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How Change Happens: Empowerment to End Poverty and Homelessness

Event: Monday, November 14, 2022

World Affairs Auditorium 312 Sutter Street, Suite 200 San Francisco, CA

Extreme poverty globally and homelessness in the Bay Area are two massive societal challenges which hold people back from achieving their potential – but there is hope. In the face of enormous social and economic challenges, how are environments for success created? What are the roles of social innovation and holistic approaches in responding to public challenges at scale?

Join World Affairs, in collaboration with The Asia Foundation, to hear from leading practitioners on the frontlines empowering poor and marginalized people, internationally and here in our own region. To mark the launch of Scott MacMillan’s new book Hope Over Fate: Fazle Hasan Abed and the Science of Ending Global Poverty, our panel will discuss the importance of hope, innovative approaches and holistic support for people in crisis.

“Hope Over Fate” chronicles Fazle Hasan Abed’s life work to empower people to rise from poverty. MacMillan shares the little-known story of a former finance executive turned NGO founder described by Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times as “one of the unsung heroes of modern times.” With almost no experience in relief aid, Abed founded BRAC, originally the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee, in 1972, aiming to help a few thousand war refugees. Motivated by dispelling the notion of poverty being insurmountable, Abed applied his business background to social challenges and changed the lives of millions. BRAC, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, now reaches over 100 million of the world’s poorest people across Asia and Africa.

This story is a testament to the universal idea that hope itself is critical to overcoming poverty and insecurity. Hear how this works in practice from MacMillan; Kazi Faisal Bin Seraj, The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Bangladesh; and Alisa Albee, Larkin Street Youth Services’ division director of client practice and clinical services here in San Francisco.

A book signing and reception with drinks at 7:00 PM will follow the main program.


Scott MacMillan, Author & Director of Learning and Innovation, BRAC USA

Alisa Albee, Division Director of Client Practice and Clinical Services, Larkin Street Youth Services

Kazi Faisal Bin Seraj, Country Representative in Bangladesh, Asia Foundation

*Up-to-date vaccination is required to attend this event*

Related locations: San Francisco

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