Home > About us > Leadership > Runa Khan

Runa Khan

Runa Khan – Founder and Executive Director

Runa Khan, an Ashoka fellow and Schwab Foundation social entrepreneur, is the Founder and Executive Director of Friendship. Friendship was founded drawing upon Runa Khan’s wide range of practical experiences of teaching, setting up small businesses, tourism, and communication among others. She is a published author with eight books, six on pedagogy and two on children’s stories.  She is the Board Member of Global Dignity and Country Chair of Global Dignity Bangladesh and the Founder of Friendship International that is working in four European countries, fundraising and building relationships for Friendship in Bangladesh.

Her work is based on simple logic, empathy, respect, deep sense of justice and innovation. She received several international awards and recognition, including Green Award by Positive Planet (2016), Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneur Award (2012), IDB Award for contribution toward Women in development (2008), Rolex Awards for Entrepreneurship (2006), and Ashoka Fellowship (1994).


Friendship Centre receives 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Designed by architect Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury, the center is a rural training centre.

The Economist asks Ms Khan about the role of the private sector in improving healthcare services for under-served communities – Q&A commissioned by United Nations Foundation.

National Geographic features article about Friendship in celebration of 40th Anniversary of Rolex Awards for Enterprise.

 Runa Khan gives TEDx Talk in Luxembourg: exploring the definition of success and failure.



A relatively simple operation is often all that is needed to save or dramatically improve a life. Help Friendship’s hospital ships continue to bring life-saving health services to Bangladesh’s marginalised men, women and children.

“Human – Runa Khan’s interview”

Filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand spent 3 years collecting real-life stories from 2,000 women and men in 60 countries. Yann captures deeply personal and emotional accounts of topics that unite us all. Watch Runa Khan’s (CEO of Friendship Bangladesh) interview here.