April 9th, 2018, Chittagong, Bangladesh: Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni journalist, activist, and recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, will give the keynote address during the Sixth Commencement Ceremony of Asian University for Women (AUW) on May 12th, 2018.
Karman is a prominent advocate of democracy, freedom of expression, and women’s safety and participation in the peacebuilding of her native Yemen. Karman is the first Yemeni, the first Arab, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. At the time of her award, Karman was the youngest person to ever receive the award. Two hundred women are expected to graduate from AUW on this date. AUW will also honor Dr. Ismail Serageldin, Founding Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt with a Doctorate of Arts, honoris causa. A symposium, “From Survival to Sustainable Development: Addressing Urgent Issues for a Just World” will precede the Commencement Ceremony on May 11, 2018.
“AUW is deeply honored that Nobel Peace Prize Laurate Tawakkol Karman will share her insights and outstanding efforts toward advancing human rights in Yemen at the Sixth Commencement Ceremony. I am confident that the exceptional young women graduating on that day will be emboldened by such a courageous role model”, said Vice Chancellor Professor Nirmala Rao.
“I have always believed that education is the foundation for both development and peace. Thus, what Asian University for Women does is a significant contribution in this context. In order for women to play active roles in society and be able to overcome policies that marginalize and weaken them, they must be equipped with necessary education and qualification. In order for women to play active roles in society and be able to overcome policies that marginalize and weaken them, their education and qualification are an unavoidable option,” added Tawakkol Karman.
Karman was born and raised in Yemen. She earned her undergraduate degree in Commerce from the University of Science and Technology and her graduate degree in Political Science from the University of Sana’a. While working as a journalist, Karman reported on the political instability and human rights abuses taking place in Yemen. In 2005, she founded Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC) to train, protect, and advocate for female journalists. In 2007, Karman began organizing weekly protests and sit-ins to oppose corruption and systemic government repression of citizens. In 2011, Karman redirected these protests in support of the Arab Spring and she became a bold and prominent force in the UN, where she gave speeches, met with the UN Secretary General, and organized pro-democracy and pre-peace rallies at the UN headquarters.
Among Yemen’s opposition movement, she is known as the “iron woman” and “mother of the revolution” for her leadership and fight for human rights. Since receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Karman has continued to support and organize women journalists and others who strive to resist corruption and injustice and establish peace and democracy in conflict-afflicted countries.
About Asian University for Women
Founded in 2008 and located in Chittagong, Bangladesh, Asian University for Women is the first of its kind: a regional institution dedicated to women’s education and leadership development – international in outlook, but rooted in the contexts and aspirations of the people of Asia. Students from 15 countries attend AUW. This University exists solely to support a rising network of women leaders, entrepreneurs and change makers from across the region. It seeks out women who have significant academic potential and demonstrate courage and a sense of outrage at injustice and are empathic to the woes of other people. A majority of AUW’s students are first in their family to enter university; 98% of AUW’s students are on full or near-full scholarship funded by private donors from around the world. A majority of AUW graduates find employment in the private sector in their home countries while about 25% go on to pursue graduate studies. AUW graduates or former students have been admitted to Stanford, Oxford, Columbia, Brandeis, Surrey and a host of other leading universities in the world.
About AUW Support Foundation
Asian University for Women seeks to graduate women who will be skilled and innovative professionals, service-oriented leaders, and promoters of intercultural understanding and sustainable human and economic development in Asia and throughout the world. The AUW Support Foundation, a 501(c)(3)-registered nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the principal source of funding mobilization for the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh.