No uncertainty over Brac’s future: Hossain Zillur
All present and future organisations under Brac will move forward in line with Sir Abed’s vision
Following the death of Brac's founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the future of the organisation faces no uncertainty, says its incumbent chairman Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman.
Dr Zillur – who served as an adviser to a caretaker government of Bangladesh – added that all present and future organisations under Brac will move forward in line with Sir Abed's vision.
Speaking to the media at a special interview at the Power and Participation Research Centre on Saturday, Zillur said, "Sir Abed passed away yesterday (December 20), but no one is posing the question - what will happen to Brac? This is the legacy of Sir Abed."
"Brac is a large organisation, and the largest non-government organisation in the world. But, there is no uncertainty about it. This was Sir Abed's final chapter. He planned out the future of Brac during his final days. He shared his vision with us verbally, not in writing."
He emphasised that Brac will continue to carry on under Sir Abed's vision, and he left leaders to carry out his work.
Dr Zillur – a member of the Brac Global Board – continued, "Sir Abed had given us messages on how to run Brac. These messages are a reflection of his vision. The first vision is that the world has no shortage of ill-fated people, and working to support them is the noblest of gestures."
"The second is that these ill-fated people have the possibility of changing their lives for the better, and we must respect and identify these possibilities. The third vision is that these people are unable to utilise the possibilities due to a multitude of reasons, such as organisational, social, financial and political limitations."
Adding that the fourth vision is to show these ill-fated people the path to a better future by achieving organisational capacity, Dr Zillur said, "Sir Abed has placed this vision ahead of us, and upholding it will now be a challenge."
"We will uphold his vision with discipline, skill and transparency. Sir Abed has shown us the way to do it."
Dr Zillur said, "One of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed's success stories is hidden inside the way people are reacting to the news of him passing away."
"The question - what will happen to Brac after an integral persona such as Sir Abed passed away? - is not being posed that much. Because, he successfully went through multiple chapters of his life, and the final chapter was - what will happen to Brac after his death?"
Dr Zillur pointed out that Sir Abed properly resolved this question during his lifetime.
Giving more details, Dr Zillur said, "Sir Fazle Hassan Abed retired as the chairperson of Brac after a board meeting in August this year. He was then made the chair emeritus of the organisation.
"I was made the chairman of Brac, and Ameera Haq was given responsibility of Brac International. Later, Sir Abed spearheaded the formation of another layer in the organisation, which is the Brac Global Board. This is Brac's global aspiration."
Mentioning Sir Abed's love for Brac, Dr Zillur said, "When he began suffering from complications related to his brain, the doctors gave him a diagnosis. Sir Abed's first thought was not about himself, instead it was how he can resolve issues related to Brac's transition.
"This was Sir Abed's number one priority. Many people think about resolving personal matters in this situation, but he though the opposite. He deeply impacted everyone and inspired them to climb higher. Sir Abed had made new plans for this year. He had decided to bring 25 crore people under development activities by 2030."
When asked how Sir Abed imparted directions for Brac, Dr Zillur said, "What Sir Abed did was very brave. He made a skillful and conscious decision to resolve the issue related to Brac's transition. He also gave challenges to those entrusted with the duty to run Brac.
"He did not give us a formula. He did not tell us what he did and what we should do. Through his work, Sir Abed ensured a smooth transition of Brac and gave us clear challenges. He made sure the organisation he founded from the ground up faces no uncertainty. We will make our future plan accordingly."
Reminiscing about the founder of Brac, Dr Zillur said, "Sir Abed did not lead a luxurious life, but he had a comfortable one. He had a good life in London. But Sir Abed returned to Bangladesh to make a change. The floods in 1970 killed a lot of people in this country, and it left an impact on him."
"The carnage of 1971 and the challenge to rebuild the country also moved him greatly. This is why he returned to Bangladesh. Sir Abed left a comfortable life to become a social worker. He did not know what this path will lead him to, but he persisted."
Dr Zillur continued, "Sir Abed brought a lesson from the corporate world – persistence is key. There was nothing luxurious about what he did. He taught everyone business and social responsibility equally."
Asked about whether Brac's activities will continue to expand in the future, Dr Zillur said, "Our current goal is to carry out Sir Abed's vision. We have the opportunity to make future plans on the basis of the work he did."