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Insights and Analysis

Hope over Fate: the Story of BRAC

November 9, 2022

By John Rieger

In 1972, with a few thousand pounds from the sale of his flat in England, Fazlé Hasan Abed, a bookish Shell Oil accountant from Bangladesh, launched a small nonprofit to aid desperate refugees from his new nation’s ruinous war of liberation. Over the next 50 years, under his leadership and guidance, the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee would evolve into one of the world’s largest, most effective, and most widely admired development organizations, BRAC.

In a new book, author Scott MacMillan, a longtime speechwriter for Abed, recounts tales of patience, determination, and the spirit of trial-and-error that changed the face of international development, based on hours of conversations with the late Abed, who died in 2019 at the age of 83. In this week’s podcast, Scott sits down with John and Tracie to reminisce about his old friend and share some of the fascinating stories from his book, Hope Over Fate: Fazlé Hasan Abed and the Science of Ending Global Poverty.




On November 14, Scott will join John and Tracie at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco, along with The Asia Foundation’s Kasi Faisal Bin Seraj and Alisa Albee of Larkin Street Youth Services, for a forum entitled “How Change Happens: Empowerment to End Poverty and Homelessness.” We hope we’ll see some of you there.


Related locations: Bangladesh


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