Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Lecture, Oslo, December 10, 2006  
“Poverty is a Threat to Peace”
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U.S. Congress Hearing on “Bangladesh’s Fracture: Political and Religious Extremism”
On April 30, 2015, the U.S. Congress Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific held a hearing on
Bangladesh’s Fracture: Political and Religious Extremism. The Subcommittee expressed anxiety
over Bangladesh’s political instability as it would serve as a breeding ground for religious
extremism and militancy.
LEARN MORE ---> (links to video of the hearing)
April 2, 2015: New BDRC Working Paper examines impact of ICT on health services in
This study by Fatema Khatun and Mst. Rokshana Khanam Sima applies the simple random
sampling method to primary data collected from Hobiganj Adhunik Zila Sadar Hospital to
examine the impact of existing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on health
services in Bangladesh. The study finds that the existing ICT health services do not meet the
demand of the people. Traditional and insufficient equipment is one of the main problems. The
study also finds some other challenges, including unskilled manpower, inadequacy of ICT
infrastructure, and a lack of financial support from the government. Despite these deficits, the
study finds that the use of ICT has a positive impact on the provision of health services in
March 25, 2015: UC Berkeley first US university to house a center for Bangladesh
Improving garment-industry safety, designing apps to solve social problems and gathering data
on antibiotic-resistant bacteria found on fruits and vegetables: These are among the innovative
research projects made possible by UC Berkeley’s new Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for
Bangladesh Studies. Monday, March 30, marks the official opening of the center.
February 23, 2015: Bangladesh Burning
An Opinion by K. Anis Ahmed, published by The Wall Street Journal, provides an update on
Bangladesh’s current political crisis. More than 100 Bangladeshis have been killed in political
violence since last month, mostly through petrol-bombing of commuter buses and three-wheeler
motorized rickshaws.
Next BDI conference from November 6-8, 2015 at UC at Berkeley
Bangladesh Development Initiative (BDI) is organizing a two-day international conference to
generate new ideas and strategies for transforming Bangladesh into a prosperous nation in the
early decades of the 21st century. Call for Papers.
February 9, 2015: Mapping Bangladesh's Political Crisis
A new Report by the International Crisis Group analyzes Bangladesh's current political crisis.
The report states: “With the two largest mainstream parties unwilling to work toward a new
political compact that respects the rights of both opposition and victor to govern within the rule
of law, extremists and criminal networks could exploit the resulting political void.”
January 5, 2015: BDRC Working Paper is in SSRN Top 10 Downloaded
One of the papers of the BDRC’s Working Paper Series has been in the top 10 list of ALL TIME
papers downloaded within the PSN: Labor (Topic). Between July 1, 2009 and January 5, 2015,
BDRWPS No. 8 has been downloaded 315 times.
January 4, 2015: New BDRC Working Paper examines accountability and transparency
at local level finance
This study by Md. Anwar Hossain examines the degree of accountability and transparency of
local level finance in three unions of Sylhet Sadar Upazila. It is based on interviews and focus
group discussions with general people and government representatives, as well as a detailed
review of the existing literature.
December 31, 2014: BB expects Bangladesh economy to grow at 6.5 percent
As reported in the Daily Star (of December 31, 2014, page B1), the country’s central bank
(Bangladesh Bank) expects Bangladesh’s economy to grow at least at 6.5 percent in fiscal year
2014-15. BB also vowed to contain inflation, to improve investor confidence, and to enforce that
banks embrace the culture of disbursing quality loans.
December 30, 2014: VAT Law Delayed by Another Year
As reported in the Daily Star (of December 30, 2014, page B1), the National Board of Revenue
has extended the deadline for implementing the contentious value-added tax (VAT) law by a
year to July 2016. The reasons given were delays in software procurement and opposition from
businesses. The disclosure comes after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded an
official roadmap for the implementation of the VAT law before it releases the sixth installment of
the US$1 billion Extended Credit Facility.
December 06, 2014: Increasing Government Control Over Grameen Bank Will Hardly
Serve Bangladesh
In a feature story of The Diplomat, Niaz Asadullah and Zaki Wahhaj write that increasing state
control over Grameen Bank will hardly serve the interests of Bangladesh. When it comes to
gender equality, Bangladesh ranks above all South Asian countries and Muslim-majority
nations in Asia. The foundation for women’s development was laid by non-state actors.
Bangladesh’s microfinance pioneer Professor Muhammad Yunus saw women as the key agent
of social change nearly four decades ago when gender development was yet to be recognized
in the country’s development agenda. In later years, NGOs like Grameen Bank and BRAC not
only championed development schemes that targeted women, they also employed hundreds of
thousands of women at the community levels to deliver health, family planning and education
services. However this unique collaboration between the state and NGOs for women’s
development is now under threat.

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