Asian Women's Leadership University Project

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The Asian Women’s Leadership University (AWLU) Project (also known as the "AWLU Project") is a U.S. registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was formed in fall 2010 to establish a global women’s leadership university based in Asia. In summer 2011, the AWLU Project team determined that Malaysia would be the host country of the Asian Women's Leadership University (AWLU).

Projected to open in September 2015, the AWLU will be a private, not-for-profit university modeled on the U.S. “Seven Sisters” liberal arts colleges. With Smith College (MA, USA) as the chief academic planning partner, the AWLU will combine American-style liberal arts and sciences education with leadership courses and a curriculum regionally relevant to Asia. AWLU will seek promising women from diverse backgrounds to be a part of its vibrant residential learning community.

Current Progress[edit]

The AWLU Project continues to gain international recognition and support in its effort to establish a global women's leadership university for women from Asia and the Middle East. Its critical milestones include: its approval as an Entry Point Project by the Malaysian Federal Government and the endorsement by the Prime Minister of Malaysia as contributing to Malaysia's Economic Transformation Program. The AWLU Project has also secured the commitment of institutions such as Smith College as its Chief Academic Planning Partner and Perdana-Johns Hopkins Medical School as a Graduate Pathway Partner. All progress thus far has been achieved through a dedicated working board of directors, a distinguished group of senior leaders in Malaysia, and an enthusiastic set of global volunteers.

The AWLU Project's current priorities include securing the Malaysian Ministry of Education's license to establish the AWLU as an approved university in Malaysia. If such approval should be obtained, full fundraising and establishment efforts are expected to commence.

In November 2012, AWLU's rise was documented by the New York Times article "Leadership University Rises for Asian Women". The AWLU Project has since been featured at the 2013 Harvard EdTalks and on GOOD Magazine's 2013 Top 100 List, among other features. The AWLU Project was incubated at the Harvard iLab during 2013 in Cambridge, MA.

In June 2014, Judy Cheng-Hopkins, United Nations Assistant Secretary General, was elected as the President of the AWLU Project, following President Barbara Hou. She is joined by Mona Sinha, Chair of the AWLU Project's New York entity and EXCOM; and Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, Chair of the AWLU Project's Malaysia entity (also known as the Malaysia Foundation).

Board of Directors

  • Judy Cheng-Hopkins, President, AWLU Project Inc.; Assistant Secretary General, United Nations
  • (Tan Sri) Zarinah Anwar, Chair, AWLU Malaysia Foundation; former Chairman, Malaysia Securities Commission
  • Mona Sinha, Chair, AWLU Project Inc. and EXCOM; Trustee, Smith College
  • (Dato') Latifah Merican Cheong, Advisor, Chairman’s Office, Malaysian Securities Commission
  • Henry Lau, Corporate Attorney, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
  • Hoon Eng Khoo, Faculty, National University of Singapore; Trustee, Smith College
  • (Tan Sri) Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, Chairman, Plus Expressways Bhd
  • Sujatha Sekhar A/P Tan Sri B.C. Sekhar, CEO, Securities Industries Dispute Resolution Center (SIDREC) Malaysia
  • Chee Kuon Lee, Director and former President/Advisor of Saturna Sdn Bhd
  • Anne Cohen, former Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
  • (Tan Sri) Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, former Vice Chancellor, Albukhary International University
  • (Puan Sri) Siew Yong Gnanalingam, Managing Director, Ayur Centre Sdn Bhd
  • (Datuk) Rebecca Fatima Sta. Maria, Secretary General, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Malaysia
  • (Dato') Kok Wee Kiat, Director, Aluminum Company of Malaysia Bhd; Director, Securities Industries Dispute Resolution Center (SIDREC), Malaysia
  • Diane Rosen, lawyer and mediator, Diane Rosen Esq. PLLC

Malaysian Steering Committee

  • Amuthambigai Tharmarajah, President, Soroptimist International
  • Charlotte Long, University of Sydney
  • Chee Sung Lee, Principal, Financial Stability Associates; Former Deputy Division Chief in IMF, member of Secretariat of the National Economic Advisory Council
  • Francis Tan, Partner, Azman, Davidson and Co.
  • Jean Wong, Sr. VP, Chief Operations Office, Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute
  • Karina Mohd Nor, Senior Manager, Securities Commission Malaysia
  • Liang Hua, Trustee, Hong Kong Shanghai Bank
  • Lillian Tay, Partner, Veritas Architects
  • Patricia David, Partner, Shook Lin & Bok
  • Paula Klass, student recruitment specialist, Australia
  • Serina Hijjas, Director of Hijjas Kasturi Associates Sdn Bhd.
  • Suryna Ali, North Eastern Economic Corridor
  • Teh Ija, Executive Director, Securities Commission
  • Vijayaledchumy Veluppillai, Former Director, Central Banking Services at Bank Negara
  • Yeo Kar Peng, Chairman and Managing Partner, Kendall Court Capital Partners Ltd.

More Information[edit]