Sir Fazle Hasan Abed Receives Princeton Honorary Degree

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Founder and chairperson of BRAC awarded honorary Doctor of Laws along with five others.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC

He has created a model of how to have a lasting impact on those in need; he himself is a model of what it means to live one's life in the service of humanity.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Princeton University this week. The university awarded Sir Fazle one of five honorary degrees given at its commencement exercises on Tuesday.

In its official citation, the university commended Sir Fazle’s commitment to poverty alleviation, calling BRAC, which he founded in 1972, “a profoundly effective and universally admired organization committed to alleviating poverty for millions worldwide.”

Formerly Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, BRAC is known as a global leader in alleviating poverty by creating opportunities for the poor to take control of their lives. It has been called one of the most cost-effective nonprofit organizations in the world, using a wide variety of data-driven tools including microfinance, healthcare, education, legal right and more.

The citation from Princeton said, “His organizational and leadership skills, combined with his ceaseless commitment to uplifting the less fortunate, have led to innovative and enduring programs in economic development, education and health care. He has created a model of how to have a lasting impact on those in need; he himself is a model of what it means to live one's life in the service of humanity.” Sir Fazle also founded BRAC University, a full-fledged university in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2001.

Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber awarded degrees to Sir Fazle along with Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. secretary of state; Herb Kelleher, co-founder of Southwest Airlines; James McPherson, the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of History, Emeritus, at Princeton; and James West, an inventor and research professor of electrical and computer engineering at Johns Hopkins' Whiting School of Engineering.

Sir Fazle has received numerous awards for his achievements in leading BRAC, including the Open Society Prize (2013), the WISE Prize (2011), the Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Award (2009), the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2008), the Inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Award (2007), the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership (2007), the Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Award for lifetime achievement in social development and poverty alleviation (2007), the Gates Award for Global Health (2004), the UNDP Mahbub ul Haq Award for outstanding contribution in human development (2004), the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Award (2002), the Olof Palme Award (2001), UNICEF’s Maurice Pate Award (1992) and the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1980).

Sir Fazle has received numerous other honorary degrees including Doctor of Humane Letters from Yale University (2007); Doctor of Laws from Columbia University (2008); Doctor of Letters from the University of Oxford; Doctor of Humane Letters from Rikkyo University, Japan (2009); the Doctor of Laws from the University of Bath (2010) and from the University of Manchester (2012). In 2009, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) by the British crown in recognition of his services to reducing poverty in Bangladesh and internationally.

About BRAC

BRAC, a development organization founded in Bangladesh in 1972, is a global leader in creating opportunities at scale as a means to end poverty. With more than 100,000 employees, it is the world's largest non-governmental organization, touching the lives of an estimated 135 million people in 12 countries using a wide array of antipoverty tools such as microfinance, education, healthcare, legal rights training and more. Learn more at


BRAC USA is an independent, US-based grantmaking affiliate of BRAC formed in 2006 to advance and support BRAC's global mission to create opportunities to unleash human potential and end poverty. Learn more at

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