Global economic and political conditions have undergone unprecedented changes with post-GATT global trade and investment liberalizations. Democracy at home and globalization externally have now created for Bangladesh vast opportunities for accelerated economic and social development, and for eradication of the curse of poverty with all its malaise within the shortest possible time. To attain its modest objectives, however, Bangladesh will have to meet many challenges, and overcome many hazards and pitfalls.... Capacity-building for seizing the opportunities and meeting the challenges will require many changes, some definitely painful, in our administrative and political institutions, economic and financial structures, and also in our social and community ethos and behaviour. True, there are now many proponents of changes of both indigenous and exotic varieties. However, most of them are apt to suffer from either of two limitations, or even both. Some propose changes based solely on theoretical and academic points of view with little or no practical notion about social realities; others do the same from limited knowledge and experience confined to a particularly narrow sector, drawing upon lessons that are not generally applicable to the social or economic realities of the polity in its entirety. Abdul Awal Mintoo has the rare distinction of overcoming the confines of both of those two categories. It will be hard to accuse him of either preaching from an ivory tower or being too narrowly specialized in his studies and experience.
Abdul Awal Mintoo was born in 1949 in Aleyarpur, a small and remote village in Feni district of Bangladesh. He belongs to a family of landowners who initiated his primary education in the village school. He later pursued high school and college education in Feni, Comilla and in the Juldia Marine Academy in the port city of Chittagong. As a merchant marine officer between 1968 to 1971, he traveled along coasts of four continents. During the Bangladesh liberation struggle in 1971, he sought political asylum in the United States where he pursued his higher studies. He received BSc degree in transportation science (1973) and MSc in transportation management (1977) from the Maritime College, State University of New York. Having served