To many, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed is an enigma. Though born into a well-to-do traditional Bengali family, he is far from traditional. With a penchant for choosing the path less travelled, Abed1 studied naval architecture in the UK, read literature with E. M. Forster, and relishes music, opera and the arts.2
However, after witnessing firsthand the ravages that man-made and natural disasters wrought in his country, Abed’s life changed forever. He founded BRAC, which is, today, the largest NGO in the world. With 115,634 employees in 14 countries3 across the globe, BRAC works towards the sustainable alleviation of poverty through enterprise development, livelihood training, and the provision of education, health and legal services in Bangladesh and beyond.
Abed’s firm belief in the empowerment of the poor through enterprise has been a back-breaking business, but his endeavors have brought about long-lasting systemic change in the lives of the poorest of the poor.