Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman
Economist and social thinker Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman is a leading policy voice of Bangladesh with over three decades of experience within and outside government. Holding a masters in economics from Dhaka University, and PhD in political sociology from the University of Manchester, UK, Dr Rahman was a leading researcher at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies between 1977 and 2000, and led the internationally renowned Analysis of Poverty Trends project (1989-98). In 1996, he founded the think tank Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) and has been its executive chairman since 2000. He was the lead consultant for the preparation of the first poverty reduction strategy paper, Unlocking the Potential, 2005, of the Government of Bangladesh and was a member of the SAARC Poverty Commission. Dr Rahman has also sat on the board of the central bank.
He authored and edited many influential publications on poverty, social protection, governance, urbanisation, inclusive growth, social development and sustainable healthcare. Some of his noted works include Rethinking Rural Poverty (SAGE, 1995); Local Governance and Community Capacities (UPL, 2002); Unbundling Governance (PPRC, 2007); Researching Poverty from the Bottom up (PPRC/Grameen Trust, 2007); Bangladesh 2030: Strategy for Accelerating Inclusive Growth (DCCI/PPRC, 2010); Bangladesh Urban Dynamics (PPRC/World Bank, 2012); Bangladesh: Primary Education Stipends (PPRC/UNICEF, 2013); Social Protection in Bangladesh (UPL, 2014); Road Safety in Bangladesh (PPRC/BRAC, 2014); Realizing UHC Goals: Challenges & Opportunities for Bangladesh (PPRC, 2016); The Urban Spectrum: Metropolitan to Mofussil (PPRC/BBS, 2016); Exploring a more effective pro-poor targeting approach (PPRC/USAID, 2018).
He has been a consultant to international organisations such as The World Bank, ADB, DFID (now FCDO), JICA, JBIC, UNDP, UNICEF, SIDA, SDC, WFP and UNFPA. As a regular resource person at the National Defense College, Dhaka, Dr Rahman lectures on nation-state system, world economic scene, national security and sustainable development. He is also the convener of civic platforms such as Health Bangladesh, and Safe Roads and Transport for All (SROTA).
On 9 January 2008, Dr Rahman was appointed as an advisor to the former caretaker government of Bangladesh and put in charge of the ministries of commerce and education. He served till the end of the tenure of this government on 6 January 2009, and was credited with a lead role in the successful return of electoral democracy to Bangladesh.
He was awarded Dr John Meyer Global Citizenship Award by the Institute for Global Leadership of Tufts University, USA, in November 2009. He became one of the three awardees of the Gold Medal Award 2013 of Rotary International Bangladesh for his services to humanity.
Adv. Syeda Rizwana Hasan
Adv Syeda Rizwana Hasan is an enrolled lawyer with the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. She works for the cause of environment 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 masters and graduation in law from the University of Dhaka with distinction. She started her career with BELA in 1993 and till today is continuing with the same organisation. As the Chief Executive of BELA, Ms Hasan is responsible for the overall coordination of the activities of BELA, including research, awareness raising, public interest litigation (PIL), and advocacy. She 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, ship breaking, 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 that is devoid of environmental consideration. Since she is an anthropocentric environmentalist, her efforts are adding value to conventional human rights movement by bringing in the elements of environmental justice. She places people’s legitimate rights at the center of her activism. BELA received the Global 500 Roll of Honours of the UNEP in the year 2003, and in 2007 won the Environmental Award given by the Department of Environment for popularising environmental law. Ms Hasan is a recipeint 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 of judicial activism that 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.
Adeeb H. Khan
Adeeb H Khan qualified as a Chartered Accountant in England in 1991 and has been Senior Partner of Rahman Rahman Huq (Member Firm of KPMG International) since 2012.
He has been a Council Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) since 2013. He was the President of ICAB for 2017. He is a member of the Executive Committee of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), perhaps the largest legal aid organisation in Bangladesh. He is serving his third term as an Executive Committee (EC) member of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI), the oldest and one of the most prestigious trade chambers of Bangladesh, chairing its Taxation Sub-Committee.
Mr Khan’s past directorships include Biman Bangladesh Airlines, the national Flag carrier of Bangladesh, and Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh Limited. He frequently speaks at various forums on matters connected to taxation, corporate governance, and private sector reform.
An international thought leader and advocate on human rights, gender and social justice issues, Irene Khan is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, and Distinguished Fellow at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva. Ms. Khan was Secretary-General of Amnesty International from 2001 to 2009, and Director-General of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) from 2012 - 2019. Prior to that, she worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for 21 years at headquarters and in various countries.
Ms Khan sits on the Boards of several international NGOs and think tanks, and has been a member of the World Bank’s Gender Advisory Council. She has received several honorary degrees and prestigious awards, including the Sydney Peace Prize in 2006 for her work to end violence against women and girls. Her book, The Unheard Truth: Poverty and Human Rights, has been translated into seven languages. Born in Bangladesh, Ms Khan studied law at the University of Manchester and Harvard Law School.
Shafiqul Hassan is the managing director of Echo Sourcing Limited UK and Echotex Limited Bangladesh. Echotex received Bangladesh’s National Environmental Award, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka’s Environmental Award, and J Sainsbury plc’s Corporate Social Responsibility Award in 2010. Echotex was also awarded Best Clothing Supplier in 2011 as well as Best Clothing Supplier and Supplier of the Year in 2012 by J Sainsbury plc.
Mr Hassan co-founded a premium clothing label called Ninety Percent, launched in 2018, that shares ninety percent of its distributed profits between social and environmental causes, along with the people who are involved in making the clothes. He is the co-founder of Children’s Hope, an NGO that works to educate slum children in Dhaka.
He obtained his undergraduate degree from City University, London and postgraduate degrees from Aston University, Birmingham, UK.
Melissa Dawn Parke has over two decades of experience in international law, politics, sustainable development, humanitarian affairs, human rights and governance. She served as Minister for International Development and is a former federal member for Fremantle.
Prior to entering the Australian parliament Ms Parke served as an international lawyer with the United Nations for eight years in Kosovo, Gaza, New York and Lebanon. Following her retirement from parliament, she worked as an ‘Eminent Expert on Yemen’ for the UN Human Rights Council.
Ms Park is an ambassador for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and a member of the Advisory Council of the Australian Centre for International Justice.
She holds bachelor’s degrees in business (Curtin University) and law (University of New South Wales), and a master’s degree in public international law (Murdoch University).
Fathima Dada has worked in education throughout her career. She has worked as a teacher, lecturer, university external examiner, children’s author and textbook author. Her books have sold over a million copies.
Ms Dada has held almost every level of job in the education industry - from strategy, global product management and marketing, to production and design, sales and sales strategy in the roles of MD, CEO and chairperson. She is currently the managing director of Oxford Education and chairs the Board of OxfordAQA qualifications.
She has also been involved with government and non-governmental work in policy, curriculum, assessment, qualifications and implementation. She has served on several ministerial committees and overseen education reform and policy development in several countries, including working for UNESCO to support education systems in Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia. She has been a council member on the Schools and Vocational Quality Assurance authority in South Africa for 10 years. She helped lead the transformation to sustainability of the education programme of BRAC in Bangladesh.
Ms Dada is on the Board of Oasis Asset Management, and has previously been an active Board member to affordable school chains ie, Omega (Ghana), Spark (South Africa),Bridge (Kenya) and Zaya (India). She is the chairperson of Africa Ignite, a non-profit working for rural community development, and a trustee of MIET, a non-profit working with children in Africa.