Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury has an impressive track record in public service spanning two decades. Having begun his career in the private sector as an entrepreneur, Mr. Chowdhury embraced full-time politics in 1996 and has excelled in various roles in parliament, government, political party and sports administration.
He is a graduate of School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and holds a Joint Honors degree in Economics and Politics. He has also received a Diploma in Law from University of Westminster, United Kingdom having completed the Academic stage for entry to the Bar.
As a Parliamentarian
He is the 28th President of Inter-Parliamentary Union, having been elected to the position on 16th October 2014 for a term of 3 years. He is the first Bangladeshi to have been elected to this highest office of global parliamentary leadership.
For his outstanding contribution to democracy, global peace and development, IPU bestowed upon him the title of Honorary President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union upon completion of his term in October 2017.
Established in 1889 and currently headquartered in Geneva, IPU is the world organization of parliaments and is the focal point for worldwide parliamentary dialogue. IPU supports the efforts of and works in close cooperation with United Nations whose objectives its shares. It enjoys Permanent Observer status at the UN.
IPU’s current membership includes 174 national parliaments, having 46,000 members of parliaments who in turn represent about 7 billion people across the world.
For his exceptional and outstanding leadership in promoting inter-parliamentary relations, Mr. Chowdhury has been recognized with highest State Awards – Order of Friendship - from the Russian Federation in 2017 and Vietnam in 2018 – the first President of the IPU in its 128-year history to be so decorated.
Mr. Chowdhury is a Member of High Level Steering Group - Every Woman Every Child - a global movement to champion the health of women, children and adolescents led by the UN Secretary-Genera. The Group’s Members comprise leaders from governments around the world, international business community and philanthropists.
First elected as a Member of Parliament from a central constituency in Dhaka in June 1996, he has been prominent in the enactment, through Private Member Bills, of groundbreaking legislation such as repeal of the Leper’s Act (doing away with the segregation of lepers and facilitating their treatment and integration into society).
As a former prisoner of conscience (recognized by Amnesty International) who was subjected to repeated detention and custodial violence, he tabled and successfully piloted a Private Member Bill in Bangladesh’s Parliament - Torture & Custodial Death (Prohibition) Act, 2013 - in accordance with provisions of United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
He has also successfully initiated and promoted an amendment in Constitution of Bangladesh that now ensures protection of the environment and biodiversity for present and future generations.
Now serving his third term in the Parliament, he is Chair of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Jute and Textiles. He is also a Member of the Petition Committee and the Committee on Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives.
Much of his political effort, engagement and advocacy at national and international levels have focused on climate change, disaster risk reduction, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda.
As Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), championing the cause of international peace, he has urged that resources dedicated to nuclear weapons should be made available for development purposes.
As a parliamentarian, he has been very active at the constituency level where he has pioneered community initiatives on health care, tobacco control, youth empowerment, self-employment schemes, micro-credit (for women in particular) and legal aid.
As a Member of the Cabinet
Mr. Chowdhury served as Deputy Minister of Ministry of Ports & Shipping and, later, as Deputy Minister for Local Government, Rural Development & Cooperatives, one of Bangladesh’s largest development Ministries (1999-2001).
He was the youngest Member of the Cabinet during this period and is widely acknowledged for injecting dynamism and energy and adding new dimensions in the works of the Ministry.
At Political Party Level
Mr. Chowdhury was appointed in October 2001 as Political Secretary to President of Bangladesh Awami League, Sheikh Hasina, who was then the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
Shortly thereafter, he was elected Organizing Secretary (1) of the Party with responsibility for Dhaka Division that accounts for 90 of Bangladesh’s 300 electoral constituencies. Bangladesh Awami League won all of these 90 seats in the December 2008 elections. He continued in both these positions till 2009.
As a Sports Administrator
Mr. Chowdhury’s inspiring vision and leadership as President of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) from 1996-2001 was instrumental in the country’s elevation to Full Membership (attainment of Test Status) of the International Cricket Council and cricket’s transformation as Bangladesh’s most popular sport.
In 2000, BCB (under Mr. Chowdhury’s Presidency) was recognized with Bangladesh's highest national honor, Independence Award.
In 2003, he was awarded Honorary Life Membership by Marylebone Cricket Club of Lords, England, in recognition of his services to world cricket.