Each year, University for a Night participants honor a person and/or organization that exemplify what the evening stands for -- working together for the common good. The first such honoree was David Rockefeller, for whom this award is named. He helped present the 2008 David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Awards, to:
Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan is an international voice of cross cultural dialogue, an outspoken philanthropic advocate, and a promoter of advancing health and educational opportunities in Jordan and across the globe.
Since her marriage to His Majesty King Abdullah bin Al Hussein (then Prince), in 1993, Queen Rania has channeled her energies behind initiatives that aim to improve the livelihood of various sectors of society in Jordan and beyond.
Queen Rania's activities encompass issues such as education, health, youth, and the environment, among others. She also has a special interest in several core issues: reaching out to the global community to foster values of tolerance and acceptance; promoting excellence, creativity and innovation in education; improving the quality of life of the family unit including the protection of children from violence and the promotion of Early Childhood Development; and developing income-generating projects and advancing the best practices in the field of microfinance.
Queen Rania is on the Board of Directors of several international organizations such as the World Economic Forum; the United Nations Foundation; International Youth Foundation; the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA); and the GAVI Fund, a non-profit organization that seeks to provide children in the world's poorest countries with access to life-saving vaccines. Her Majesty is UNICEF's first Eminent Advocate for Children and is also the World Health Organization's Patron for Violence Prevention in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.
For more information, visit www.queenrania.jo.
Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC, was educated in Dhaka and Glasgow Universities, before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in London. He returned home in the late 1960s to work as an executive with Shell Oil. Abed gave up his corporate career to join Bangladesh's liberation movement and thereafter started BRAC in 1972.
Under Abed's leadership, BRAC has grown into one of the world's largest nonprofit organization with over 100,000 staff members and an annual budget of more than US$430 million, 78% of which is self-financed. BRAC's microfinance program, with 6 million borrowers, has cumulatively disbursed US$4 billion. More than 1.5 million children are currently enrolled in 52,000 BRAC's schools and over 3 million have already graduated. BRAC's health program reaches over 100 million people in Bangladesh with basic healthcare services and programs for TB, Malaria and HIV/AIDS. BRAC has, in recent years, taken its range of development interventions to Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda and Southern Sudan.
Mr. Abed has received numerous national and international awards for his achievements in leading BRAC, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership (1980), UNICEF's Maurice Pate Award (1992), Olof Palme Award (2001), Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Award (2002), Gates Award for Global Health (2004), UNDP Mahbub ul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution in Human Development (2004) and the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership (2007). He is recognized by Ashoka as one of the "global greats" and a founding member of its prestigious Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship. He has received several honorary degrees including a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Yale University.
Abed is featured in three films by Ashoka's Global Academy: Innovator for the Poor: the story of Fazle Hasan Abed and the building of BRAC, Thinking Big and Scaling Up and Achieving the Millennium Development Goals. PBS featured BRAC's health program in its documentary feature Rx for Survival. John A. Quelch and Nathalie Laidler of Harvard Business School have written two teaching case studies on BRAC and its chain of retail craft stores, Aarong. In addition, IESE in Barcelona has carried out research and written a case study on BRAC.
For more information, visit www.brac.net.