Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2002
Sobhan was born in Calcutta on 12 March, 1935. He was educated at St. Pauls School,
Darjeeling (1942-50), Aitichison College, Lahore (1951-52) and Cambridge University
(1953-56) where he was award an MA in Economics. He began his working career on the
faculty of Economics, Dhaka University in 1957 and retired as Professor of Economics in
1977. He served as Member, Bangladesh Planning Commission (with the rank of a State
Minister), in charge of the Divisions of Industry, Power and Natural Resources, and of
Physical Infrastructure (1972-74), as Chairman, Research Director, Director General and
Emeritus Fellow, BIDS from (1974-93) and as a Visiting Fellow, Queen Elizabeth House,
Oxford (1976-79). He was a Member, of the Advisory Council of the President of Bangladesh
(with the rank of a Cabinet Minister) in charge of the Ministry of Planning and the
Economic Relations Division (1991). He was the founder and Executive Chairman of Centre
for Policy Dialogue (CPD) from 1994-1999. Currently he is the Chairman of CPD and
Executive Director, South Asia Centre for Policy Studies (SACEPS).
Professor Sobhan has held a number of important professional positions. He was a Member of the Panel of Economists to review the Third (1965) and Fourth (1970) Five Year Plans of Pakistan, Editor, Pakistan Economic Journal (1963-66) and Editor, Forum, a weekly, (1969-71). He served as Envoy Extraordinary with special responsibility for Economic Affairs, Govt. of Bangladesh during 1971, as President, Bangladesh Economic Association (1983-85), as a Member, Bangladesh National Commission on Money, Banking and Finance (1987), as a Member, U.N. Committee for Development Planning (1982-86), as a Member, Governing Council of the U.N. University, Tokyo (1986-91), as a Member of the Commission for a New Asia, Kuala Lumpur (1994), as a Member of the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva (1991-97), as Member of the Executive Committee of the International Economic Association (1994-99), as Member of the Group of Emminent Persons appointed by the SAARC Heads of State to review the future of SAARC (1994), as Chairman, South Asia Centre for Policy Studies (1997-2000), as a member of the High Level Panel on the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the LDCs set up by the United Nations (2000) and as Advisor to the Ministry of Planning and National Development, Republic of the Maldives on the 6th Five Year Plan of the Maldives (2000/2001). He is currently Chairman of the Board of Grameen Bank, Member of the BIDS Board of Trustees, a Member of the Executive Committee of the Coalition for Action on South Asian Cooperation (CASAC), a member of the Board of Trustees of the Freedom Foundation, Bangladesh and Chairman of the Pratichi Trust (Bangladesh) set up by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.
He has served as an expert or on Committees/Working Groups set up by UNDP, ESCAP, UNCTAD, FAO, ILO, UNIDO, the South Commission, OECD, International Centre for Public Enterprise, NORAD and SIDA.
He has published 26 books, 15 research monographs and 130 articles published in professional journals. His principal publications include: Public Enterprise in an Intermediate Regime, The Crisis of External Dependence: The Political Economy of Foreign Aid to Bangladesh, Debt Default and the Crisis of State Sponsored entrepreneurship in Bangladesh, Planning and Public Action for Asian Women, Rethinking the Role of the State in Development: Asian Perspectives, Bangladesh: Problems of Governance, Agrarian Reform and Social Transformation, Aid Dependence and Donor Policy: The Case of Tanzania, Transforming Eastern South Asia and Rediscovering the Southern Silk Route.