Education About Asia (EAA), a prestigious and peer-reviewed teaching journal published in the United States of America,has included an article entitled “AkhterHameed Khan: A Legendary Social Scientist” by Scholar and Historian NasimYousaf in its Winter 2014 issue (Volume 19:3). The journal serves as a resource for professors, teachers, and other instructors to select readings for their students. The inspiring piece on Dr. Khan will helpstudents and academic communities in many countries around the worldlearn more about him.
Dr. AkhtarHameed Khan(July 15, 1914 – October 09, 1999) was a Nobel Prize-nominated, innovative social scientist who pioneered ideas around microfinance, participatory/rural development, and women’s empowerment as a founder of the Bangladesh (previously Pakistan) Academy for Rural Development (BARD) and the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP). According to Historian and Scholar NasimYousaf (biographer and nephew of Dr. A.H. Khan), “Khan Sahib’s innovations were not made in a standard scientific laboratory; rather, they were the result of years of experiments in the field, including in-depth observation and extensive organizational/communication efforts working directly with the impoverished.”
Dr. Khan’s methods proved so successful, that they were widely replicated. Today, a large number of organizations in different parts of the world (including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, founded by American billionaire Bill Gates along with his wife) support initiatives that have either leveraged or replicated concepts initially pioneered by Dr. Khan at BARD and OPP. Books and articles in scholarly journals, newspapers, and magazines have also examined his works. For instance, Professor Richard E. Boyatzis and ProfessorMasudKhawaja (from American and Canadian universities respectively) jointly wrote a piece entitled “How Dr. AkhtarHameed Khan Led a Change Process That Started a Movement,” which was published in 2014 in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.
Through his innovations, Dr. AkhterHameed Khan has earned the respect of both the East and the West. He is a source of inspiration for all Muslims and non-Muslimsand proof that the world can be changed through research, innovation, and dedication to improving the lives of the masses.