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Vice-Chancellor of the Asian University for Women visits Sussex

Professor Rao of the Asian University for Women (AUW) and Adam Tickell

Clare Mackie (PVC Teaching and Learning); Professor of Geomorphology,Cherith Moses; Sussex Vice-Chancellor, Adam Tickell; Head of ADQE, Chris Wellings.

The recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Sussex and the Asian University for Women (AUW) was celebrated recently by the visit of AUW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nirmala Rao.

The visit, which aimed to strengthen the relationship between Sussex and AUW - based in Chittagong, Bangladesh - explored opportunities for co-operation including teaching, student mobility and research collaboration.

As part of her visit, Professor Rao spent time with the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adam Tickell, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), Professor Clare Mackie - in addition to colleagues from DARO, the Scholarships Office, Sussex Abroad, ISS and ADQE.

Professor Rao also met with a number of Sussex academics to discuss research and teaching synergies – with a number of key collaborations both institutions are interested in developing in research and teaching.

Amongst a range of new opportunities the group discussed the potential to grow the number of scholarships aimed at enabling AUW students to pursue a Masters at Sussex - with two AUW students due for September 2017 entry at Sussex on the new Sussex-AUW postgraduate scholarships.

Speaking during her visit, Professor Rao, said: “A large part of my visit today is to ensure that we involve a wider group who can take ownership of this partnership and be engaged in a fruitful way, in a more meaningful way – as I’m a great believer in involving the academic community in the partnership.

“I must say a big thank you to the University of Sussex, it’s the first university in the country to have instituted this kind of scholarship.

“We have two students coming to study at Sussex in September and it will give both of these students the chance to transform their lives – and to give them access to higher education in a way that neither of them will have ever dreamt.

“I hope at the end of their studies that they will go back to their communities or go onto bigger jobs and hopefully, one day, come back to do a doctoral programme at the University of Sussex.”                                                                

Founded in 2008 as a centre of excellence for women’s education, AUW has a student body of more than 600 women from 15 countries – including many from the war-torn areas of Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen.

Its establishment came from deliberations by the World Bank, which saw the need for a university in the Asian subcontinent that would attract young women from particularly deprived and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Professor Rao added: “Students come from 15 different countries - including particularly vulnerable environments such as refugee camps and areas affected by war. These students are – with time - set to become the future leaders across Asia and the Middle East.”


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By: Tom Walters
Last updated: Wednesday, 5 July 2017