Chittagong, Bangladesh, 3 April 2012
AUW provides a world-class education to promising young women from diverse cultural, religious, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds from across South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
The Asian University for Women announced today that its Board of Trustees has unanimously appointed Dr. Fahima Aziz as the next Vice Chancellor of the University. Dr. Aziz, a US national of Bangladeshi origin, is a professor of economics and currently holds the Endowed Alkire Chair in International Business at Hamline University in Minnesota, USA. She is expected to arrive in Chittagong in early May.
Dr. Aziz obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, a Masters from the University of Massachusetts, and a PhD in from the University of Minnesota - all in economics. Dr. Aziz chaired the Departments of Management and Economics at Hamline University for ten years; she had concurrently led the environmental studies program there for seven years. In accepting the appointment as the Vice Chancellor of the Asian University for Women, Dr. Aziz commented: “I am drawn to AUW because of its mission to educate women for lives of leadership and service. I am a passionate supporter of women’s education and educational access in general. AUW embodies all of these values. I am very excited and look forward to working collaboratively with AUW’s dedicated faculty, staff and amazing students”.
The appointment of Dr. Fahima Aziz brings to a conclusion a seven-month international search that was carried out by the university to identify the best candidate possible for the leadership of the University. The search committee for the appointment of the Vice Chancellor was co-chaired by the University’s Chancellor and international human rights advocate Mrs. Cherie Blair and University trustee and the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr. Dipu Moni. Other members of the search committee included Mr. Kamal Ahmad, Acting Vice Chancellor of AUW; Dr. Amit Chakma, President of the University of Western Ontario in Canada; Dr. Meenakshi Gopinath, Principal of Lady Shri Ram College in India; Dr. Jane McAuliffe, President of Bryn Mawr College in the United States; and Dr. Sangita Rayamajhi, Professor of Humanities at the AUW. The international search firm of Russell Reynolds assisted with the search.
Dr. Aziz’s appointment has been warmly welcomed: Mrs. Cherie Blair, the University’s Chancellor who also co-chaired the search committee that made the recommendation for the appointment to the University’s Trustees, said: “I am delighted that Fahima Aziz has accepted AUW’s invitation to serve as Vice Chancellor. She will be a terrific leader for the university as well as a wonderful role model for our students. I look forward to working with her to make AUW into a greater success.” Professor Sheikha Al-Misnad, President of Qatar University and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of AUW commented: “AUW is fortunate to have Dr. Aziz as its incoming Vice Chancellor. She will bring to AUW her deep commitment to liberal arts education. Her knowledge and understanding of Bangladesh and the region and her academic experience in the liberal arts have prepared her well for this position.” Mr. Jack Meyer, Chairman of AUW’s Support Foundation has commented: “I am very pleased that Fahima Aziz is joining AUW as Vice Chancellor. Fahima's record not only testifies to her long and distinguished commitment to liberal arts education but also to the issues of change and development that animate the mission of the University.” AUW’s Acting Vice Chancellor Mr. Kamal Ahmad echoed the enthusiasm for Fahima’s appointment, noting that Fahima “combines a vision for building AUW as a center of excellence with an understanding of what is required to build this institution, brick by brick, over time.”
At Hamline University where Fahima is a member of the faculty, news of her appointment was received warmly. Dr. Linda Hanson, President of Hamline University said: “On behalf of Hamline University, I offer warm congratulations to Dr. Fahima Aziz. With her years of experience and the contributions she has made to Hamline students and her service as a valued colleague, we enthusiastically wish her every success.” Dr. Lynn Pasquerella, the President of Mount Holyoke College in the US where Dr. Aziz had studied as an undergraduate commented: “I want to congratulate all members of the Asian University for Women community on their selection of Fahima Aziz as Vice Chancellor. Fahima is a celebrated alumna of Mount Holyoke College and her daughter recently graduated from Mount Holyoke as well; thus, her selection is a source of great pride for our community. We look forward to collaborating with Fahima and AUW as we advance our shared mission in educating women from around the world in the liberal arts.”
Congresswoman Betty McCollum from Dr. Aziz’s home state of Minnesota in the United States also offered her congratulations to her. She said: “During my January visit to Asian University for Women, I was deeply impressed by the courage, convictions, and the commitment of the young female students I met. Learning that a Minnesotan has been chosen to lead this University could not make me happier.” She went on to say that “I want to congratulate Dr. Fahima Aziz and I know her leadership will be an asset.” Dr. Brian Rosenberg, President of Macalester College said: "I congratulate Dr. Fahima Aziz on her appointment as Vice Chancellor of the Asian University for Women. Having worked with her during her time as an American Council on Education Fellow at Macalester College and as a colleague on the Board of Trustees at Saint Paul Academy and Summit School, I know that she will do a splendid job."
The appointment of Dr. Fahima Aziz is the culmination of a major leadership reorganization at the Asian University for Women. Earlier in the year the University announced the appointment of three deans: Dr. Kathleen Hewett-Smith, formerly Associate Dean of International Liberal Arts and a professor of South Asian Literature at Bard College in New York started in March 2012 as Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Geneticist Dr. Jinnie Garrett who has served for over 20 years as Professor of Biology at Hamilton College will start on July 1 as the Dean of Life Sciences and Public Health, while Dr. Ashok Keshari, long-time professor of environmental engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi who has been on the AUW faculty for the past two years, has been named as Dean of Physical Sciences and Engineering.
The Board of Trustees of the Asian University for Women is chaired by Professor Sheikha Al-Misnad who is the President of Qatar University; Mr. Young Joon Kim, a Partner at the international law firm of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy serves as the Secretary of the Board; and Mr. Kapil Jain, a partner at an international accounting firm, serves as the Treasurer and Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Board.
The Asian University for Women (AUW) is based on the firm belief that education—especially higher education—provides a critical pathway to leadership development, economic progress, and social and political equality. Located in Chittagong, Bangladesh, AUW provides a world-class education to promising young women from diverse cultural, religious, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds from across South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East. While international in its vision and scope, the University is rooted in the unique context of the region. The Asian University for Women offers an educational paradigm that combines a competitive liberal arts education with applicable graduate and professional training.
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