Celebrating Iqbal Quadir '81, Mobile Phone Architect of Bangladesh

Iqbal Quadir '81

At Swarthmore's 2011 commencement, Quadir received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. 

Daze Info (India)Happy Birthday Iqbal Quadir ['81]: The Mobile Phone Architect of Bangladesh

“Connectivity is productivity”

The phrase may appear simple, though it has a far reach. Poverty being a humongous enemy of the growing populace, connectivity aids the fight against poverty, especially in the developing countries. The thought of the visionary gave birth to a mobile phone revolution in one of Asia's developing nations. 

Iqbal Z. Quadir, the founder of Grameenphone and Gonofone

Date of Birth: August 13, 1958

Here are some less wellknown yet interesting facts about the architect of a close and connected Bangladesh on his 57th birth anniversary. ...

From Bangladesh, he earned a degree from Swarthmore College and MBA from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He dreamed of an innovative venture of development in emergent countries. The concept of Grameenphone evolved when the visionary faced some hard times trying to connect his computer in New York City with his childhood experience in 1971 of losing a day in search of a doctor in another village. His experience culminated in the conception of Grameenphone in 1993 and he co-founded the venture in 1995.

In the initial days of Grameenphone, a group of Americans backed the project with $1.65 million, which eight years later was worth $33 million. Grameenphone stockholders include Telenor, Grameen Telecom, and Marubeni.

Jeffrey Sachs, an American economist and director of Earth Institute at Columbia University, said that Grameenphone "opened the world’s eyes to expanding the use of modern telecommunications technologies in the world’s poorest places."

Read the full profile.

Quadir graduated from Swarthmore in 1981 with honors in engineering, later earning an M.A. in applied economics and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as senior research associate of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, lectured at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and was appointed a fellow of Harvard's Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government. In 2007, he founded the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT. At Swarthmore's 2011 commencement, Quadir received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters