In the fall of 2008, the Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights at Colby College welcomed Oak Fellow Afsan Chowdhury of Bangladesh.

As a journalist, Chowdhury has worked on various issues, including sex education, sexual abuse, AIDS/STD awareness, children’s rights, refugee rights, minority identity, media rights, and – most recently – environmental rights.

In 1986-1994, Afsan was on the staff of UNICEF, where he worked on program communication and information activities.  During his time at UNICEF, he contributed greatly to policy documents on AIDS and the media in India and Nepal.  He was also named an Ashoka Fellow for his innovative work on sexual education among the Bangladeshi youth.

Recently, Chowdhury has carried out independent assignments on developmental media and management issues for multiple international organizations, includingUNDP and OXFAM.  He has also worked as the Regional Director for PanosSouth Asia, and the Director of Advocacy and Human Rights for the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), one of the world’s largest NGOs.

Afsan has written multiple books on health and environmental issues, refugees, and minority rights and identity.  Additionally, Chowdhury has extensive experience in the print and broadcast media. He has been on the editorial staff of or acted as a contributor to leading Bangladeshi newspapers and journals for more than 20 years, and has contributed frequently to the BBC World Service and the BBC South Asian Service.  He has also produced multiple video documentaries on social, political, and developmental issues in Bangladesh. His latest work to receive critical acclaim is a documentary film about climate change, “Who Cares if Bangladesh Drowns?”

Work at Colby

Afsan’s Publications:

Publications about Afsan:


Climate Change:


  • Learn about the turmoil in Burma
  • Watch an interview with Afsan about his opinion on the announcement of elections and a referendum by the Burmese Junta
Climate Change in the News