Social entrepreneurship in the 21st century – Fazle Abed

NYU Reynolds Program in Social Entrepreneurship 2007-2008 Speaker Series

Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder & Chairman, BRAC was educated in Dhaka and Glasgow Universities, before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in London. He returned home in the late 1960s to work as an executive with Shell Oil. Abed gave up his corporate career to join Bangladesh’s liberation movement and thereafter started BRAC in 1972.

Under Abed’s leadership, BRAC has grown into one of the world’s largest NGO’s with over 100,000 staff members and an annual budget of more than $430 million, 78% of which is self-financed. BRAC’s micro-finance programme, with 6 million borrowers, has cumulatively disbursed $4 billion. More than 1.5 million children are currently enrolled in 52,000 BRAC’s schools and over 3 million have already graduated. BRAC’s health programme reaches over 100 million people in Bangladesh with basic healthcare services and programmes for TB, Malaria and HIV/AIDS. BRAC has, in recent years, taken its range of development interventions to Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda and Southern Sudan.

Mr. Abed has received numerous national and international awards for his achievements in leading BRAC, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership (1980), UNICEF’s Maurice Pate Award (1992), Olof Palme Award (2001), Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Award (2002), Gates Award for Global Health (2004), UNDP Mahbub ul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution in Human Development (2004) and the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership (2007). He is recognized by Ashoka as one of the “global greats” and a founding member of its prestigious Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship. He has received several honorary degrees including a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Yale University.


NYUWagner [Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University]


May 6, 2008

Media Type:



Social Entrepreneurship