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Digital Khichuri Challenge, 2019: A celebration of diversity

The grand finale of the highly anticipated “Digital Khichuri Challenge,2019”; took place on 11th December 2019; in the wonderful ambiance of ICT tower Auditorium, Agargaon.

The theme of this year’s challenge was, “Creating digital literacy among the migrant workers.” 9 finalists were selected for pitching their ideas in the grand finale round.

About Digital Khichuri Challenge

Upon hearing the word khichuri, a wholesome mixture comes to mind. And the idea and naming of the khichuri challenge also promotes a similar mixture. It was initiated to promote diversity and to prevent violent extremism.

The integration of diversity and pluralism was the core purpose. And hence the name ‘Digital khichuri Challenge’. The challenge has a successful past record of events. And it is now supported by Facebook,  Startup Bangladesh and ICT division.

About this year’s Challenge

This year, the theme of the Dhaka challenge was ‘Digital literacy for the migrants.’ The migrants are one of the driving forces of our economy. However, for a lack of digital literacy, they usually don’t have a refined online presence.

From a huge number of applications, 9 teams made it to the Grand Finale. They underwent a grooming and boot camping session for 3 days.

How the event unfolded

Sonia Mehzabin, Operation Manager, UNDP, initiated the event. She recounted how it all started and thanked the organizers and sponsors for making it possible. Then the audience enjoyed a short video rundown of the previous events; including the success stories of teams and the event.

Digital Khichuri Challenge, 2019: A celebration of diversity

But the showstopper was the storytelling session of a migrant worker; ‘Rehana.’

“Nobody thinks about us. I am really happy people are thinking about us now. The troubles we face, the difficulties cannot be expressed in words.”   

The pitches of the 9 teams came after this storytelling session. The organizer had kept entertainment as a priority. So an amazing beatboxing performance by Beatboxbd followed.

The ending session

Our honorable ICT minister Zunayed Ahmed Palak was the chief guest of the ending ceremony. In his speech, he remarked:

“Our payment comes from these migrant workers. So, it is our responsibility to make things easier for them. Also, our government is patronizing technology and startups. And the winning ideas will get all kinds of support.”

Digital Khichuri Challenge, 2019: A celebration of diversity

 Nazrul Islam, DGFEA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with Dr. Nurul Islam had also graced the event with their speeches and inspiring words.     

The Winners of Khichuri Challenge 2019

Digital Khichuri Challenge, 2019: A celebration of diversity

Winners were selected from 2 categories- Student and Startup.

Champion from student section was Team Edsite, Runner up was Team Choukosh.

Champion from startup section was Team We Works, Runner Up was Team Probash Kotha.

Champions from each category had received 5000 US Dollars, and Runners up received 2500 US Dollars seeding money.

They also have the opportunity of getting free office space and mentoring opportunities from ICT division.

5 times mainstream comics got diversity right

The opportune release of the very highly rated Black Panther has us all talking, isn’t inclusion and diversity in comic book/superhero movies rather overdue? With the topic in mind, over the past few years, diversity has become not a gimmick, but rather a necessity as more and more entertainment mediums are trying to embrace diversity more proactively. In myriad forms, executives at these major comic book publishers have pushed this agenda through a) turning an existing comic book character into a minority group (i.e, turning Iceman from X-men gay), or b) creating and bringing new, diverse characters into the existing comic book continuity (i.e, having a new female character take the mantle of Thor).

Most of these decisions were met with a lukewarm response. However, occasionally, DC, Marvel, or Image would hit a goldmine. Exploring a minority protagonist or cast allowed publishers to add a robust dimension to their storytelling, as well as benefits for character building. While there are numerous diversity characters in the world of comics, here are five times mainstream comics got diversity right.

Midnighter

“I’d know him anywhere. He moves like jazz” comments the badass, homosexual, ultra-violent vigilante, about Nightwing on Tim Seeley/Tom King’s run on Grayson for DC New 52. Midnighter was co-created by the highly acclaimed comic book writer Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Planetary), for DC’s imprint ‘Wildstorm comics’.

Although Midnighter is not the first LGBTQ superhero in comic books, he’s one of the first to be openly gay, and married to another gay character, Apollo.  Being more in the veins of The Punisher, Midnighter sadly had been relegated to the sidelines of DCU for much of his existence, but recently got his own series ‘Midnighter and Apollo’ as a part of DC Rebirth.

Batwoman

Another LGBT addition to our list, Batwoman got revamped for DC’s New 52 as a lesbian character. Mainstream comic book fans may be familiar with her recent appearance on a Batman animated film, Batman: Bad Blood.

Recently, during DC’s new 52 relaunch, DC Comics refreshed the character for modern audiences, with writer Marguerite Bennett (a queer themselves) writing the series, bringing a newfound LGBTQ sensitivity into the storytelling.

Lord Fanny

One of my personal all time favourite comic book characters. When Grant Morrison is writing, you know you’re in for a psychedelic joyride. A core cast member from the 1990’s comic, the Invisibles (basically the X-files meets the Matrix with a dash of 1984 on the highest quality DMT).

What can be trippier than badass Brazilian transvestite Shaman, drawing powers from a myriad elements of Mayan cosmology. Her gender identity and her traumatic past makes her a compelling character, and a formidable force within the Invisibles Universe.

Blade

Breaking into the mainstream in 1998 as a trilogy of superhero horror films directed masterfully by Guillermo Del Toro, Blade would pioneer what would later become the modern superhero movie boom at Hollywood. Although making his first appearance in comics in the 1970s, Blade was an iconic black character, a stand out among others such as Black Panther and Luke Cage.

What made Blade so compelling was how he handled, trapped between both worlds, being a vampire and retaining his humanity. A predicament not very different from what minority groups suffer. The acute identity crisis, the feeling of being neither here, or there.

Storm

One of the most iconic colored characters in memory, Ororo Munroe took the comic book world by storm, appearing as a member of the X-Men in 1975.

Hailing from a tormented past as a thief from the ghetto, to becoming the queen of a nation, Storm carved a niche for herself in the world of comics as one badass femme fatale. Being an Omega level mutant with command over weather, Storm has inspired numerous memorable comic book heroes and heroines over the years.

Honorable mentions: Spawn, Luke Cage, Miles Morales (Spider Man), the Mandarin (a formidable foe for Iron man, and considerably more interesting a character than his arch nemesis), Spawn.

Are there any diversity comic book characters that you feel deserves a mention? Please let us know!

The legend of Givenchy

The House of Givenchy was founded by Hubert de Givenchy in 1952, who passed away on 12th March, 2018. With achievements of working with the the greatest women of the 20th century, we celebrate the Givenchy culture and it’s impact in creating diversity within the fashion culture of past, present and future.

Into the limelight

Givenchy started out with his “wonderful first collection” in the Battle of Versailles alongside YSL, Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior versus the upstart American designers Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows and Anne Klein. Givenchy understood that fashion needed innovation, hence he introduced music and a diverse range of models to showcase his products. He was the first in 1970 to feature a cabinet of nonwhite models for his designs to be shown to the world, and that is quite a feat to behold.

Creating diversity wasn’t his only feat as he used “shirting”, a raw cotton similar to pattern paper, to create his unique and eye-catching collection. He was the first fashion designer to feature a luxury ready-to-wear clothing line, manufactured using machinery imported from the United States.

Diversification with a hint of diversity

During the seventies, Givenchy diversified from clothing to create accessories such as shoes, ties, tablewares and jewellery. During this era, he was chosen to design the distinct, iconic interiors of Hilton hotels. He also designed the Lincoln Continental Mark V. Givenchy opened a showroom on the Fifth Avenue of New York, and in 1979 was named the most elegant man of the year by The Best Magazine; mainly because of his fashion brand being among the only ones to feature nonwhite models.

Time and time, Hubert de Givenchy wasn’t afraid to go to great heights to achieve something brand new and fresh that defined the fashion industry for the future.

In this era, he reached the peak of his popularity when Audrey Hepburn wore his famous “little black dress” in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”; breaking through to finding the fashion brand’s own space within the closet of every notable celebrity in recent times, notably women who have had an impact in defining the field of equality, especially in fashion.

The Language of Givenchy

Givenchy is a brand that thrives to innovate. When a great designer adopts diversity, the house of Givenchy is the result. Time and time, Hubert de Givenchy wasn’t afraid to go to great heights to achieve something brand new and fresh that defined the fashion industry for the future. He realized the importance of diversity when he saw models like Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardinson, Ramona Saunders.

Designer Jeffrey Banks reminisces the times of Versailles; “At one point in the 1970s, his entire cabinet was almost exclusively African-American girls—and no one was doing that then!” Hubert de Givenchy is an integral part of what defined the modern chic of French fashion, a distinct signature that later on inspired most of Europe’s expression of fashion. More than his dresses, Givenchy was more interested to promote the women behind his brand rather than his dresses. He was known for his funny stories of encounters with friends of his like Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy.

Designer Jeffrey Banks reminisces the times of Versailles; “At one point in the 1970s, his entire cabinet was almost exclusively African-American girls—and no one was doing that then!”

Portrait of fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy sporting an Antigua suntan where he discussed work on his male commitments (shirts, ties, luggage and cosmetics) during an interview with Women’s Wear Daily on March 17, 1970 in New York.

As the French news magazine L’Express describes him, “to fashion what Françoise Sagan was to literature and Bernard Buffet to painting: successful, glamorous, gorgeous, and very, very French”. His contributions to fashion is unforgettable and impactful; breaking the bridge to modern fashion from a golden era of luxury Parisienne couture.