Aeshna Badruzzaman has been fascinated by Bangladesh — its politics, economics, and development priorities — since her undergraduate days at the University of California, Berkeley, where she double-majored in development studies and economics. She also has a deep personal connection, as it’s the country where her parents were born and where she visited regularly growing up.
Her research focuses on the complex relationships between the Bangladeshi government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)— international nonprofits assisting with everything from education to public health to the effects of climate change. One critical question she seeks to answer is how the state influences the NGOs’ priorities, and vice versa. Badruzzaman hopes her research will help ensure that NGOs are working effectively in Bangladesh and truly helping the people they’re serving. Her work has implications for other countries as well.
Her research has taken her to Bangladesh, in South Asia, several times for months-long visits, where she has interviewed government officials, NGOs, and funders and developed a nuanced view of the situation on the ground. Hearing their stories and viewpoints has been one of the most rewarding parts of her work. Badruzzaman also thoroughly enjoys teaching, and following her graduation in 2019, she accepted an appointment as a full-time visiting lecturer at Northeastern.