Chief Advisor

Professor Abul Barkat, PhD

Professor Abul Barkat, PhD
Chief Advisor, Human Development Research Centre

Abul Barkat, PhD, is one of the most illustrious professors of Economics in Bangladesh. He is a Professor and former Chairman of the Department of Economics, and Professor and Founding Chairman of the Department of Japanese Studies, Dhaka University. In the Indian sub-continent, Professor Barkat is popularly known as the ‘People’s Economist’.

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 500 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, ‘Justice Ibrahim Memorial Gold Medal – was conferred on him twice (1999 and 2004). He received University Grants Commission (UGC) Gold Medal (2017) to recognise his ingenious contribution to the world of knowledge. Among many other awards, notable ones include Jahanara Imam Memorial Gold Medal-2012- in recognition of his research on fundamentalism and secularism, Mercantile bank Gold Medal-2008- to recognise original research in Economic Sciences.

Professor Barkat’s research works and interest covers a broad spectrum of development discourse including the political economy of human development in a globalised economy; the nexus of poverty-inequality-deprivation; theory of decent society-decent economy-decent state; criminalisation of economy with particular focus on politics, rent-seeking and inequality; informal economy, black money and money laundering; land-water-forest rights; agrarian reform; developmental rights of marginalised peoples; governance, decentralisation 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 globalisation; poverty of economic sciences; impacts of COVID-19 on inequality and poverty.

Currently, Dr Barkat is the elected President of Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA) – an Association of over 5,000 member-economists and the largest professional civil society body in Bangladesh. He was the elected General Secretary four times consecutively and the elected President three times (including the current one) successively in the BEA. He is the Chief Advisor of Human Development Research Centre (HDRC), a proven leader in socio-economic research in Bangladesh since 1999. Dr Barkat is the Founder Chairman of ‘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. They won the million-dollar 2007 Grainger Challenge Prize from the National Academy of Engineering, USA. He founded the MuktoBuddhi publishers- a small publishing house dedicated to publishing the free, unfettered intellect. Barkat was the Chairman of Janata Bank Limited, the largest State-owned Commercial Bank of 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 recognised think tank- Transformation, Integration and Globalization Economic Research (TIGER) chaired by the 1996-Laureate of Nobel Peace Prize- Jose Ramos-Horte.

Barkat actively participates in public intellectualism. He is widely known for his uncompromising and courageous role in the unending struggle against human deprivation and all types of fundamentalism and extremism. He has participated in numerous seminars and conferences held in 70 countries of the world.

Dr Barkat was born in Kushtia, Bangladesh, on 27th September 1954. He 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. He is a proud Freedom Fighter of the Great Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. He joined the Economics Department of the University of Dhaka in 1982.

Professor Barkat lives in the Dhaka University Campus with his three loving daughters- Aroni, Anokhi and Abonti. His beloved wife, Professor Dr Shahida Akhter (59) – an eminent neonatologist- passed away on 1st May 2021. Click here to see the biography of Prof. Abul Barkat.

One can reach Dr Abul Barkat directly at—