Asian University for Women

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Coordinates: 22°21′29″N 91°49′26″W / 22.358131°N 91.823843°W / 22.358131; -91.823843

Asian University for Women
Logo Asian University for Women.png
Established 2008
Type Women's regional
Chancellor Cherie Blair
Vice-Chancellor Fahima Aziz
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 500+
Location 20/A M.M. Ali Road, Chittagong, Bangladesh
Nickname AUW

Asian University for Women is the first liberal arts university for women in South Asia and is one of only two international universities in Bangladesh.[1] It was originally granted land by the government of Bangladesh and its current campus as well as planned new campus are located in the port city of Chittagong.


AUW's first academic program, the pre-collegiate Access Academy, opened in March 2008 with a class of 130 young women from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Cambodia. The first Access Academy class graduated in July 2009 and continued into the undergraduate program. AUW's current student body comes from 16 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Vietnam. The master plan for AUW's planned permanent campus was designed by architect Moshe Safdie.[2]


The Asian University for Women seeks to graduate women who will be skilled and innovative professionals, service-oriented leaders in the businesses and communities in which they will work and live, and promoters of intercultural understanding and sustainable human and economic development in Asia and throughout the world.

AUW seeks:

  • To educate women to become highly motivated and effective professionals, leaders, and service-oriented citizens;
  • To provide a vibrant and diverse residential learning community where highly talented women and those with uncommon potential from many cultural and religious backgrounds can grow both intellectually and personally;
  • To create a student-focused learning environment where the arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences establish a broad base of inquiry, where disciplinary and independent studies provide learning depth, and where applied studies in both the general studies and majors’ curricula require students to link theoretical understanding with contemporary issues and challenges facing Asia and the world; and
  • To focus student learning on the acquisition of intellectual abilities, reflective personal growth, leadership abilities, and a service-oriented outlook.


AUW operates on a unique funding model that is almost wholly reliant on donations. With almost all of its students on full or partial scholarship, the Asian University for women is better able to focus on providing access to students from less advantaged backgrounds rather than focusing on bringing in tuition.

The Asian University for Women Support Foundation (AUWSF) serves as the fund raising organization for AUW and is a non-profit organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. An international network of leaders in the educational, financial, and developmental sectors continue to work together to develop AUW. Notable advisers and patrons include Cherie Blair, British lawyer, human rights activist, and chancellor of AUW, and Marina Mahathir, Malaysian writer and human rights activist, as well as many other eminent individuals. AUW also has fundraising Support Groups in a number of different countries including the UK, Hong Kong, and Japan.


AUW faculty members are drawn from all over the world, providing international perspectives for AUW students to learn from. AUW faculty work in a highly collaborative environment, and they work in teams divided by discipline so that students receive sufficient breadth and depth in their instruction. Teaching at AUW is student-centered and interactive. There is an emphasis placed on small faculty to student ratios in classes and on providing individual attention for each student.

By recruiting faculty from across the world, AUW is able to ensure that there are different perspectives presented in classes and departments as well as provide a curricula and teaching methods that break the traditional rote-memorization of South Asia

Academic programmes[edit]

Pre-undergraduate: The Access Academy is a pre-collegiate program that prepares students for a rigorous university education. The Academy addresses the various needs of students in terms of academic preparation, social and cultural adjustment, youth mentorship, counseling, technological skills, and recreation. Through these comprehensive efforts, the Access Academy encourages young women to be assertive, confident, and culturally sensitive.

Undergraduate: The Asian University for Women offers a rigorous liberal arts undergraduate curriculum that emphasizes the development of skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and ethical leadership. AUW students choose from the following four majors: Economics (B.Sc.); Environmental Sciences (B.Sc.); Philosophy, Politics & Economics (B.A.); and Public Health (B.Sc.). The university also offers a choice of thirteen minors.

Internship & Careers: Internships form an integral part of a student's education at the Asian University for Women. AUW offers opportunities for students to participate in applied research projects, study programs, and internships.

Partner Institutions: AUW also has agreements with private organizations and NGOs for student internships. Examples include BRAC, HSBC, and the World Bank.

See also[edit]


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