University hails Japan for helping empower Asian women

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - Japan was hailed by the Asian University for Women’s vice chancellor, Prof. Nirmala Rao, for helping make such a success of the university at an AUW fundraising event at the Tokyo American Club in the capital’s Minato Ward on Thursday.

 “The first support group [for the university] was Japan’s, and it makes the largest contribution,” said Prof. Rao in her speech at the event. “Today, 38 percent of AUW’s entire budget comes from Japan.” 

 According to Prof. Rao, more than 800 students of 17 countries and 35 ethnicities, including Rohingya refugees who fled from violence in Myanmar, are currently enrolled at AUW. The majority of the students, 72 percent, are on full scholarship from the university, funded by foundations and businesses in the United States, Europe and Asia.

 The university opened in 2008 in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and is run by an independent board consisting of members from different countries. It commemorated its 10th anniversary last May, and is aiming to recruit more women to enroll from the most marginalized sections of societies in Asia and the Middle East.

 More than 700 students have graduated from AUW to date, many of whom work in governmental and nongovernmental organizations in their home countries, as well as in the fields of business and research.

 Moury Rahman, 24, graduated in 2017, and now serves as a senior public health promotion officer for Oxfam, the international NGO. 

Rahman also spoke at the event, telling attendees about her current work at the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where she is supported by a “strong sisterhood” of fellow AUW graduates. “Over 50 AUW graduates are working with different NGOs and international NGOs,” she said. “I think the sense of service is distinctive about AUW graduates.”