The BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) (formed through a merger of the Institute of Governance Studies and BRAC Development Institute) at BRAC University is a centre of research and academic excellence. Apart from a number of prestigious post-graduate academic courses, BIGD is also devoted to research on the entire range of governance concerns as they relate to development while also conducting research on a range of development issues centred mainly on Bangladesh.
BIGD is also a resource centre for promoting research and creating knowledge in areas of governance, economic growth, political economy, urbanisation, gender issues, sustainable development, and regional studies. For the BIGD, the concept of governance is best defined as the sum total of the institutions and processes by which society orders and conducts its collective or common affairs.
BRAC, one of the largest NGOs in the world and the sponsor of BRAC University has active in conceptualizing and delivering innovative, practical effective development solutionsas well applied research on development since 1972. The need for an exclusive institute equipped with the most recent innovations and practices in public policy and management of the contemporary world for the future leaders of Bangladesh became obvious in the 21st century. BRAC University established the then ‘Centre for Governance Studies’ in 2005. Since July 2007, the ‘Institute of Governance Studies - IGS’ was a pioneering institute on governance in Bangladesh, offering a post-graduate degree, professional training, and undertaking research in areas of governance and development.
Dr. Akbar Ali Khan was the Institute's first Director from 2005-2006. Barrister Manzoor Hasan OBE, who was involved with the establishment of IGS and was its first international Director, took over the position of Director in November 2006 and continued until 2011. In April 2011, Dr. Rizwan Khair took charge of the Institute with Barrister Manzoor Hasan remaining its Advisor, until the merger.
BRAC University also established the BRAC Development Institute (BDI) in 2008 for promoting research and developing knowledge on practical solutions to issues of poverty, inequity, gender issues and social injustice. Professor Syed M Hashemi was the Founder-Director of the Institute upto the merger.
In 2013, the BRAC University Board of Trustees merged the two prestigious institutes into BRAC Institute of Governance and Development with a view to transforming the institute into a regional centre of research on governance and development issues and to provide a space for academics and practitioners to come together to raise critical questions on development; to make a better and unified institute as governance and development are interrelated; to provide lessons on good practices; to advocate for pro-poor policies; and undertake robust research initiatives in areas of governance and development.
Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, a reputed economist, the former Director General of Asian Development Bank (ADB) and prior to that at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies took the helm as Executive Director of the newly established BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) in 2013, to manage and lead forward the transitional phase of the merger of IGS and BDI between the IGS and BDI, following a decision of the Board of Trustees of BRAC University.