Women are a change agent, says Laureate

Text by Alexa Ahern/Videos by Sahar Majid

DES MOINES, Iowa — Sir Fazle Hasan Abed is a busy man. From press conferences to introduction speeches, the 2015 World Food Prize Laureate has his work cut out for him at the World Food Prize this week at the Marriott Downtown Hotel.

But his duties in Iowa don’t compare to the herculean impact he has made around the world with his organization, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, which some call the largest nongovernmental organization in the world. He will be honored for his and his organization’s work Thursday night at the Iowa State Capitol.

Reflecting a major theme of the World Food Prize, Abed said empowering the world’s poorest, especially women, is the key to ending hunger.

“We have forecast our attention on women,” he said. “Women can play a much bigger role. We see women as a change agent.”

Abed was first confronted with abject hunger and devastation in the aftermath of the 1970 Bhola Cyclone in Bangladesh and the deadly liberation war a year later.

“That changed me completely,” he said. “I couldn’t really go back to my comfortable life.”



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