Remembering Sir Fazle Hasan Abed KCMG

People from all over the world have shared their memories and feelings about Sir Fazle. You can view some of the messages below.

A great leader

Lovely tribute to Abed as a person: As a leader, Abed had humility but with confidence. It was never about himself, or his own ego, but he had the confidence to start untested interventions and the confidence to stop failing programs. In so many organizations, there is an inability to stop or change failing efforts. And to make space for innovation, one had to give up failing activities.

Lincoln C Chen

He is still alive in our hearts

A person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for they are still alive in our hearts and minds, through us, they live on. Please accept our condolences, he will not be forgotten with due respect to – Sir Fazle Hasan Abed.” – Founder of BRAC. As a partner of BRAC, we (UCEP Nepal) are and will be joining hand to move in the footsteps that you had shown us.

Bipin Acharya

I will continue to tell people about Sir Fazle

I first learned about BRAC and Sir Fazle Hasan Abed in 2009, when I applied for a Fulbright senior scholar position at BRAC University. On learning about it, I realized I would be working at a very progressive and humane institution. I was further convinced when I met BRAC English teachers and visited English classes. The students, most of whom were well-off, were not only learning to think critically, but were also asked to remember the people at home who cared for them, encouraged to tell them that they were loved! The English language program (now under the auspices of BIL), staffed by such competent and caring teachers, was ably directed by Sarwat Abed, who befriended me and helped me shape my goals in line with the needs of the department. She also made sure to invite me to the annual luncheon held at Savar and to which Sir Abed invited representatives from donor countries to thank them for their contributions to the University and other BRAC programs. Two years later when I was working for the US Dept of State at AIUB, I was invited again to Savar for lunch, and was personally thanked by Sir Abed for the work I had done with the BRAC teachers during my earlier visit. I knew Sir Abed personally only slightly, but I came to know him through the work I learned about when I interviewed staff about their projects, and when I worked with teachers on their curricula, their lesson plans, and the brochure they wanted to use as outreach. Knowing the man and the organization, I found Bangladesh, to be a country rich, not only in culture, but in the conditions that allow such a life-affirming institution to prosper and human potential to be realized. Yet, unfortunately, when I tell other Americans about my experience in Bangladesh, and about Sir Abed, they may just find me hard to believe, never having heard of BRAC or Sir Abed. Ever since reading of his death a few days ago, I have been thinking about all those with whom I became acquainted during the times I was a consultant and had a chance to renew my acquaintance with the Abeds and make other friends. I wish to extend sympathy to all those people, especially Sarwat and Faheem. and I will continue to tell people here about that remarkable person and the institution that reflects his humanity and his genius.

Elizabet Platt

His days on this earth were not in vain

Words can not express how saddened we are to hear the death of our founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. Sir Abed has lived a very successful life, because someone who has changed the lives of others made them someone in society, and has made an impact in their lives, has lived a successful life, his days on this earth was not in vain. Thanks for his Mission and Vision.May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Jacqueline Nimely

Thank you for everything that you have taught us

One unforgettable quote from Abed bhai that will stay with me for a lifetime: "Women in Afghanistan are extremely well-educated." When I first heard him say this, I knew exactly what he meant. In an environment of conflict, women in Afghanistan find a way to survive and raise children. This is one of the reasons why empowering women is so central to everything that BRAC does. This quote also inspired my wife and I to give our newborn daughter an Afghan name. May he rest in peace. Thank you for everything that you have taught us.

Malik Rashid

The world lost a leader

Today the world lost a leader, and the poor and vulnerable lost a friend who waged a war against poverty. People speak of Bangladesh’s great achievements in lifting the poor from poverty: The power of women’s groups, the redefining of education services, innovations in health, microcredit and credit writ large, nutrition and early unending story of development and prosperity. Bangladesh is exemplified by BRAC — the world’s most impactful development organization — and BRAC was Abed Bhai (although Abed Bhai will remind us that BRAC is everyone of Bangladesh’s poor). Abed Bhai single handedly helped lift Bangladesh out of poverty. Such was his impact. And, at a time when we needed it the most, he gave our nation hope and an identity of pride and purpose. All, quietly and with humility that defined Abed Bhai. Today’s recognition of Abed Bhai will pale in comparison to what history will one day say about him. Sir Fazle Abed, as he was known globally, never saw the fight against poverty as a mission of charity or philanthropy. His was a crusade to build a platform of dignity and prosperity where the poor took charge of their own destiny. I often say that non-state organizations can innovate; but without the State, innovations cannot be scaled up. Abed Bhai proved us wrong. He often said “Small is beautiful but big is necessary.” And, he led an organization to impact at scale — through BRAC, with and without the State, and well beyond the boundaries of Bangladesh. Abed Bhai, yours was a journey in this world that few will be able to match but millions will be inspired to follow.

Junaid Ahmed

Tribute to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed

It was shocking news indeed to hear that Abed Bhai was no more with us and for a moment I thought he has passed away but at the same time when I looked into my diary, the Logo of BRAC was shining there. This was a revelation to me that Abed Bhai was not a person, but an institution that has deep roots in the communities and will always blossom with the prayers of these needy communities. What I feel is, that he traveled from this world to the eternal world to get the reward for what he has done for the most marginalized and needy persons here. God bless you with Jannah dear Abed Bhai.

Sirajud Din

He was, he is and will always be a true source of inspiration

Salam from Afghanistan! To begin with, a true leader never dies. He may not be among us anymore; yet, his vision, mission, wisdom, thoughts, and insights will last forever. He was, he is and will be a great leader and a true source of inspiration for people like myself. I wish I had met him in person before he left us. Secondly, I was deeply saddened as well as felt broken when I heard this sad news. Death is the ultimate destination. Being a Muslim, we believe in the fact that "Every Soul Shall Taste Death". In the next hundred years, all of us living in this world will be gone, just at different times. Perhaps, some of us sooner than the others. However, lucky and fortunate are those who leave behind a legacy to be remembered by people. Thirdly, I know we are all mentally and emotionally broken. Therefore, I would like to take the time to offer my heartfelt condolences to all of us, especially to his respected family and loved ones. May his soul rest in peace! May Allah heal our pain and give us the guts to withstand this terrible ordeal. Ameen!

Murtaza Haidary

We will never forget his humanitarian services

It`s a big loss. I extend my condolences to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed`s family, friends and all BRAC staff around the globe. He was the founder of a great idea to serve humanity, crossing borders to serve the people of Afghanistan. We will never forget his humanitarian service. May God have mercy on him. He was a model of humanity and respect for human dignity. Such humans do not die. Because they laid the foundation for an idea. The idea of empowering humanity. We are all responsible for continuing this idea and striving to create a world free of poverty, illiteracy, and violence, regardless of geographical boundaries, ethnicity or gender. My message is the message of an Afghan citizen. A citizen who appreciates Sir Fazle Hasan Abed’s humanitarian service.

Arefa Paikar

The world has lost a global leader

I was deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. The world has lost a global leader, and we have lost a long-standing partner and a cherished Human Capital Champion. Sir Fazle worked tirelessly for a better world, one that is more equitable and where people`s potential is fulfilled. Under his leadership, BRAC has transformed the lives of so many children, women, and families in Bangladesh and around the globe. While his loss is felt by all of us in the development community, we are certain that his legacy and his vision will live on in the work of BRAC and will inspire many more to act to improve the lives of the most vulnerable. On behalf of the staff of the World Bank Group, please convey our sincere condolences to his family and the BRAC community.

David Malpass

We extend our heartfelt sympathies

On behalf of the Government of Canada please accept our condolences. We were deeply saddened to learn about the death of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and Chair Emeritus of BRAC, one of the world`s largest and most influential non-governmental organizations. We understand that the BRAC - Queen`s University Teacher Training and Educational Technology project dating back to the late 80s was BRAC’s first partnership program. Canada is honoured to be one of Sir Abed and BRAC’s longest-standing partners. Under Sir Abed`s outstanding leadership BRAC became the world`s fastest-growing non-formal education program for disadvantaged children. In 1994 Queen`s University awarded Sir Abed with an honorary doctoral degree (Doctor of Law) in recognition of his outstanding contribution in promoting education for the poor and out of school children in Bangladesh. As one of the main architects for human development and social change in this century, Sir Abed was a truly remarkable man. His creative approach to problem-solving benefitted millions. Recognizing the incredible impact of BRAC’s programming, Canada was pleased to support BRAC’s initial expansion outside of Bangladesh with education, health, and other key programs in Afghanistan and some African countries. Canada recognizes Sir Abed’s outstanding contributions to reducing poverty in Bangladesh and internationally and is pleased that Abed’s legacy of improving the lives of millions will live on through our continued partnership with BRAC. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to Sir Abed’s family and to all those who knew and loved him.

High Commission of Canada to Bangladesh

We will continue to work towards his vision of creating a better world for all

I am writing to express not only our sincere condolences on behalf of IFPRI as an institution, but my personal heavy-heartedness over the loss of Sir Abed. I am deeply appreciative of Sir Abed’s bold commitment to creating a more just, fair world for everyone. As he has motivated me and countless others who are already on the frontlines of change in Bangladesh and beyond, I am confident that his heart for the work has compelled an entire generation of future leaders to follow the same path. He will surely be missed and the world is a much better place because of him. We will continue to relentlessly work towards his vision of creating a better world for all and upholding his profound legacy.

Akhter Ahmed

You will be my inspiration to work against gender inequality

প্রিয় আবেদ ভাই, ব্র্যাকে যোগদানের পর থেকেই আমি আশায় ছিলাম আপনার সাথে দেখা হবে। আপনার জীবন দর্শন, মূল্যবোধ, পৃথিবী বদলে দেয়ার রূপকল্প নিয়ে অনেক কথা শুনব ও প্রশ্ন করব বলে ভেবে রেখেছিলাম। আপনার কাছে আমার অনেক কিছু জিজ্ঞাস্য ছিল, অনেক কিছু বোঝার ছিল। কিন্তু আপনার সাথে সরাসরি কথা বলার সুযোগটি চিরতরে হারিয়ে গেল। তাই আপনার মূল্যবোধ ও জীবন দর্শনকে উপলব্ধি করার মত জ্ঞান ও শক্তি যেন পাই এই প্রার্থনাই করি এখন। আপনার নারী-পুরুষের সমতা প্রতিষ্ঠার “unfinished agenda” কে সমাপ্ত করার জন্য কাজ করে যাচ্ছি এবং সারাজীবন কাজ করে যেতে চাই। আপনি বেঁচে থাকবেন আমার অনুপ্রেরণা ও পথ প্রদর্শক হয়ে। তাপসী রায় জেন্ডার লীড, মাইক্রোফাইন্যান্স

Taposi Roy

co-founder Global Alliance for Banking on Values

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed was the co-founder of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) in 2009 and has been a strong supporter of the movement of values-based banking ever since. Not only did he bring a robust global perspective but also encouraged us to formulate bold, far reaching goals. Resulting in a global network of 60 banks and growing. He was a truly cosmopolitan and saw the world as the place to create lasting social change. Not as a philosophy but by doing, acting by taking the needs of people at the bottom of the pyramid as starting point. Fazle Abed was one of this great leaders that guide people towards positive change. Not by delivering speeches but by starting social enterprises, including banks, that enable people to grow out of poverty, building on a growing self esteem. The GABV will remember Fazle Abed as its co-founder and first honorary member and will continue to be guided and inspired by his incredible impressive legacy. On behalf of the Board of the GABV, Peter Blom (Chair), On behalf of the GABV Secretariat, Dr. Marcos Eguiguren (Executive Director)

peter blom

We have lost a Giant

While small in stature, Fazle Abed had a gigantic impact on development theory, practice and thinking. He was a true visionary whose leadership and inspiration stood steadfastly in the service of the poor and in particular for women and girls. May his humility and commitment to lifelong-learning and service to the poor inspire future generations of those working and serving with BRAC and its partner organizations. Roger Young, Victoria BC Canada

Roger Young

RE: Tribute to Sir Fazle Abed

A man who maintained the capacity to irrigate deserts. May his principles of charity and conviction to help the underprivileged touch people around the world. Rest in Peace Abed Bhai. May your Creator be pleased with your service.


We are committed to achieve the vision we shared with you

We started BracNet with you in order to provide internet to empower the people who are in need in particular in rural area of Bangladesh from 2005. The ultimate goal of BracNet is to realize our vision of leapfrogging the quality of life and business all over Bangladesh. We are committed to share the progress and achievement with you. George Hara, Co-Founder & Co-Chairman of the Board, BracNet Masa Isono, Director, BracNet

George Hara & Masa Isono


It is impossible to overestimate the importance of BRAC in the global effort to end poverty. It is equally difficult to separate its success from the life and work of the man who created and steered it through almost five decades, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed—“Abed bhai” to his colleagues, “Abed” to his friends. BRAC’s size and reach are—by any measure—staggering. Its micro-finance lending, mostly to poor rural women, exceeds a billion dollars a year. Although BRAC is a leader in the field of microfinance—touted for a few years as the miracle remedy for poverty—Abed never saw it as a cure-all. In his mind, the key to ending poverty was new, productive enterprise. Poor people, especially women and especially in rural areas, had to make things. And to do that, they had to be better linked to resources—seeds, fertilizer, knowledge, finance—and to markets. BRAC’s social enterprises in dairy, poultry, silk, handicrafts, seed multiplication, and a dozen others, have created hundreds of thousands of livelihoods, and in time they generated income that has made BRAC largely self-financing. Microfinance was the fuel in the tank, but the engine was always innovative, productive enterprise. The BRAC Bank, completely separate from microfinance operations, holds deposits of more than $2 billion and has a Moody’s long-term credit rating as good as that of Barclay’s Bank. Facts like these might catch the eye of a banker. But BRAC was and remains, an NGO with its primary focus on social development, ranked for the past four years by the Geneva-based NGO Advisor as Number 1 on a list of 500 global non-profits. BRAC pioneered non-formal primary education, mostly for girls, aiming to give literacy, dignity and hope to the next generation of mothers. Its ground-breaking oral rehydration training programs in the 1970s reached nine out of ten rural households in Bangladesh. That, along with innovative health, nutrition and sanitation programs, contributed to a seven-fold reduction in the country’s child mortality. Fewer child deaths, better education and more economic opportunity, especially for women, led to a three-fold drop in the fertility rate, ending worries about unchecked population growth. There’s hardly an area of human development that BRAC hasn’t touched in a meaningful way, taking some of its best lessons to Africa and other parts of Asia. Fazle Hasan Abed did not accomplish this all on his own. But he was able to find and motivate others—individuals, government departments, donor agencies and some of the world’s most powerful and influential policy makers. His ambition was boundless, but it rested on a quiet charisma that inspired devotion and made mountains seem scalable. He listened far more than he spoke. I first met Abed in 1973, when BRAC was just a handful of people working out of a flat in Motijheel. It was an unlikely, almost accidental enterprise, created by a man whose life until then couldn’t possibly have suggested what was to come. He had lived comfortably for several years in London, and then worked as a senior Shell Oil accountant in Chittagong. There, he took time off to spearhead relief efforts following the 1970 cyclone and the 1971 War of Independence. Discovering the deeply entrenched poverty he had failed to notice during his privileged youth, he created what he thought would be a small, time-bound demonstration effort to show what might be accomplished with a few farming cooperatives, adult literacy and heath training. A lesser man would have run from the resulting failures, but for Abed, they were lessons to be remembered and applied to the much bigger voyage on which he then embarked. When I was completing research in 2009 for a book about BRAC, Freedom from Want, and trying to think about what had made it so successful, outsiders frequently told me it was Abed’s experience with the private sector. I always doubted that. Shell perhaps gave him useful perspectives on money and management, but it could not have been the source of his ingenuity, his compassion and sense of injustice, his willingness to take risks and his insistence on learning what works, what does not, and why. He told me that a lot of it was luck, and laughed, quoting Napoleon: “Give me lucky generals.” I investigated the concept of luck and found a good summary: “Being ready for the opportunity.” Abed was always able, better than most, to see and understand opportunity. By that definition, “luck” may well have played a part. He suggested I talk with an employee who had recently returned from doctoral studies in Britain—she might have a helpful perspective on BRAC’s success. She said she had expected to find a saint or a genius around every corner, but in the end, that wasn’t the case. The answer was “common sense”—everything BRAC has achieved came about, she said, through the application of common sense. I put that in the book, but in truth, Abed did have the versatility of genius, a talent for applying common sense in a world where the concept is largely unknown and an ability to unlock doors long closed to innovation, justice and human development. Abed never rested on well-deserved laurels; he always argued that “big” is essential in confronting poverty. Most ambitious people, however, leave a trail of wreckage and animosity behind them. With Abed, it was quite the opposite, and that too must be part of BRAC’s success—his unflappability in the face of tremendous odds and personal tragedy, his ability to build and to bring diverse people and resources together in common cause. Christopher Wren, visiting the construction site for St. Paul’s, is said to have asked a stonemason what he was doing. “I’m cutting stone,” the man said. Farther along Wren asked another stonemason what he was doing. He said, “I’m building a cathedral.” Abed was both Christopher Wren and the stonemason, and while BRAC in it many manifestations will continue to thrive, the legacy will always be his: Abed, Master Builder.

Ian Smillie


“A person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for they are still alive in our hearts and minds, through us, they live on. Please accept our condolences, he will not be forgotten with due respect to – Sir Fazle Hasan Abed.” – Founder of BRAC. As a partner of BRAC we (UCEP Nepal) are and will be joining hand to move in the footsteps that you had shown us. Bipin Acharya Executive Director UCEP Nepal

Bipin Acharya

তাঁকে মনে রাখি

শোকে নয়, আপনার কর্মে আপনাকে আমরা মনে রাখবো আজীবন। ছোট্ট এই দেশটার ছোট ছোট প্রাণ আপনি গুছিয়ে দিয়েছেন, স্বচ্ছলতায়, প্রাপ্তি আর স্বীকৃতির আনন্দে উচ্ছল করেছেন। এই দেশকে তলাবিহীন ঝুড়ি বলার স্পর্ধা আপনি রুখে দিয়েছেন সাধারণ মানুষকে বারবার, প্রতিবার ঘুরে দাঁড়ানোর সাহস দিয়ে। যাদের কেউ শোনেনা, আপনি তাদের ভাষা দিয়েছেন, যাদের কেউ দেখেনা,আপনি তাদের মাথা উঁচু করে দাঁড়ানোর অধিকার দিয়েছেন। স্পর্ধা নয়, বিনয় দিয়ে, কটু শব্দ নয়, হাসি দিয়ে আপনি আমাদের একজন হয়ে উঠেছেন। আপনি আমাদের হৃদয়ে ছিলেন। আপনি আমাদের মাঝেই থাকবেন। শুধু আমাদের থাকবেন।

খাদিজা ফাল্গুনী

I don`t know, how to express my gratitude to Abed Bhai

Many people touched our lives. Abed Bhai touched it deeply! Feeling fortunate! Really don`t know, whether you could see us from somewhere, Abed Bhai! But, we will continue our journey towards the direction, which you shown us.., throughout our lives....! May the Almighty places your departed soul in the eternal peace! - Your Musa

Musa Muhammad

SBI Family in Bangladesh

We, SBI, Bangladesh operations family are extremely shocked to hear the sudden death of sir Fazle Hasan Abed (KCMG) - a person so much larger than his life, a true hero and Icon of Rural People, their dream, their life , their sustenance development, the Founder of BRAC, the world’s largest NGO. News of his demise spread saddens waves to us, as if sun has set for forever. Sir Fazle Abed’s life was a great gift to humanity. His nearly 50 years of visionary leadership at BRAC transformed millions of lives in Bangladesh and beyond, and changed the way the world thinks about development. Driven by an unwavering belief in the intrinsic dignity of all people, His legacy will live on in all the people whose lives are better, healthier and more secure because of his remarkable service. The world today is much ebbed. The death of sir fazle has taken away a true hero, one who was a model for the world. Although the world no longer has Sir Fazle to show the way, we have his living and growing legacy in BRAC and the millions of people bearing the light he used to dream. We deeply mourn & accept heartfelt condolence on the loss of a great leader , wonderful person & above all an inspiring individual .

Ranjit Gogoi

Thank You Sir

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed have dreamt of building an equal world. He is among the leaders who had called for and worked to create a better world not only in Bangladesh but beyond. He has made a mark that is worth continuing not only by his peers but every one of us. Let us all continue dreaming to create an equal world for everyone! We Surely Belong to Him and to Him We Shall Return!

Salic Ibrahim, MARADECA Inc

অাপনাকে ধন্যবাদ,আবেদ ভাই

মানুষের জীবন কতটা অর্থবহ হতে পারে,তা আপনি আমাদের দেখিয়েছেন।আমাদের বুকে আত্মা বিশ্বাসর বীজ বুনে দিয়েছেন আপনি।আমরা এখন অসম্ভবকে সম্ভব করতে শিখেছি।জানতে শিখেছি প্রতিটি মানুষ কী অসীম সম্ভাবনার অাধার। ৪৭ বছরধরে দারিদ্র্য আর বৈষম্যর বিরুদ্ধে অবিরাম যে লড়াই আপনি চলিয়ে গেছেন,তা এখন আমাদের এগিয়ে নেওয়ার পালা। সমতাপূণ পৃথিবী গড়ে তোলার দায়িত্ব এখন আমাদের কাঁধে।

মোঃসাহাব উদিদন


খুব ভোরে মুঠো ফোনে মেসেজটা এসছিল। আবেদ ভাই নাই, জানার পর মনে হলো আমাদের মাথার উপর শীতল ছায়াটা সরে গেছে। পরক্ষণে মনে হলো শুধুমাত্র ব্র্যাক পরিবারের স্তম্ভ নয়; স্বাধীনতা যুদ্ধের পর ভঙ্গুর একটি বাংলাদেশকে একটি উচ্চতায় স্থাপন করে গিয়েছেন। নারী-পুরুষের বৈষম্য দূর করে সমতা ভিত্তিক একটি পৃথিবী গড়ার মানসে নীরবে এবং নিরলসভাবে কাজ করে গেছেন সারাটা জীবন। বাংলার আকাশ থেকে আজ বুঝি একটি নক্ষত্র খসে পড়লো! ক্ষণজন্মা এই প্রাণটাকে আমাদের গ্রহটার আরো দরকার ছিল। বৈষম্যের বেদনানুভূতিকে প্রগাঢ়ভাবে বাংলার মানুষের মনে গেঁথে দিতে এমনতর শ্রম করেছে আর ক`জনা! পৃথিবী থেকে এই তারকারাজের বিদায়ে বড় ব্যথিত।

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