Development as Discovery: Learning from the Life and Work of Abed Bhai

BIGD organized a roundtable discussion “Development as Discovery: Learning from the Life and Work of Abed Bhai” at the BRAC Centre, Dhaka on Sunday, January 8, 2023.

Scott MacMillan, author of the biographical book on Abed bhai, ‘Hope over Fate’ shared a reading and reflection, followed by a presentation by Abu Ahasan Mishu titled, ‘BRAC’s Ways of Knowing: Decolonizing Organizational Learning’ based on the BRAC History Project, a BRAC-BIGD Knowledge Partnership.

The discussion was also joined by a number of insightful people from various sectors who have had different kinds of engagements with BRAC and Abed bhai. Afsan Chowdhury, Bangladeshi liberation war researcher, columnist, and journalist; Julian Francis, independent development and disability consultant, and a humanitarian activist; Dr Samia Huq, Dean, School of General Education, BRAC University; Farzana Kashfi, Founding Board MemberFounding Board Member Bangladesh Women Investors Network; Dr Ashikur Rahman, Senior Economist, Policy Research Institute; Dr Naomi Hossain, Research Professor at the Accountability Research Center at American University in Washington DC; and Tasmiah Rahman, Associate Director, BRAC were among others who joined the discussion.

The idea of the discussion is a critical reflection and conversation on the life and work of Abed bhai to help us move forward. As a governance and development knowledge centre of BRAC University, a University built to catalyse the BRAC ethos for a better world through knowledge, we strongly feel the intellectual urgency to develop new frameworks, language and ideas to understand, construct, and share our own experiences and stories. This is the southern knowledge challenge and struggle of decolonizing development and knowledge itself. We want to play our part in this larger intellectual transformative agenda