Dr Charles Chen Yidan, founder of the Yidan Prize, presented the prestigious award to Brac Founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, which was accepted by his son and daughter in the capital yesterday.
Dr Yidan visited Bangladesh last week to present the prize for Education Development to late Sir Fazle Abed at a ceremony organised at Brac headquarters.
Tamara Abed and Shameran Abed accepted the award, according to a press release.
Dr Yidan presented the gold medal to Tamara, managing director of Brac Enterprises and chairperson of the board of trustees of Brac University. The certificate was presented to Shameran Abed, senior director of Brac Microfinance and Ultra Poor Graduation Programme.
“Sir Fazle lived a life of service with true compassion, courage and conviction. He inspired everyone around him to choose optimism over despair and to believe in the potential of human spirit. I believe that Sir Fazle will continue to be a source of inspiration for the world,” Dr Yidan said at the award ceremony.
“The hundreds of millions of lives he transformed, especially those from the most vulnerable and poorest communities, will remember him as the spark of hope. The Yidan Prize Foundation will continue to work closely with Brac to further scale up impactful educational programmes in Asia, Africa and beyond.
“Together, we can continue to help young, marginalised children find joy in their learning and those deprived of resources live happy and productive lives.”
In September 2019, Sir Fazle Abed, an iconic figure in international development, was awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Development for his ground-breaking work on education.
While visiting Sir Fazle Abed in October 2019, the Yidan Prize Foundation learned about his visionary approach and pivotal role in changing the course of education in Bangladesh.
After Sir Fazle Abed’s passing on December 20, 2019, Dr Yidan decided to visit Dhaka to pay his respects and present the award in person to his family.
During his two-day stay in Dhaka, Dr Yidan visited a Brac school in Korail slum in Banani and an early childhood development centre, Play Lab, in Banasree.
Shameran read out the acceptance speech Sir Fazle drafted last year after the announcement of the award.
“I would like to express my gratitude for the recognition bestowed upon both Brac and me. The very generous Yidan Prize funding will allow us to expand our education activities further. I believe that education is the greatest equaliser. I envision a world where even the poorest among us have the opportunity to lead lives of purpose and dignity. I humbly request everyone to play their part in making this vision a reality,” Shameran read.
“We are most honoured to receive the Yidan Prize on behalf of our father,” said Tamara Abed. “We are committed to carrying his legacy forward.”
As a Yidan Prize Laureate, Sir Fazle received a gold medal, a certificate and HK$30 million (around US$3.9 million), half of which was in cash and the other half in project fund.
“Addressing the needs of children in the most disadvantaged communities has always been a core priority for Brac. The Yidan Prize will support us in scaling up our play-based early childhood development solutions in Uganda and Tanzania and develop a new model of play-based childcare in Bangladesh,” said Asif Saleh, executive director of Brac.
The Yidan Prize project funding will be invested by Brac in research, innovation and scaling up of high-impact solutions related to early childhood development in the next three years.
Brac will also use part of the project fund to pilot a social enterprise of play-based childcare model in Bangladesh.
THE YIDAN PRIZE
Founded in 2016 by Dr Yidan, a core founder of Tencent, the Yidan Prize’s mission is to create a better world through education.
It consists of two awards, the Yidan Prize for Education Research and the Yidan Prize for Education Development.
To ensure transparency and sustainability, the prize is managed by the Yidan Prize Foundation and governed by an independent trust with an endowment of HK$2.5 billion (around US$323 million).
Through a series of initiatives, the prize aims to establish a platform for the global community to engage in conversations around education and to play a role in education philanthropy.