Hossain Zillur Rahman

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Hossain Zillur Rahman is an academic, economist and policy maker from Bangladesh. By training an eminent economist and a political sociologist, Hossain Zillur Rahman is renowned as a poverty and governance specialist of the country. He led the drafting of the poverty reduction strategy of the government in 2005 and was a member of the Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation (ISACPA). He founded the Dhaka-based think-tank Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC)in 1996 and prior to that was for over twenty years a leading researcher at the Bangladesh Institute of development Studies. On 9 January 2008, he was appointed as an adviser (cabinet minister) to the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh, led by Fakhruddin Ahmed and was entrusted with the ministries of commerce and education. He served in this capacity till evening of 6 January 2009. He brokered between the army-controlled Caretaker government and the two major political parties, Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) till election was held on 29 December 2008. He is credited with a lead role in the successful return of Bangladesh to electoral democracy. In April,2009 he was elected the President of the Dhaka University Economics Department Alumi Association DUEDAA. In November 2009, he was awarded the Dr. John Meyer Global Citizenship Award by Tufts University, Boston, USA. He is currently the Executive Chairman of the Power and Participation Research centre (PPRC)and leads major research on inclusive growth, urbanization, social protection and quality education.


Born in Chittagong, Hossain Zillur Rahman took his Senior Cambridge examinations from the P.A.F. College, Sargodha in Pakistan and higher secondary certificate from Faujdarhat Cadet College in Chittagong, Bangladesh. He then studied Economics at the Dhaka University for his Bachelors and Masters. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the Manchester University, 1986. His PhD research focused on the sociology of colonial rule and emergence of the state in Bangladesh. He studied power, property and institutions those are new area of Economics. In his long career he brought the poverty related issues as a core research area. He has conducted many research projects in the area of poverty alleviation, governance, institutional development, political development and change. He is an expert of understanding the governing process, poverty trends and social change. He was an INSPIRE Fellow at the Institute for Global Leadership, Tufts University, USA during October–November, 2009.[1]

Works and achievement[edit]

Dr. Rahman founded the Power and Participatory Research Centre in 1996 and worked as Executive Chairman of that organization, until appointment as an Advisor to the government,.[1] He worked on Board of Advisors of Digital Network, a think tank on Information Technology.[2] Previously he worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies.[3] He was a Member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Independent Commission on Poverty (ISACPA. He was the Coordinating author of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper for the government of Bangladesh (Unlocking the Potential, GOB, 2005) and was on the Board of Bangladesh Bank 9central bank of the country). He has been a consultant to various international and national organizations including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, the UK Department for International Development, Danish International Development Agency, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sustainable Development Commission, ActionAid, Japan International Cooperation Agency, International Food Policy Research Institute and Japan Bank for International Cooperation. He is also a Director of the Shrimp Foundation.[4] He has been a regular columnist for The Daily Star (Bangladesh) from 20 December 2011.[5]

Assignment in the Caretaker government[edit]

On 9 January 2008, Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman was appointed as an Advisor to the Caretaker government of Bangladesh that was established on 11 of January 2007. President Iajuddin Ahmed appointed the new adviser upon the chief adviser's advice.[6] Army chief General Moinuddin Ahmed recommended this appointment as they came from the same Alma Mater in Sargoda and had developed a relationship of mutual trust. On 10 January 2008 portfolio of the advisers was redistributed and he was given the charge of the Ministry of Commerce as well as the Ministry of Education. On appointment as an advisor to the government, Dr. Rahman commented : "We have taken up the tasks in a critical times. But we can succeed if we work together." He also added : "Reforms are going on at the national level. Prices are rising on the international market.... The main dimension of work was thought to be political, but now it seems it is economy-oriented." "We will try to work together. Let's see what happens," he added.[7] He played the most vital role in reaching an understanding between the Caretakker government on the one hand and the two main political parties, namely, Bangladesh Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party towards transition to democracy through a free and fair election held on 29 December 2008. His career as an advisor came to end on 6 January 2009 as a new government was formed. He was more a political advisor than a Commerce or Education advisor. He earned popularity as a very composed person who can make a press statement in an impressive way.

Research interests[edit]

Dr. Rahman led the internationally known Analysis of the Poverty Trends Project of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (1989–98). In addition to poverty alleviation, he takes profound interest in governance problems of the less developed countries. He is a social scientist with interest in the dynamics of the society and the reasons behind.


Hossain Zillur Rahman has 3 daughters with his wife Mahbooba Haque.


  • Safety Nets and Safety Ladders : Exploring a Comprehensive Approach to Social Protection in Bangladesh Outcome of a Policy Workshop, 2006 : Power and Participation Research Centre (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
  • Local Governance and Community Capacities : Search for New Frontiers, (Hossain Zillur Rahman with S. Aminul Islam), 2002: University Press Limited, Dhaka.
  • Local Governance in the New Century : A Search for New Frontiers,(In Balgla), edited by Hossion Zillur Rahman with Khondoker Shakhawat Ali, Pathak Shamabesh and PPRC, 2001, Dhaka.
  • Researching Poverty From the Bottom Up, Reflections on the Experience of the Programme for Research on Poverty Alleviation 1994-2002, edited by Hossion Zillur Raham with Khondoker Shakhawat Ali, PPRC and Grameen Trust, 2007, Dhaka.
  • Quality Improvements in Primary Education: Micro Insights for a Macro Agenda, Hossion Zillur Rahman with Khondoker Shakhawat Ali, PPRC Education Policy Brief-1, PPRC, 2005,Dhaka.
  • Rethinking Rural Poverty : Bangladesh as a Case Study (with Mahabub Hossain), 1995 : SAGE.
  • Rethinking Local Governance towards a Livelihoods Focus, 2001: POWER AND PARTICIPATION RESEARCH CENTRE.


  1. ^ a b Digital Network
  2. ^ DEN
  3. ^ BIDS Bangladesh
  4. ^ Untitled Document
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ e-mela.com:: Home of Bangladesh
  7. ^ The Bangladesh Journal - Bangladesh gets 5 new advisers for its caretaker government

External links[edit]