Safwan M. Masri

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Safwan M. Masri

Safwan M. Masri is a professor, senior academic administrator, global educator, and scholar of education in the Arab World.[1] He is Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University and has been head of Columbia Global Centers since 2011 as well as director of Columbia Global Centers | Amman since 2009.[2][3][4][5] As a scholar on education and contemporary geopolitics and society in the Arab world, Masri’s work focuses on understanding the historic, postcolonial dynamics among religion, education, society, and politics. He is the author of Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly (Columbia University Press, 2017), which examines why Tunisia was the only country to emerge from the Arab Spring as a democracy. Masri’s writings on education and current affairs have been featured in the Financial Times, Huffington Post, and Times Higher Education.[6][7][8][9][10]

Life and career[edit]

Masri joined Columbia University in 1988 as a professor of operations management at Columbia Business School, where he served as vice dean from 1993-2006. Previously, he was a visiting professor at INSEAD, and taught at Stanford University and Santa Clara University.[11]

At the request of King Abdullah II of Jordan, Masri led the effort to establish King’s Academy in Jordan,[12] the first coeducational boarding school in the Middle East, and was founding chairman of its board of trustees.[13] An advisor to Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan,[14] Masri was founding chairman of the Queen Rania Teacher Academy.[15]

Masri currently holds a senior research scholar appointment at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

Columbia Global Centers[edit]

In 2009, Columbia University president Lee C. Bollinger created the Columbia Global Centers,[16][17] a network of regional hubs of programming and research. These centers work to advance Columbia’s global mission as well as extend the University’s reach to address the pressing demands of our global society and are located in: Amman, Jordan;[2][18][19] Beijing, China;[18][19] Istanbul, Turkey;[16] Mumbai, India;[20] Nairobi, Kenya;[21][22] Paris, France;[21] Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;[23] and Santiago, Chile.[24]


Masri earned his B.S. in 1982 and his M.S. in 1984 in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. In 1988, he was awarded a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management from Stanford University.[11]

Awards and Recognitions[edit]

Masri was awarded the 2003 American Service Award from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; and the Robert W. Lear Service Award, the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence in a Core Course, and the Singhvi Professor of the Year for Scholarship in the Classroom Award, all from Columbia University.[11][25] Masri is an honorary fellow of the Foreign Policy Association. He is a trustee of International College in Beirut and of the Welfare Association (Taawon) in Ramallah, and a member of the advisory board of the School of Business at the American University in Cairo. Masri has served on the governing boards of Endeavor Jordan, the Children’s Museum Jordan, Arab Bankers Association of North America (ABANA), and Aramex.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "U.S.-Islamic World Forum Considers Challenges Facing Arab Higher Education | AMIDEAST". Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  2. ^ a b Prusher, Ilene R. (2009-04-13). "US universities expand in the Middle East". Christian Science Monitor. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  3. ^ "Safwan M. Masri Appointed Vice President for Global Centers | Columbia University in the City of New York". Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  4. ^ Redden, Elizabeth (March 12, 2014). "Global Hubs". Retrieved 2017-01-19 – via Insider Higher Ed.
  5. ^ Redden, Elizabeth (March 12, 2014). "Bucking the Branch Campus". Retrieved 2017-01-19 – via Insider Higher Ed.
  6. ^ Masri, Safwan (November 21, 2016). "Reform learning to enable Arab democracy". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  7. ^ Bothwell, Ellie (2016-11-03). "Columbia University global centres aim to prove university's 'relevance'". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  8. ^ Masri, Safwan (November 18, 2016). "Why the world needs a new model for universities". University World News. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  9. ^ "The Search for a Mideast Solution: A Discussion between Professor Safwan Masri and Nicolas Pelham". Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  10. ^ Wilkens, Katherine (2011). "Higher Education Reform in the Arab World" (PDF). The Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings; The Brookings Institution.
  11. ^ a b c "Safwan Masri". Endeavor Jordan. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  12. ^ Paumgarten, Nick (September 4, 2006). "Deerfield in the Desert". The New Yorker. p. 102. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  13. ^ Zezima, Katie (2006-03-01). "Jordan Plans to Start Its Own New England-Style Prep School". The New York Times. p. B10. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  14. ^ Parnes, Francine (2003-12-28). "Business People; Hip Professor Meets Hip Businessman". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  15. ^ "Founding Chairman Professor Safwan Masri steps down". King's Academy. 2012-05-16. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  16. ^ a b Sachare, Alex (Winter 2013–2014). "A Conversation with President Lee C. Bollinger". Columbia College Today. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  17. ^ Levi, Scott (2009-03-23). "Defining 'global university'". Columbia Daily Spectator. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  18. ^ a b Levi, Scott (2009-03-23). "CU introduces global centers". Columbia Daily Spectator. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  19. ^ a b Editorial Board (2010-01-28). "Journey to the Global Center of the Earth". Columbia Daily Spectator. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  20. ^ Pianin, Alix (2010-03-22). "CU launches center in Mumbai". Columbia Daily Spectator. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  21. ^ a b Von Mayrhauser, Melissa (2011-04-29). "New global centers planned for Chile, Kenya". Columbia Daily Spectator. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  22. ^ Waruru, Maina. "Columbia opens latest Global Center in Nairobi". University World News. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  23. ^ Kiernan, Paul (2016-08-22). "Rio Crosses Olympic Finish Line, Sees Familiar Hurdles Ahead". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  24. ^ Labi, Aisha (2009-04-03). "Columbia U. to Open Network of International Collaborative-Research Centers". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  25. ^ de Gruyter, Walter (2007–2008). Who’s Who in the Arab World 2007-2008. Publitec Publications. pp. 541–542.