Cherie Blair Named Chancellor of Asian University for Women

Mar 02, 2011, 08:00 ET from Asian University for Women Support Foundation

Blair recognized for international advocacy of women's education

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh, March 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Asian University for Women (AUW) is pleased to announce the appointment of Cherie Blair, a leading international lawyer, human rights advocate, and the wife of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as the first Chancellor of the three-year old University. Kamal Ahmad, Chief Executive Officer of AUW, first made the announcement during the opening proceedings of the three-day international symposium entitled "Imagining Another Future for Asia: Ideas and Pathways for Change" in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from January 20-22, 2011.




"Cherie Blair's staunch support for women's rights throughout the world presents her as an ideal candidate for this position," said Mr. Ahmad. "Her leadership at the Asian University for Women will ensure that this institution will continue to thrive, and she will serve as a role model for all the girls that pass through our halls."

As Chancellor of the University, Mrs. Blair will serve as the titular head of the institution and is expected to play a significant role as an international advocate for the university and women's education, in addition to officiating in commencement proceedings. Mrs. Blair was unanimously elected by the University's International Support Committee, which is co-chaired by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Lone Dybkjaer, the wife of former Danish Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. Other members of the Support Committee include Koichiro Matsuura, former Director-General, UNESCO; Mamphela Ramphele, former Managing Director of the World Bank; George Soros, noted hedge fund manager and philanthropist; Donald Johnston, former Secretary-General of Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and former Attorney-General, Government of Canada; Madame Kang Kum-Sil, former Minister of Justice in the Republic of Korea; Rasha Al-Sabah, member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family and Advisor to the Prime Minister of Kuwait; Jack Meyer, former President of the Endowment of Harvard University; Sang Chung, former Prime Minister of South Korea-designate and former President of Ewha Woman's University in South Korea.

AUW's unique charter ratified under an Act of the Parliament makes it wholly institutionally autonomous and academically independent. The charter provides that the Chancellor is elected independently (and not designated as an ex-officio function).

Since the University's founding in 2008, Mrs. Blair has been actively involved in the development of AUW and has campaigned globally on behalf of the University in places such as Qatar, Hong Kong, and Kuwait. As the appointed Chancellor, she will continue to utilize her time and energy to raise awareness about AUW. Prior to her involvement with AUW, Mrs. Blair was already heavily involved with Bangladesh in her capacity as a legal advocate for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her house arrest.  

Prime Minister Hasina warmly welcomed the appointment. "We hope that she will decide to come back to Bangladesh often in her role as Chancellor," she said.

In January 2010, Mrs. Blair conferred Cherie Blair fellowships to ten outstanding students at AUW that had demonstrated superior academic ability and leadership skills.  Several fellows now participate in a mentoring program under the auspices of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.

"I fight, personally and professionally, for women's equality because I passionately believe it is a fundamental matter of principle and justice," said Mrs. Blair. "It is clear that AUW's trail-blazing graduates will provide young women across the region with much-needed examples of leadership, raising ambitions to help unlock more potential."

SOURCE Asian University for Women Support Foundation