Alumnus honored with 2020 Diana Award

July 07, 2020

Shah Rafayat Chowdhury, a 2018 graduate of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been honored with the 2020 Diana Award, which is regarded as one of the most prestigious accolades young individuals can receive for their social and humanitarian work. 

Chowdhury is co-founder and president of Footsteps Bangladesh, a development focused social enterprise whose mission is to address some of the most complicated problems facing Bangladesh, including access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and climate disaster responses. To date, the organization has implemented more than 13 social ventures and campaigns, impacting more than 100,000 people across 15 districts in Bangladesh.

Chowdhury designed the organization’s flagship “Project Trishna” that encourages corporations to fund safe water systems in marginalized communities, especially for children in schools, in return for corporate branding and promotion. To date, Project Trishna has impacted more than 75,000 people, including 14,000 children in 42 primary schools across Dhaka, Chattogram and Tangail in Bangladesh.

"Being recognized with an award in honor of Princess Diana's memory is truly a humbling experience. This award will definitely inspire more youth to come forward in the field of community development, and I hope together we can work together to create not only a better Bangladesh, but also a better world," says Chowdhury.

According to the Diana Award website, the award takes place every two years and celebrates the achievements of outstanding young leaders, visionaries and role models from across the world, who have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilize new generations to service their communities, as Princess Diana believed they could.

The Diana Award was established in memory of Princess Diana in 1999. With a vision to empower youth, it celebrates individuals around the world for their notable contributions to society. Chowdhury received the award during a virtual ceremony on July 1 where Princess Diana’s son Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, announced the 2020 award recipients.

Last Updated July 08, 2020