University | News
Her Excellency Madam Kumaratunga, First Woman President of Sri Lanka, Joins Asian University for Women Council of Patrons
Colombo, Sri Lanka
27, Feb, 2017

February 27, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka – Asian University for Women (AUW) announced today the commitment of Her Excellency Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, first woman President of Sri Lanka, to serve as a Patron of the University.

AUW serves extraordinarily talented women from 15 countries across Asia and the Middle East, most of whom are first in their family to enter university. The University’s Council of Patrons is chaired by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and includes First Lady of Japan Akie Abe, former Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong Anson Chan, former Danish Environment Minister Lone Dybkjaer, and Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. The Patrons advocate for women’s education and empowerment in general and Asian University for Women in particular.

Madam Kumaratunga is renowned for her steadfast commitment to issues of human concern around the world. She is Chairperson of CBK Foundation for Democracy and Justice, South Asia Foundation, and the Sri Lanka Office for National Unity and Reconciliation. In these roles, Madam Kumaratunga addresses the legacy of the Sri Lankan Civil War, leading initiatives in the areas of education, open political dialogue, women’s empowerment, and community development. She is also a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, Clinton Global Initiative, and the Global Leadership Foundation.

“I am thrilled to join AUW’s Council of Patrons,” Madam Kumaratunga shares. “AUW is a very important organization that has had a profound effect on many women’s lives, including many Sri Lankan women. AUW exposes these young women to cultural diversity and provides them with the confidence and education they need to become great leaders who will create positive change within their own communities and beyond.”

“AUW is honored to have the opportunity to work with the esteemed H.E. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to help amplify the mission of AUW,” says Kamal Ahmad, President and CEO of AUW Support Foundation. “As a member of the Council of Women Leaders and having been the first Sri Lankan female president, H.E. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga is an influential role model for all of AUW’s student body, and especially for our Sri Lankan AUW students.”

Asian University for Women is deeply committed to the education of Sri Lanka’s next generation of women leaders. More than 60 Sri Lankan women have passed through AUW’s doors to earn their Bachelor’s degrees and take positions of leadership in their chosen fields. AUW has committed more than US $3.5 million in scholarship support for Sri Lankan women since the University’s opening in 2008. According to one current student from Sri Lanka, “I love many things about AUW, but my favorite part is the opportunity to learn new things every minute of every day. I have made many new friends who come from different countries and I love the opportunity to learn about their lives and their diverse backgrounds.”

AUW graduates from Sri Lanka have gone on to achieve great success, earning placement at graduate institutions such as Ewha Womans University (South Korea), University of Western Sydney (Australia), and the University of Colombo (Sri Lanka). They have worked at organizations such as Save the Children, the Center for Environmental Justice, the Institute of Health Policy, and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sri Lanka. These graduates exhibit the essential characteristics that AUW seeks during the admissions process: courage, empathy, and a sense of outrage at injustice.

To learn more, please read this article by Sri Lanka’s The Sunday Leader and this article by Sri Lanka’s Daily News.