BRAC and BRAC International
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed KCMG
Founder and Chairperson, BRAC
Sir Fazle was born in 1936 in Bangladesh. He studied Accountancy in London, qualifying as a Cost Management Accountant in 1962. While he was working as a senior corporate executive at 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.
Early 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 had sought shelter in India during the war, called for urgent relief and rehabilitation efforts. Sir Fazle established BRAC to address the needs of refugees in a remote area of north-eastern Bangladesh, guided by a desire to help the poor develop their own capacity to better manage their lives.
Today BRAC is one of the largest NGOs in the world, operating across eleven countries in Africa and Asia. Its primary objectives are to alleviate poverty and empower the poor. BRAC was ranked first by Geneva-based 'NGO Advisor' in 2017 in terms of impact, innovation and sustainability.
Sir Fazle has been honoured with numerous national and international awards for his achievements in leading BRAC, including the Jose Edgardo Campos Collaborative Leadership Award, South Asia Region (2016), Thomas Francis, Jr. Medal in Global Public Health (2016), World Food Prize (2015), Trust Women Hero Award (2014), Spanish Order of Civil Merit (2014), Leo Tolstoy International Gold Medal (2014), CEU Open Society Prize (2013), Inaugural WISE Prize for Education (2011), Entrepreneur for the World Award (2009), David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2008), Inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Award (2007), Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership (2007), Palli Karma Shahayak Foundation (PKSF) Award for lifetime achievement in social development and poverty alleviation (2007), UNDP Mahbubul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Development (2004), Gates Award for Global Health (2004), Gleitsman Foundation International Activist Award (2003), Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneurship Award (2003), Olof Palme Prize (2001), InterAction Humanitarian Award (1998) and Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership (1980).
He is also recognised by Ashoka as one of the 'global greats' and is a founding member of its prestigious Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship. In 2009, 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 both 2014 and 2017, he was named in Fortune Magazine’s List of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.
Dr Mushtaque Chowdhury
Vice-Chairperson, BRAC and
Advisor to the Chairperson
Dr Mushtaque Chowdhury is an advisor to the chairperson and founder of BRAC. He is also a professor of population and family health at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University, New York. During 2009-2012, he served as a senior advisor to the Rockefeller Foundation, based in Bangkok, Thailand. He also worked as a MacArthur/Bell Fellow at Harvard University.
Dr Chowdhury is one of the founding members of the Bangladesh Education Watch and Bangladesh Health Watch, two civil society watchdogs on education and health respectively. He is on the board and committees of several organisations and initiatives, including the Advisory Board of the South Asia Centre at London School of Economics, Lead Group for Scaling Up Nutrition Movement at United Nations and is the current chair of the Asia-Pacific Action Alliance on Human Resources for Health (AAAH). Dr Chowdhury was a coordinator of the UN Millennium Task Force on Child Health and Maternal Health, set up by the former Secretary General Kofi Annan.
He is a recipient of the ‘Innovator of the Year 2006’ award from the Marriott Business School of Brigham Young University in USA, the PESON oration medal from the Perinatal Society of Nepal in 2008 and Outstanding Leadership Award from Dhaka University Statistics Department Alumni Association. He has a wide interest in development, particularly in the areas of education, public health, poverty eradication and environment. Dr Chowdhury has published several books and over 150 articles in peer-reviewed international journals.
Dr Chowdhury holds a PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, an MSc from the London School of Economics and a BA from the University of Dhaka.
Taharunnesa Abdullah is an advisor to Democracywatch and also serves as the chairperson of Gono Bishwabidyalay and ASA. She started her career at the Comilla Academy for Rural Development and headed the women’s education and home development programme. She oversaw the development of the National Plan of Action for Children 1997-2002, and has served as chair of Bangladesh Shishu Academy and Bangladesh Jatiya Mohila Sangstha.
Latifur Rahman is the chairman and CEO of Transcom Group. Currently he is the chairman of Nestlé Bangladesh, Holcim Cement (Bangladesh) and National Housing Finance and Investments. Mr Rahman holds the position of vice president of the International Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh. He has also been elected as a member of the executive board of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Formerly the president of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, he is an erstwhile President of Bangladesh Employers’ Federation. Mr Rahman was chairman of the Trade Body Reforms Committee and a member of Bangladesh Better Business Forum. He was a member of the executive board of Bangladesh Bank (Central Bank). Mr Rahman is an Honouree of the Oslo Business for Peace Award in 2012, and was named Business Executive of the Year in 2001 by the American Chamber in Bangladesh.
Rokia Afzal Rahman
Rokia Afzal Rahman currently chairs Arlinks Group of Companies and RR Group of Companies. She is the chair of Mediaworld Ltd, and vice president of the International Chamber of Commerce and industry, Bangladesh. As chair of MIDAS Financing Ltd, Ms Rahman has initiated loan facilities to several thousand women. Ms Rahman is a director of Mediastar and ABC Radio. She was a director of Reliance Insurance and is a former president of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industries. Ms Rahman was previously a board member of Asian University for Women.
Luva Nahid Choudhury
Luva Nahid Choudhury is an architect who was a part of the Bangladesh Government service for 10 years and currently heads an architectural practice in Dhaka. She is the director general of Bengal Foundation, a trust that supports and promotes the arts in Bangladesh. She also heads ICE Media and Bengal Publications, both leading publishing houses.
Dr Martha Alter Chen
Dr Martha Alter Chen is a lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, an affiliated professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and international coordinator of Women in Informal Employment: Globalising and Organising (WIEGO), a global research-policy-action network that seeks to improve the status of the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy. An experienced development practitioner and scholar, her areas of specialisation are employment, poverty and gender. Dr Chen has spent two decades in Bangladesh and India working for BRAC and Oxfam America.
Adeeb H Khan
Adeeb H Khan is a chartered accountant and the senior partner of Rahman Rahman Huq (member firm of KPMG International).
He is a council member (elected position) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh and currently its vice president. He is also a committee member (elected position) of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI), the oldest and one of the most prestigious trade chambers of Bangladesh.
Adeeb’s past directorships include Biman Bangladesh Airlines, the national flag carrier of Bangladesh.
Advocate Syeda Rizwana Hasan
Adv Syeda Rizwana Hasan is an enrolled lawyer with the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. She works on environmental issues as the chief executive of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers’ Association (BELA), a reputed national NGO. Her main focus is on promoting the notion of environmental justice in Bangladesh.
Ms Hasan did her master’s and graduation in law from the University of Dhaka with distinction. She started her career with BELA in 1993 and is still with the organisation today.
As the chief executive of BELA, Ms Hasan is responsible for the overall coordination of Bela’s activities, which include research, awareness raising, public interest litigation (PIL) and advocacy. Ms Hasan has filed PILs on various environmental issues, most of which have received favourable orders/ judgments. She has fought against vehicular pollution, river pollution, industrial pollution, shipbreaking, grabbing of wetlands, cutting of hills, unregulated mining, unplanned urbanisation, commercial shrimp cultivation, deforestation and loss of biodiversity. Her cases are redefining the current notion of development without regard for the environment. As an anthropocentric environmentalist, her efforts are adding value to the conventional human rights movement by bringing in the elements of environmental justice. She places people’s legitimate rights at the centre of her activism.
Ms Hasan is a recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. She has been named as one of the 40 Environmental Heroes of the World by TIME magazine, recognising her impassioned leadership, hard-driving skill, and uncompromising courage in the campaign for judicial activism which has demonstrated that the right to environment is nothing less than a people’s right to dignity and life, Ms Hasan was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2012.
Syed S Kaiser Kabir
Syed S Kaiser Kabir is CEO and managing director of Renata Limited. He is also the chairman of Renata Agro Industries Limited, Purnava Limited and Renata Oncology Limited.
Mr Kabir is vice chairperson of the Sajida Foundation and Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries. He is also a board member of BRAC Bank.
Mr Kabir started his career as a research officer at the Institute of Economics and Statistics, University of Oxford. He moved on to serve as a consultant at the World Bank from 1991-1993. He was appointed executive director of the Sajida Foundation in 1996, and later joined BRAC-Renata Agro Industries Limited as managing director from 1997 to 2004.
Mr Kabir completed his MPhil in economics at the University of Oxford in 1989. He received his postgraduate diploma in economics (with distinction) from the University of East Anglia in 1987.