Sir Fazle Hasan Abed passes away
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the founder of Brac, passed away at a hospital in Dhaka on Friday night. He was 83.
Sir Abed, who was undergoing treatment for brain tumour at Apollo Hospital, breathed his last at 8:28pm, Brac Executive Director Asif Saleh said.
His mortal remains will be kept at the Army Stadium for two hours from 10:30am on Sunday to allow people to pay their last respects to him, Brac said in a statement.
His namaz-e-janaza will be held at 12:30pm at the stadium before he is laid to eternal rest at Banani Graveyard.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed condolence at his demise.
Sir Abed founded Brac in 1972 with a small relief and rehabilitation project in North-Eastern Bangladesh. Over the years, the organisation grew to be one of the largest non-government organisations in the world.
He retired from his role as the Chairperson of the governing body of Brac Bangladesh and Brac International and transitioned to the role of Chair Emeritus.
In a statement, Chairperson of the Brac International Board Ameerah Haq described Sir Abed as a rare example of honesty, modesty and humanity.
“His dedication, diligence and strong ethical stance made him ‘Abed Bhai’ to every member of the Brac family,” said Haq, noting that improving the condition of the society’s deprived people was always his priority.
Born on April 27, 1936 at Baniachong village in Habiganj, Sir Abed studied accounting in London and was working as a senior corporate executive in Pakistan Shell Oil company in 1970 when a devastating cyclone and the Liberation War changed his life.
He went to London during the war and founded two organisations – ‘Action Bangladesh’ and ‘Help Bangladesh’ – in support of the Liberation War.
Returned home in 1972, Sir Abed dedicated himself to providing emergency relief to refugees returning from Bangladesh and their rehabilitation. This led to the founding of Brac which currently operates in 11 countries and was recognised as the top NGO for four consecutive years from 2016 to 209.
Sir Abed won numerous awards and recognitions for his work. This year, he won the prestigious Yidan Prize, the largest international prize in education, for his groundbreaking work on education development.
He was awarded the prestigious LEGO Prize last year for his extraordinary contribution towards improving children's lives and their opportunities to play, learn and develop.
Some other awards include Laudato Si award (2017), World Food Prize (2015), Trust Women Hero Award (2014), Spanish Order of Civil Merit (2014), Leo Tolstoy International Gold Medal Award (2014), Wise Prize for Education (2011), David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2008), Clinton Global Citizen Award (2007), UNDP Mahbub ul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Development (2004) , Olof Palme Prize (2001), and Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership (1980).
Sir Abed was recognised as one of the global greats by development organisation Ashoka. He was a founding member of Ashoka’s Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship. He served as a member of Commission on Health Research for Development (1987-90), Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation (1991-92), and High-level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor (2005-08).
The British Queen bestowed on him Knighthood in 2010 in recognition of his services in reducing poverty in Bangladesh and internationally. In the same year, he was included as a member of an advisory council formed by the UN secretary general. In 2014 and 2017, he was selected as one of the 50 most influential persons by Fortune.
This year, Royal Knighthood was bestowed upon him by the Dutch king.
Sir Abed is survived by wife, one daughter, one son and three grandchildren.