CHITTAGONG, BANGLADESH Media outreachJuly 8, 2022 – With a $1 million grant from the Mellon Foundation, Asian University for Women (AUW) plans to launch a new humanities major for undergraduate study at the University. The Mellon grant, coupled with support from other sources, will enable AUW to recruit nine postdoctoral fellows to design and teach this new humanities initiative. The humanities major will include studies in literature, history, philosophy, and comparative religion. Unlike existing majors at AUW, the Humanities major would only be available to students who also co-major in one of the natural sciences or mathematics offers to AUW and produce a thesis that connects knowledge from the humanities and scientific fields. Kamal Ahmadthe founder of AUW noted that “Too often the humanities have been considered to fall within the class of leisure. At AUW, we believe that the humanities are central to our entire existence. Our sense of imagination, joy, dignity and an unwavering will are all rooted in the humanities. By studying history, literature, philosophy and religion in a systematic way, the AUW community will strengthen both its breadth intellectual but also will examine more rigorously the fundamental issues that affect our society. We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for so generously supporting AUW in these efforts.”

AUW’s new leadership adds an astonishing breadth of humanities expertise to this invigorating time. Joining as AUW Vice Chancellor in February 2022, Rubana Huq brings a humanities perspective to the helm of the University with his PhD in English Literature from Jadavpur University and his accomplished career as a poet in addition to his success in business. David Taylor also joined AUW in 2022 as Dean of Humanities and leads AUW’s new Humanities program through its first year. David Taylor was a longtime director of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations at the Aga Khan University and holds a doctorate in political science from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, with a focus on South Asian history and politics. Rubana Huq and David Taylor spearheaded the Humanities Initiative and share an optimistic vision for the future role of the Humanities at AUW:

“The Humanities program at AUW will provide the foundation for discovering and understanding the human experience. Through the humanities curriculum, scholars will gain meaningful insights and plan with creativity and reason. We hope that AUW humanities scholars will strive to preserve the past, understand the realities of today, and use knowledge to shape tomorrow.

– Rubana Huq, AUW Vice Chancellor

“To study the humanities is to share the hopes and aspirations of people around the world and across the centuries. It is to understand that the human mind, individually and collectively, can produce radically different worldviews, forms of social organization at all levels, from the family to the nation, and modes of relating to the natural world. . Humanities students learn the importance of understanding the past and the present in order to build a better future for themselves and for all people on planet Earth.

– David Denis Taylor, Dean of Humanities at AUW

AUW is pleased to partner with outstanding humanities institutions and scholars around the world to support the program. Sunil AmritProfessor of History Renu and Anand Dhawan at Yale University, played a key role in the design of a humanities curriculum and its integral role at AUW:

“AUW’s new Humanities program is an inspired effort to harness the power of the humanities to strengthen AUW’s commitment to educating future leaders. The program will foster cross-cultural understanding by expanding students’ imaginations; it will instill in them a sense of how history shapes the present; it will help them develop lifelong skills that couldn’t be more vital: critical intelligence, clarity of expression and deep empathy. It gives me hope to see AUW embrace this bold new initiative at a time of conflict and suffering in the region and around the world.

– Sunil Amrith, professor of history at Yale University

Selected postdoctoral fellows will be named Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellows in the Humanities at AUW. In addition to scholarships, winners will receive support for research, travel, and mentorship from a senior scholar in their field. They will be based at the AUW campus in Chittagong where furnished faculty accommodation will be available. There will be options to seek appointment as assistant professors at AUW after the fellowship period ends. Those interested in positions should send a copy of their CV with a cover letter along with a teaching statement, research statement and sample course and program description to [email protected].

Hashtag: #Mellon #AUW #AsianUniversityforWomen

About Asian University for Women (AUW):

Founded in 2008 and located in Chittagong, Bangladesh, AUW is the first of its kind: a regional institution dedicated to educating women and developing leadership through liberal arts and science education. It is international in its perspective but rooted in the contexts and aspirations of the peoples of Asia. Chartered by the Parliament of Bangladesh, AUW exists solely to support a growing network of women leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers from across the region. He seeks women who demonstrate significant academic achievement and potential, who demonstrate courage and a sense of outrage in the face of injustice, and who are empathetic to the misfortunes of others.

1160 students from 17 countries currently attend AUW: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Syria, Timor Leste, Vietnam and Yemen. Over 85% of AUW students receive full or near-full scholarships funded by supporters around the world. The University has graduated over a thousand students to date. The majority of AUW graduates gain employment in the private and public sectors in their home country, while around 25% go on to higher education at other higher education institutions including Oxford, Cambridge, Johns Hopkins, Stanford , Columbia, Duke, Brandeis and Tufts. , among others. To learn more about Asian University for Women, please visit