by Julia Kyles

A few days after his May 16 inauguration, Mayor Fazlul Kabir woke up at 5:30 a.m., attended the city’s Bike to Work Day event at city hall, then rode back to his home office in North College Park and started his day job with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Kabir’s show of energy and community engagement won’t come as a surprise to city residents who already know him. Kabir has been eagerly connecting with residents since he joined the North College Park Civic Association (NCPCA) in 2006, three years after he moved to the city. 

College Park mayor Fazlul Kabir 02
Fazlul Kabir became the mayor of College Park on May 16.
Courtesy of Juliette Fradin

“I’m a very hyper-local person. The thing I enjoy most is talking to a neighbor on his or her porch and talking about some problems or some issues and see[ing] how to solve them or get things done. Just to see some kind of smile on my neighbor’s face, that’s the kind of thing I really enjoy,” Kabir said during an interview with the Here & Now. “I don’t consider myself a career politician; I like the public service part of it. That’s the reason I’m here,” he added.

In October 2009, Kabir launched a blog ( to inform residents about issues and events in the city and ran for the District 1 seat on the city council. He lost that election but ran again in 2011, winning the seat by two votes. “I’m glad I made that decision, because once I became a city councilmember, I’m very fortunate and very grateful that I started to earn the trust from the community and the neighbors and the residents,” he said.

Kabir, who grew up in Bangladesh, has undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from  the University of Manchester, in the United Kingdom. He, his wife and their two sons moved to College Park in 2003. His 20 years here have allowed Kabir to connect to the city in meaningful ways. “[College Park] is very diverse and very inclusive and welcoming. People are very friendly,” he said. “This is a place that I can call home.”

Kabir credits the NCPCA for much of his early community engagement — helping his neighbors with community cleanups, winter clothing drives, snow removals and yard work. 

“So I was a little busy,” he laughed. 

The NCPCA also gave Kabir opportunities to work with city and community leaders and served as a springboard for his years with the city council. “It was a … natural transition for me to move to a city council position. Because the thing that I was more interested in doing was getting in touch with the community and serving them,” he said. 

Kabir’s considerable experience campaigning served him well in his run for mayor. “I really enjoy campaigning. The part I really enjoy is door knocking and talking to the people one on one,” he said. “It’s a wonderful experience.” During his campaign, Kabir visited every street in every neighborhood in the city. He underscored  that rebuilding community trust in city leadership is a key part of his mission. 

To that end, he has continued to do what comes naturally to him: being available to any resident who wants to talk. “I’m not missing any of the community events … I’ll be keeping in touch with the community every day and also meeting with the community leaders,” he said. Kabul plans to meet with university leaders as well as  county, state and federal officials. He will attend the annual national conference of mayors and the Maryland Municipal League Conference, both in June.

Kabir is looking forward to opening the city’s  new community meeting center in College Park Woods and breaking ground for the renovation of Duvall Field. He aims to launch  a free, online tutoring program for College Park students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. He is also focused on the city’s long-term strategic goals targeting education, senior services, traffic and the environment. “We are in the middle of the [current] five-year cycle. We have our performance evaluation guidelines and the performance measures and the numbers,” he noted. 

And there’s one more thing College Park residents can expect from the new mayor: He will continue to update his blog and send out news and updates. To join his email list, go to