NGO founder and veteran civil servant feted at South Asian Diaspora Convention

The fourth South Asian Diaspora Convention(SADC) 2019 organised by the  Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) was preceded by a gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Shangri-La Hotel on Friday, November 15, in Singapore.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and Chair Emeritus of ​BRAC, one of the world's largest non-governmental organizations, was announced as the winner of the Outstanding Member of the South Asian Diaspora (OMSAD) Award 2019. Past recipients of this award include former Singapore president late SR Nathan. 

Guest-of-Honour, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies handed over The Outstanding Member of the South Asian Diaspora (OMSAD) Award accepted on behalf of Sir Fazle by Manzoor Hasan OBE, at the 4th South Asian Diaspora Convention by ISAS. Photo: Connected to India
Guest-of-Honour, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies handed over The Outstanding Member of the South Asian Diaspora (OMSAD) Award accepted on behalf of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed OBE, at the 4th South Asian Diaspora Convention by ISAS. Photo: Connected to India

"His contributions to social development and his life mission to help the poor serve as an inspiration for the South Asian diaspora and the society at large," said ​Ambassador Gopinath Pillai, Chairman of ISAS and Ambassador-at-Large Ministry of Foreign Affairs speaking about the 83 year old recipient. 

Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, principal research fellow at ISAS and former foreign adviser to the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh read the citation of the award.

Sir Fazle started the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee with the short term objective of aiding refugees returning to Bangladesh after the Liberation War of 1971.  

Today its called BRAC and its long term mission is to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease, and social injustice. BRAC reaches 138 million of the poorest people in nine countries in Asia and Africa yet is not commonly known.

The second award of the evening was the Special Lifetime Achievement Award to honour a Singaporean outstanding member of the South Asian community in Singapore. 

Mr. Joseph Pillay (centre) pioneer who helped build Singapore economy in 1965 and transformed Singapore Airlines into a world class carrier was awarded the Special Lifetime Achievement Award at a gala dinner preceding the Fourth South Asian Diaspora Convention by ISAS. Photo: Connected to India
Mr. Joseph Pillay (centre) pioneer who helped build Singapore economy in 1965 and transformed Singapore Airlines into a world class carrier was awarded the Special Lifetime Achievement Award at a gala dinner preceding the Fourth South Asian Diaspora Convention by ISAS. Photo: Connected to India

Mr. Joseph Pillay, a pioneer who helped build the Singapore economy after its separation from Malaysia in 1965, is the first recipient of this award , newly instituted by ISAS. Pillay is the founding chairman of Singapore Airlines (SIA) who transformed SIA into a world class carrier. He has served on the Presidential council of advisors, as permanent secretary in the Finance, Defence and National Development ministries and as managing director of GIC and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Professor Tan Tai Yong, President of Yale-NUS College and Deputy Chairman, ISAS, in his citation, narrated Pillay’s long and illustrious career spanning more than 3 decades. 

He noted that Pillay was described as being “equal to the best brains in America” by MM Lee Kuan Yew, as a “civil servant able to stand up to his Prime Minister” by ESM Goh Chok Tong and as having “an intellect that had no superior in the Singapore/Malaysia region.” by Malaysian business magnate Mr. Robert Kuok. 

From left to right: ISAS chairman Gopinath Pillai, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, veteran civil servant J. Y. Pillay,  Mr Manzoor Hasan, receiving The Outstanding Member of the South Asian Diaspora (OMSAD) Award on behalf of Brac founder Fazle Hasan Abed, given to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and Chair Emeritus of BRAC and NUS president Tan Eng Chye at the 4th South Asian Diaspora Convention by ISAS. Photo: ISAS
From left to right: ISAS chairman Gopinath Pillai, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, veteran civil servant J. Y. Pillay, Mr Manzoor Hasan, receiving The Outstanding Member of the South Asian Diaspora (OMSAD) Award on behalf of Brac founder Fazle Hasan Abed, given to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and Chair Emeritus of BRAC and NUS president Tan Eng Chye at the 4th South Asian Diaspora Convention by ISAS. Photo: ISAS

 

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CtoI News Desk
CtoI News Desk – CtoI

Singapore-headquartered online media company targeting Indian Diaspora across Singapore, US, UK and Dubai. Connected to India covers developments around Indians abroad, informing, engaging and entertaining its audiences.

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