88th birth anniversary of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed


Today is the 88th birth anniversary of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the founder of BRAC.

After returning from London in 1972, he established BRAC as a small relief and rehabilitation effort in a remote area of Sylhet.

The organization transformed itself to one of the largest and most effective NGOs in the world by conducting successful socio-economic programmes in many sectors.

Born in 1936, Sir Fazle studied accountancy in London, qualifying as a cost management accountant in 1962.

While he was working as a senior corporate executive at Pakistan Shell Oil, the 1970 cyclone and 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh dramatically changed the direction of his life.

He left his job and moved to London, where he helped initiate Action Bangladesh and HELP Bangladesh in support of the Liberation War.

In 1972, after the war was over, he returned to the newly-independent Bangladesh, finding the economy in ruins.

The return of 10 million refugees, who were sheltered in India during the war, called for urgent relief and rehabilitation.

Sir Fazle then founded BRAC to address the needs of the refugees, guided by a desire to help people living in poverty develop their own capacity to better manage their lives.

For his outstanding contributions to empowering people living in poverty and inequality, he had been honored with numerous national and international awards.

These include the Yidan Prize for Education Development in 2019, LEGO Prize in 2018, World Food Prize in 2015, Spanish Order of Civil Merit in 2014, Inaugural WISE Prize for Education in 2011, David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award in 2008, Inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Award in 2007, UNDP Mahbubul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Development in 2004, Olof Palme Prize in 2001, and Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1980.

In 2010, Sir Fazle was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George by the British Crown in recognition of his services in Bangladesh and abroad.

In addition, he was honoured with a Dutch Knighthood in 2019.

Sir Fazle was a member of the Group of Eminent Persons, appointed by the UN Secretary-General in 2010.

In 2014 and 2017, he was named one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.

The many honorary degrees received by him include those from Princeton University (2014), the University of Oxford (2009), Columbia University (2008) and Yale University (2007).

He passed away from a malignant brain tumour in 2019 at the age of 83.