Fazle Hasan Abed dies

Staff Correspondent | Published: 21:11, Dec 20,2019 | Updated: 00:45, Dec 21,2019


Sir Fazle Hasan Abed

BRAC founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed died at Apollo Hospitals in the capital on Friday evening. He was 83.

BRAC chairperson Hossain Zillur Rahman said Abed died at about 8:30pm while undergoing treatment at the hospital. He was battling a malignant tumour of the brain.

Fazle’s body will be kept at the Army Stadium from 10:30am to 12:30pm on Sunday to allow people from all walks of life to pay their last tributes and his namaz-e-janaza will also be held there at 12:30pm, according to a press release issued by BRAC.

He will be laid to rest at Banani graveyard in Dhaka on Sunday.

President Md Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina in separate messages expressed condolence over the death of Fazle Hasan Abed.

Born on April 27, 1936 at village Baniachang in Habiganj, Fazle Abed studied accountancy in London, qualifying as a cost management accountant in 1962.

He founded BRAC in 1972 at the age of 36 and the non-governmental organisation currently works in 11 countries in Asia and Africa, with affiliate offices in the USA, UK and the Netherlands.

BRAC is a unique ecosystem comprising development programmes, microfinance, social enterprises, a university, bank and a range of mission-aligned investments.

BRAC Global Board chair Ameerah Haq in a statement said, ‘Unfaltering dedication, focus and work ethic are what we have always experienced in Sir Fazle, or Abed Bhai, as the BRAC family calls him lovingly. He always put others before himself and let his work speak for itself. Even when BRAC attained its global stature, his concern and focus were on the less fortunate in society and those whose potential needed nurturing. He embodied the highest level of integrity, humility and humanity, which continues to be the essential guiding spirit of BRAC.’

In 1971, Fazle left his job as a senior corporate executive at Pakistan Shell Oil and moved to London where he helped initiate Action Bangladesh and HELP Bangladesh organisations in support of liberation war.

Sir Fazle was honoured with numerous national and international awards for his achievements in leading BRAC, including the Yidan Prize for Education Development (2019), LEGO Prize (2018), World Food Prize (2015), Spanish Order of Civil Merit (2014), Inaugural WISE Prize for Education (2011), David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2008), Inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Award (2007), UNDP Mahbubul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Development (2004), Olof Palme Prize (2001) and Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership (1980).

He was also recognised by international organisation Ashoka as one of the ‘global greats’; and is a founding member of its prestigious Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship.

He was a member of the Commission on Health Research for Development (1987-90), the Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation (1991-92) and the High-level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor (2005-2008).

In 2010, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George by the British Crown in recognition of his services to reducing poverty in Bangladesh and internationally.

Sir Fazle was a member of the Group of Eminent Persons appointed by the UN secretary-general in 2010 to advise on support for the Least Developed Countries.

In 2014 and 2017, he was named in Fortune Magazine’s list of the world’s 50 greatest leaders.

Fazle Abed was also honoured with a Dutch knighthood in 2019.

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