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Last modified on Monday, 31 October 2011 18:00

First WISE Prize Laureate: BRAC Founder & Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed

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01 November 2011, Dhaka. We are proud to announce that Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, has been awarded the first WISE Prize for Education  in recognition of his 40-year career dedicated to alleviating poverty  through education. On November 1, 2011, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin  Khalifa Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar presented Sir Fazle with  the prize, which is the world’s first major award for education, before  1,300 delegates at the opening session of the third World Innovation Summit for Education  (WISE). For this inaugural edition, following a pre-selection by a  Committee, a prestigious Jury selected Sir Fazle as the inaugural  Laureate. Sir Abed received an award of $500,000 (US) and a specially  designed gold medal, bearing the word “education” in over 50 languages.

 In his citation of the Laureate, WISE Chairman H.E. Dr. Abdulla bin Ali  Al-Thani said: “Fazle Hasan Abed’s life and career embody the values of  WISE. He recognized that education is a passport to social inclusion  and opportunity. He discovered a successful formula, and he adapted and  expanded it – first in Bangladesh and then in other countries. As a  direct consequence, millions of people around the world lead healthier,  happier and more productive lives. His vision, resourcefulness and  determination are vital ingredients of the innovation process and he  stands as an example to all of us who believe that education, more than  anything else, determines the destiny of individuals and societies. The  Jury saw him as an ideal WISE Prize Laureate.”

In acceptance remarks,  Fazle Hasan Abed said: “I thank the Qatar Foundation for instituting  this magnificent Prize and for honouring me and BRAC with its first  instalment. It is on behalf of the 50,000 BRAC staff and nearly 40,000  BRAC school teachers that I humbly accept this prize. I have discovered  time and again in my four decades of work with BRAC that education is  the fundamental catalyst for change. It is easy to get overwhelmed by  the large numbers. But we must always remember that the changes happen  in individual lives and families. Many of the graduates of BRAC’s  non-formal schools have gone on to receive University degrees and have  become Doctors, Lawyers and Engineers. One girl has gone on to win  Bangladesh’s version of American Idol. These young people may have  achieved different things in their lives but one thing that they had in  common – education has unlocked new opportunities for all of them.”

 The establishment of the WISE Prize was announced at the closing of the  last WISE Summit in December 2010 as a major accolade to recognize an  individual or team for an outstanding, world-class contribution to  education. In addition to the gold medal, the winner receives an award  of $500,000 (US). Following an international call for nominations, an  11-strong international committee of educational experts made a  preliminary assessment and a high-level Jury of five eminent  individuals, chaired by Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, took the final  decision.

Under Sir Fazle’s visionary leadership, BRAC has  grown to become the largest provider of private, secular education in  the world, contributing to the pre-primary, primary and secondary  education of more than 10 million students. Click here to find out more about BRAC’s groundbreaking interventions in education.

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