Mahbub ul Haq, the father of human development, shaped development philosophy and practice in over four decades. A biography has now been published as a tribute to his pioneering work of putting people back in the front of development.
The book; Pioneering the Human Development Revolution: An intellectual Biography of Mahbub ul Haq, edited by Khadija Haq and Richard Ponzio, was launched last week at UNDP in New York by Professor Amartya Sen, long time friend and colleague of the late Mahbub ul Haq. Sen talked about ul Haq's intellectual capacity, personal commitment and good communication skills. "Mahbub understood long before me that if we should succeed in communicating our message, we would need numbers and new statistics as a way of getting the media's and people's attention", Sen said.
Another of his friends and colleagues, Sir Richard Jolly, remembered Mahbub ul Haq for the opinion that "what we need today is not so much intellectual brilliance, but intellectual bravery".
Together with amongst others Amartya Sen and Richard Jolly, Mahbub ul Haq, founded the UNDP Human Development Report. Director of the Human Development Report Office, Jeni Klugman facilitated the launch, which was opened by Khadija Haq, President of Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre in Pakistan.
"Mahbub ul Haq initiated a global movement for people-centric development where education, health, and political and economic empowerment together became the yardstick for measuring a country's performance" Khadija Haq said. She also talked about the effect Mahbub ul Haq had on people. "In 1968 October, Mahbub became critically ill and the medical system in Pakistan at that time could not cope with his illness. President Ayub Khan, whose government Mahbub criticized earlier for crony capitalism, took the extraordinary steps to send Mahbub to London for treatment saying, we must save this national treasure".
After a career in shaping economic policies for his homeland, Pakistan as Finance Minister, influencing policies at the World Bank and other international development fora, Mahbub came to work for UNDP in the 1990s. "All the seeds of human development that had been growing in Mahbub's mind over the previous 30 years blossomed. Working with the Human Development Report gave Mahbub the world stage to propagate his ideas for human development, human security and women's empowerment. Finally, Mahbub had a home run!" Khadija Haq said. To read the full introduction by Khadija Haq click here.
About the book
Comprising essays of Haq's intellectual partners and colleagues, Pioneering the Human Development Revolution: An intellectual Biography of Mahbub ul Haq traces the evolution of his ideas, especially the links he established between economic growth, people's well being and poverty alleviation. Each essay situates and discusses his contribution to the larger development debate and assesses the impact of his ideas on the contemporary to the larger development debate and assesses the impact of his ideas on the contemporary global development agenda.
Üner Kırdar and Turkey’s role in developing Human Development
Sir Richard Jolly says, “Though praise properly goes to Mahbub ul Haq, the distinguished Pakistani economist, and to Professor Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate from India for their work in developing the concept and creating the report, they were not alone in emphasizing the need for development ‘to put people at the centre’. One was the visionary Turkish economist, Üner Kırdar, long a supporter of these ideas. In the 1980s, Dr. Kırdar as Director of UNDP’s Study Programme organized four meetings of the North South Roundtable, a high level symposium, on the theme of the Human dimension of Development. The first was held in Istanbul in 1985, resulting in a book, Human Development: the Neglected Dimension. A second symposium was held in Salzburg a year later and a third in 1987 in Budapest. These also resulted in short policy reports and later in books, Human Development, Adjustment and Growth and Managing Human Development, all three books were co-edited by Khadija Haq, the secretary of the NSRT and Üner Kırdar."
Üner Kırdar has long been a pioneer in development thinking and leadership of ideas in UNDP. A graduate of the Faculty of Law in Istanbul University, he had also studied at the LSE in London and obtained his doctorate in Cambridge, England for a study on The Structure of UN Economic Aid to Underdeveloped Countries. Though written over forty years ago, this study still retains a sense of vision and challenge for the future, emphasizing the widening gap between developed and developing countries, pressing the advantages of multilateral aid over bilateral assistance and exploring possibilities for a bridge between aid and international private investment. Dr. Kırdar has devoted most of his professional life to these causes within the United Nations. His work as one of the early visionaries behind the Human Development Report must count as one of his most successful achievements.
To learn more about Dr. Kırdar's latest book "Humanizing the Digital Age" please click here.