briton, has been living permanently in Bangladesh since 1998.
A young Julian, just after graduating in animal husbandry, joined an Oxfam project in Bihar in India in 1968.
After Bangladesh’s liberation war broke out and refugees started streaming into the neighboring country, Julian became involved with the work of taking care of refugees.
He worked to get international support to protect hundreds of thousands of refugees against a potential break out of cholera at overcrowded refugee shelters and also supply them with warm clothing.
In a recent interview with New Age, Julian said, ‘Bangladesh’s birth struggle changed my life.’
‘It gave me the golden opportunity to encounter life face to face,’ Julian said.
Immediately after independence, Julian focused his work on developing the country’s communication system.
In years following independence, Julian worked on and off in Bangladesh before finally settling permanently in the country in 1998.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country