Fazle Hasan Abed
ফজলে হাসান আবেদ
|Died||20 December 2019 (aged 83)|
|Alma mater||Dhaka College |
University of Glasgow
|Known for||Founder of BRAC|
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed(27 April 1936 – 20 December 2019) was the founder of BRAC, one of the world's largest non-governmental organizations.
Sir Fazle was honored with numerous national and international awards for his contributions in social development, including the LEGO Prize (2018), Laudato Si' Award (2017), Thomas Francis, Jr Medal in Global Public Health (2016), World Food Prize (2015), Spanish Order of Civil Merit (2014), Leo Tolstoy International Gold Medal (2014), WISE Prize for Education (2011) among others.
In both 2014 and 2017, he was named in Fortune's List of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders. He was also recognized by Ashoka as one of the 'global greats' and was a founding member of its Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the 2010 New Year Honours for services in tackling poverty and empowering the poor in Bangladesh and globally.
The many honorary degrees he received include those from Princeton University (2014), the University of Oxford (2009), Columbia University (2008) and Yale University (2007).
In an interview for the Creating Emerging Markets project at the Harvard Business School, Abed revealed his strong belief that businesses can positively impact society, that "you can do good also by doing business."
In August 2019, Abed retired as the chairperson of BRAC Bangladesh and BRAC International, and became chair emeritus.
Abed was born on 27 April 1936 in the village of Baniachong, located in what is present-day Habiganj District, Sylhet, Bangladesh. He belonged to a Zamindar family and was one of eight children of Siddiq Hasan and Syeda Sufia Khatun. Abed's maternal grandfather, Syed Moazzem Uddin Hossain, had served successively as ministers for agriculture and education for Bengal during the last years of British rule. His paternal great-uncle was Sir Syed Shamsul Huda, a member of the Imperial Legislative Council.
After passing intermediate from Dhaka College in 1954, Abed left home at the age of 18 to attend University of Glasgow, where, in an effort to break away from tradition and do something radically different, he studied naval architecture. He realized there was little work in ship building in East Pakistan and a career in Naval Architecture would make returning home difficult. With that in mind, Abed joined the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in London, completing his professional education in 1962.
Abed returned to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to join Shell Oil Company and quickly rose to head its finance division. His time at Shell exposed Abed to the inner workings of a large conglomerate and provided him with insight into corporate management, which would become invaluable to him later in life.
It was during his time at Shell that the devastating cyclone of 1970 hit the south and south-eastern coastal regions of the country, killing 300,000 people. The cyclone had a profound effect on Abed. In the face of such devastation, he said the comforts and perks of a corporate executive's life ceased to have any attraction for him. Together with friends, Abed created HELP, an organisation that provided relief and rehabilitation to the worst affected in the island of Manpura, which had lost three-quarters of its population in the disaster.
Soon after, Bangladesh's own struggle for independence from Pakistan began and circumstances forced Abed to leave the country. He found refuge in the United Kingdom, where he set up Action Bangladesh to lobby the governments of Europe for his country's independence.
Main article: BRAC (organization)
When the Bangladesh Liberation War ended in December 1971, Abed sold his flat in London and returned to the newly independent Bangladesh. Hundreds of refugees who had sought shelter in India during the war had started to return home, and their relief and rehabilitation called for urgent efforts. Abed decided to use the funds he had generated from selling his flat to initiate an organisation to deal with the long-term task of improving the living conditions of the rural poor. He selected the remote region of Sulla in northeastern Bangladesh to start his work, and this work led to the non-governmental organisation known as BRAC in 1972.
BRAC grew to become one of the largest development organisations in the world in terms of the scale and diversity of its interventions. The organization now operates in all 64 districts of Bangladesh through development interventions that range from education, healthcare, microfinance, skills, human rights, agriculture and enterprise development. In 2002, BRAC went international by taking its range of development interventions to Afghanistan. Since then, BRAC has expanded to a total of 10 countries across Asia and Africa, successfully adapting its unique integrated development model across varying geographic and socioeconomic contexts. It is now considered to be the largest non-profit in the world – both by employees and people served.
Abed held the following positions:
He was admitted to the hospital in late November, 2019 on account of breathing problems and physical weakness. He died at the Apollo Hospital (now Evercare Hospital Dhaka) in the capital on Friday, December 20, 2019 at 08:28 pm. He was undergoing treatment for a malignant brain tumor. At the time of his death, he was 83 years old. He is survived by a wife, a daughter, a son and three grandchildren.