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Asian University For Women In Bangladesh: A Place To Empower Women

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Bangladesh, 10th July, 2015: The subject of empowerment of women has become a burning issue all over the world. Due to lack of awareness and education women are deprived of their basic rights. So, as a result the situation of women in the Asian subcontinent is not up to the mark.

But there is a sign of hope for women of this subcontinent because there is a university named Asian University for Women which aims at empowering women.Asian University for Women (AUW) is the first liberal arts university for women in South Asia and is one of the two international universities in Bangladesh. Its current campus as well as new planned campus is located in the port city, Chittagong.

The government of Bangladesh has allocated a land of 100 acres at the Chittagong Hill Tracts for its new campus. AUW provides a world-class higher education to young women from diverse cultural, religious, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. At present AUW hosts almost 600 students from 16 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Vietnam.

AUW is almost wholly reliant on donations. The principal financial supporters of the university include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Goldman Sachs Foundation, the Open Society Institute, Citigroup Foundation, and the United States Agency for International Development. Cherie Blair, who is a British lawyer and human rights activist is also the chancellor of AUW.

This university especially provides educational opportunities to students from less advantaged backgrounds. AUW faculty members are recruited from all over the world to provide international perspectives for students. The classes are shaped with small number of students so that the faculty can pay individual attention for each student.

The academic program include two stages: Access Academy (Pre-Undergraduate) and Undergraduate. The Access Academy program acts as a foundation course for the students. It prepares students for the undergraduate program and develops their basic skills (English, Computer &Mathematics, etc). The Asian University for Women offers 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.

AUW also has Career Development Center (CDC) which helps student with internships and job opportunities. AUW also has agreements with private organizations and NGOs for student internships. Examples include BRAC, HSBC, and the World Bank.

AUW students are admitted on the basis of merit and leadership potential, defined by three main qualities – courage, empathy and a measure of outrage at injustice. It encourages women to become more confident, service-oriented citizens and be able to think critically.

Its main goal is to produce women leaders for the future. Students will probably be able to get the new campus within next five years. At that time the total number of students will be 3000. This university is a place where women can become critical thinkers by exploring their thoughts and ideas.

Students will receive more advantages when the new campus will be built completely. Maximum women will be able to share their ideas by studying in this university where they can bring fruitful changes in this developing world.

– Marjan Akhter

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