Friday, July 10, 2015

Former IRRI trustee wins 2015 World Food Prize

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed
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Sir Fazle Hasan Abed of Bangladesh, founder of BRAC and former member of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Board of Trustees was awarded the 2015 World Food Prize.

The honor was bestowed on Sir Fazle for his unparalleled achievement in building the unique, integrated development organization BRAC, which is headquartered in Bangladesh and operates programs in 10 other countries around the globe. Since he created it over 40 year ago, Sir Fazle's organization has provided an opportunity for nearly 150 million people worldwide to improve their lives, has enhanced food security and follows a pathway out of poverty through its dynamic and effective development programs. Formally known as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, BRAC has been hailed as the most effective antipoverty organization in the world. Its agricultural and development innovations have improved food security for millions and contributed to a significant decline in poverty levels through direct impacts to farmers and small communities across the globe.

 "Being selected to receive the 2015 World Food Prize is a great honor,” said Sir Fazle. ”I consider this award a recognition of the work of BRAC.  The real heroes in our story are the poor themselves and, in particular, women struggling with poverty. Only by putting the poorest, and women in particular, in charge of their own destinies, will absolute poverty and deprivation be removed from the face of the earth."

From 2001 to 2006, Sir Fazle also served as a member of IRRI's Board of Trustees, which sets the Institute's  scientific directions, policies, and strategies. Its 15 members are selected for their outstanding achievements and leadership in their respective disciplines.

The USD 250,000 World Food Prize has been awarded annually since 1987 to "outstanding individuals who have made breakthrough achievements contributing to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world".

The announcement was made at a ceremony at the U.S. State Department, presided over by U.S.  Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack who gave keynote remarks. The event was hosted by Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles H. Rivkin, with Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, making public Sir Fazle's name.

Press release: World Food Prize Laureate: Leading a Generation out of Poverty

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