Brac Founder and Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed was honoured as the 2015 World Food Prize Laureate for his outstanding contribution to enhance the world's production and distribution of food to those most in need.
The highly prestigious prize, known as Nobel Prize for food and agriculture, was conferred to him today at an event of a three-day international symposium at the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines, Iowa, USA, a Brac statement said today.
The chairman of The World Food Prize John Ruan III handed over the award that also included $250,000.
“I must acknowledge that the award does not belong to me alone, it is the recognition of Brac’s work over the last 43 years in providing pathways out of poverty for millions of people in Bangladesh and other countries in Africa and Asia,” said Sir Fazle while receiving the award.
He said that the real heroes are the poor themselves and, in particular, the women struggling with poverty overcoming enormous challenges each day of their lives.
“Throughout our work across the world, we have learnt that countries and culture vary; but realities, struggles, aspirations and dreams of poor and marginalised people are remarkably similar,” he said.
Brac is widely credited as a major contributor to Bangladesh's achievement in halving poverty and hunger levels since 1990, in line with the UN's Millennium Development Goals, through its sustained efforts in the fields of poverty and hunger eradication and food security.
The nonprofit organisation has helped nearly 150 million people worldwide with the opportunity for enhanced food security, the statement added.
Brac's agriculture and food security programmes are part of a larger set of poverty eradication interventions working in 11 countries, empowering the poor, especially women and girls, using tools such as microfinance, education, health care, legal services, community empowerment, social enterprises, and a full-fledged university, Brac University, in Dhaka.
Guests and dignitaries present at the ceremony included US secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack, president of World Food Prize Foundation Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of Iowa senate Honourable Pam Jochum, speaker of Iowa house Linda Upmeyer.
Former president of The Republic of Malawi and founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation Joyce Banda was present as distinguished special guest of honour. The ceremony was presided over by the governor of Iowa Terry Branstad.
Earlier on July 1, Ambassador Kenneth M Quinn announced Sir Fazle as this year’s winner in Washington, DC.