Iqbal Quadir Biography
Sun Sign: Leo
Born in: Jessore District
Famous as: Founder of Grameenphone
Founder/Co-Founder: Grameenphone, Emergence BioEnergy, Legatum Center at MIT
education: Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Iqbal Z. Quadir is the founder of Gonofone and Grameenphone. Inspired by his upbringing as an impoverished youth in rural Bangladesh, he recognized the need for better communication between citizens and providers of goods and services. He completed two Masters Degrees at the University of Pennsylvania and worked for several international financial companies before founding Gonofone and Grameenphone. Through Grameenphone, Quadir used mobile devices to provide a national communication system to the people of Bangladesh. Quadir has taught at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT, he established the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship. He created numerous foundations to benefit the rural poor in third world nations, one of which funded an essay competition that led to the genesis of a method that extracts arsenic from water and soil. Financial Aid from first world nations frequently fails developing nations in the long term due to the fact that the source of funding is a crutch rather than a solution to the problems the citizens of the country face. Quadir's efforts to empower the underprivileged have allowed millions of people to earn a larger income which in turn enables them to provide basic comforts for their families.
- Iqubal Quadir was born in Narail, Jessore, Bangladesh on August 13, 1958, to Anwarul Quadir, who was a lawyer. His siblings include Kamal and Khalid Quadir, pioneers in the financial and public service sectors.
- He completed secondary school at the Jhenidah Cadet College, a military boarding school located in Jhenidah, Bangladesh.
- Quadir and his siblings pursued advanced education in the United States after the death of their father in 1972.
- In 1981, he graduated with honors from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, with a Bachelors of Science degree.
- Between 1983 and 1987, he earned Master of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
- He moved steadily upward through the financial business world from 1983 to 1993, starting as a consultant for World Bank and eventually becoming the vice president of the Atrium Capital Corporation.
- In a joint partnership with GrameenBank, Quadir established Grameenphone in 1997 which provided the citizens of Bangladesh with their first national communication system.
- As a fellow at Harvard University's Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government from 2001 to 2005, he led graduate courses focused on technology's influence in developing nations.
- Quadir transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which allowed him to found and serve as director for the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship.
- He co-organized Innovations in 2006, a periodical that documents philanthropy of significance.
- He created Emergence Bio-Energy Incorporated to establish small power plants to generate energy for rural Bangladeshians, of whom 70% have no access to the national electricity grid.
- In 2010, Quadir developed Money in Motion which provides mobile based financial services.
- CleanWater, one of Quadir's newer projects, focuses on removing arsenic from drinking water using a chemical preparation rather than expensive equipment.
- Another innovation, CellBazaar, is similar to Craigslist in that it puts prospective sellers in touch with buyers but through a simple text messaging system.
- He established the Anwarul Quadir Foundation in 2004 to encourage modernization in Bangladesh. The group created an essay competition that would lead one of its participants to evolve a method to extract arsenic from water and soil.
- He was recognized by the World Economic Forum in 1999 as a Global Leader of Tomorrow for his innovative leadership approach in expanding horizons for the citizens of Bangladesh.
- Quadir received the Rotary Club of Metropolitan Dhaka’s 2006 Science, Education and Economic Development Award for generating Bangladeshi telephone access.
- In 2007, his graduate alma mater recognized him as one of 125 Influential People and Ideas.
- Quadir's efforts in the creation of Grameenphone brought international recognition to the idea that investments which create industry in developing countries propagate large scale change for the nation's citizens.
- He is part of the board of directors for the World Wide Web Foundation, an organization that champions affordable and uncensored internet access.
- Quadir is also on the board of the Global Fairness Initiative which contributes efforts to provide economic advancement to the working poor.
- Through his work at the Legatum Center, Iqbal Quadir has been able to continue expanding entrepreneurial development programs in low income countries.
- He has been acknowledged as one of the first innovators to recognize the affect that mobile technology could have on third world countries.
- His innovative economic approach has been referred to in many publications and was primarily sourced in ‘You Can Hear Me Now’ by Nicholas Sullivan.
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