One of the finest international universities in Bangladesh, at the moment, is the Asian University for Women, based in Chattogram. Specialising in the arts and humanities, AUW, as it is called, was established in May, 2008, founded by Kamal Ahmed. The university is dedicated exclusively to the education and leadership development of women from throughout the region. “This had always been my dream,” says Kamal Ahmed. According to him, AUW exists solely to support a rising network of women leaders, entrepreneurs and change makers from across the region. It seeks out women who have significant academic potential and demonstrate courage and a sense of outrage at injustice and are empathic to the woes of other people.
“The arts and the humanities are for everyone – both men and women. However, because women in this part of the world are still deprived of quality education and opportunities as compared to the men, the establishment of AUW would serve the purpose, adds Kamal, who is also the President and CEO of the Asian University for Women Support Foundation based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Kamal is a recipient of many awards including the United Nations Gold Peace Medal and Citation Scroll, given by the Paul G Hoffman Awards Fund for “outstandingly significant work in national and international development.”
Time magazine College Achievement Award cited him as “one of 20 most outstanding undergraduates in the nation.” He also received the Global Leader for Tomorrow Award from the World Economic Forum and the John Phillips Award from his alma mater the Phillips Exeter Academy.
On May 12, 2018, Asian University for Women celebrated its tenth founding anniversary in Chattogram by hosting an international symposium on 'From Survival to Sustainable Development: Overcoming Challenges' for 'Achieving a Just World'. The Nobel Peace Laureate from Yemen, Tawakol Karman; the United Nations Under Secretary-General for Conflict and Sexual Violence, Ms Pramilla Paten, former World Bank Vice President and Founding Director of the Library of Alexandria; and Dr Izzedin Abuleish, the Palestinian doctor and professor at the University of Toronto who lost his three daughters in a tank attack in Gaza and turned into a peacemaker, spoke at the opening plenary. The symposium saw more than 40 speakers from home and abroad addressing on a range of topics including “Persecution and Forced Migration”; “Extreme Poverty”, “Violence and Vulnerability”; “Understanding the Impact of Gender Discrimination”; and “Art as Liberation, Art for Liberation”.