Asian Women's Leadership University Project
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.
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. Penang State, home to a UNESCO world heritage site, has also offered 100 acres of land for the proposed campus site.
In November 2012, AWLU's rise was documented by the New York Times article "Leadership University Rises for Asian Women", following AWLU Project President Barbara Hou's presentation at TEDxLSE on the Project earlier that year in June. The AWLU Project has since been featured at the 2013 Harvard EdTalks and on GOOD Magazine's 2013 Top 100 List, honoring initiatives that drive change in creative and inspiring ways. The AWLU Project is also being incubated at the Harvard iLab since the summer of 2013 in Cambridge, MA. In the fall of 2013, AWLU Project hired its first official full-time staff member to maintain the organization's on-going efforts. 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 Ministry of Education's license to establish the AWLU as an approved university in Malaysia. If such approval should be obtained, full fundraising efforts are expected to commence.
Board of Directors
- Barbara Hou, Founder & President, AWLU Project
- Hoon Eng Khoo, Faculty, National University of Singapore; Trustee, Smith College
- Mona Sinha, Trustee, Smith College
- Henry Lau, Corporate Attorney, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
- Latifah Merican Cheong, Advisor, Chairman’s Office, Malaysian Securities Commission
- Zarinah Anwar, former Chairman, Malaysia Securities Commission
- Judy-Cheng Hopkins, Assistant Secretary General, United Nations
- Chee Kuon Lee, Director and former President/Advisor of Saturna Sdn Bhd.
- Anne Cohen, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
- Diane Rosen, lawyer and mediator, Diane Rosen Esq. PLLC.