Professor Abul Barkat Ph.D
Abul Barkat (27 September 1954, Kushtia, Bangladesh), a freedom fighter, is one of the most illustrious Professors of Economics in Bangladesh, conferred with "The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon-2022" by the government of the People's Republic of Japan for his pioneering contribution to laying the foundation of Japanese Studies in the academic sphere in Bangladesh. He is the recipient of the highly prestigious "International Economic Association Fellow Award 2022" for his contribution to economic sciences.
Professor Barkat is popularly known as the 'People's Economist' for his outstanding works on the causes of poverty and inequality, which led to the development of practical solutions for preventing and illuminating the root of poverty. He was a Professor and former Chairman of the Department of Economics, and a Professor and Founding Chairman of the Department of Japanese Studies, at Dhaka University.
Professor Barkat's research works and interests cover a broad spectrum of development discourse, including the political economy of human development in a globalized economy; the nexus of poverty-inequality-deprivation; theory of decent society-decent economy-decent state; criminalization of economy with a particular focus on politics, rent-seeking, and inequality; informal economy, black money, and money laundering; land-water-forest rights; agrarian reform; developmental rights of marginalized peoples; governance, decentralization and development; health and population economics; economics of fundamentalism; women and gender; migration and development; political economy of tobacco-taxation; economics of inadequate sanitation; alternative national budget; economic nationalism vis-a-vis globalization; poverty of economic sciences; impacts of COVID-19 on inequality and poverty.
Professor Barkat is one of the most reputed and respected political economists in and beyond Bangladesh. As an erudite scholar and invincible social thinker, he has over 800 high-quality research works to his credit, including research books, edited volumes, journal articles, monographs, public speeches, convocation speeches, and thought-provoking papers for national and international conferences on multidimensional issues of humane development. In recognition of his path-breaking research, a prestigious award from the University of Dhaka, 'The Justice Ibrahim Memorial Gold Medal,' was conferred on him twice (1999 and 2004). He received University Grants Commission (UGC) Gold Medal (2017) to recognize his ingenious contribution to the world of knowledge. Among many other notable awards include the Jahanara Imam Memorial Gold Medal 2012, recognition of his research on fundamentalism and secularism, and the Mercantile Bank Gold Medal 2008 for his original research in Economic Sciences.
He has been consecutively elected General Secretary and President four times (including the current one) in the BEA. He is the Chief Advisor of the Human Development Research Centre (HDRC), a proven leader in socio-economic research in Bangladesh. Dr Barkat is the Founder Chairman of 'The Abul Barkat Peace and Progress Foundation (ABPPF)'. As President of Manob Sakti Unnayan Kendra (MSUK), an NGO in Bangladesh, Dr Barkat is actively involved with the socio-economic analysis and free distribution of Arsenic Removing Filter designed with outstanding technology- the Sono Filter. He founded the MuktoBuddhi publishers, a house dedicated to publishing the free, unfettered intellect. He was the Chairman of Janata Bank Limited (2009-2014), the largest State-owned Commercial Bank in Bangladesh. He is one of the founders of the Dhaka School of Economics. Currently, Dr Barkat is nominated for a ten-year term (2021-2030) as the Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the globally recognized thinktank- Transformation, Integration and Globalization Economic Research (TIGER) chaired by the 1996-Laureate of Nobel Peace Prize- Jose Ramos-Horta.
He is altruistic, modest, good-natured and averse to publicity. He is well-known for his graceful and heart-warming manners with people from all walks of life. He is used to living a simple life. He has genuine compassion and profound love for poor people. His favourite hobby is reading books on the economics and social history of different countries and books on national and international politics.
Late Dr. Abul Quasem & Mst. Nurun Nahar's third child Professor Barkat completed his MSc (Economics) and PhD (Political Economy) from Moscow Plekhanov Institute of National Economy (currently renamed as Plekhanov All Russian University of Economics, Russian Federation), Moscow, USSR. His wife late, Dr Shahida Akhter, FCPS, was an eminent neonatologist and professor of paediatrics in Bangladesh. He is the father of three loving daughters- Aroni, Ambreen and Abonti.