Nobel Laureate appointed as Albukhary International University chancellor

The appointment is in line with the philosophy, vision and mission of the university’s establishment to develop future leaders


NOBEL laureate and Grameen Bank founder Prof Muhammad Yunus (picture) has been appointed as the Inaugural Chancellor of Albukhary International University (AIU).

AIU vice chancellor and president Prof Datuk Dr Abd Aziz Tajuddin said the appointment is in line with the philosophy, vision and mission of the university’s establishment to develop graduates or future leaders who are well-rounded, adaptable and able to act as change agents in respective communities via the social business agenda.

“The application of social business values, especially the Seven Principles of Social Business introduced by Prof Muhammad Yunus is implemented through the curriculum, academic, non-academic and research activities that would add value to students who are expected to be successful social entrepreneurs upon graduation,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Muhammad Yunus also holds the position of chancellor at Glasgow Caledonian University, UK, and chairman at the Yunus Centre.

After acquiring his doctorate degree (PhD) in Economics from Vanderbilt University in 1970, Muhammad Yunus was also accepted as Eisenhour Fellow in 1984 and later a Senior Fellow at The Institute of Mediterranean Studies, Universita Della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland, in 2000.

His career began near his home at Chittagong College, Bangladesh, as a lecturer in Economics in 1962 and since then was promoted to various academic positions up to the Prof of Economics at the Chittagong University and the Rural Economics Programme Director at Chittagong, Bangladesh.

He contributed to the Bangladesh government as the Planning Commission’s Economic Development Division deputy head in 1972, then the Grameen Bank MD and project leader from 1976 to 2011, Cabinet minister advisor in 1996, and holds the La Trobe Business adjunct professor position from 2015 until the present.

In 2009, Muhammad Yunus was named one of Forbes’ 10 Most Influential Business Gurus.

Among his awards and honours are the three highest US civilian awards, namely the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Having founded the Yunus Social Business and serving as the board’s chairman, while being the founder of Grameen Bank as well as father of microcredit, he initiated an economic movement that lifted families out of poverty worldwide.

To date, Grameen Bank has over 8.4 million members, of which 97% are female and has lent over US$12.5 billion (RM51.78 billion) since its inception.

Dr Abd Aziz said AIU’s mission is to develop future leaders to serve humanity through social business agenda in a redesigned learning environment.

“The ability of AIU to provide high-quality education in terms of world-class facilities and a conducive learning environment that stimulates creativity and innovation among students and lecturers, and the implementation of digitally connected campus will be able to support and nurture social business activities among students in a more systematic approach,” he said.

All student activities are arranged in line with the social business agenda, with the organisation of Social Business Week 2020 and related activities.

Recognising the importance of the agenda’s research and development, the university has established the Albukhary Centre of Excellence in Socio-Economic Development and Innovation, and Albukhary Yunus Social Business Centre with a research fund amounting to RM3 million.

“The synergy of research is developed through collaboration with selected universities such as Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Utara Malaysia and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, to undertake high-impact research projects capable of developing the socio-economic status of people, particularly in the Sik and Baling areas in Kedah.

“Research activities are also supported with publications through the Albukhary Social Business Journal added with various internal incentives,” he said.

AIU, which was placed under the Albukhary Foundation after its founding by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukary, is a non-profit private higher education institution with a focus to provide opportunities to outstanding students from financially challenged family background.

The institute’s quota of student’s enrolment is 80% international students and 20% Malaysians for each admission intake, in which its recruitment is focused on socio-economic background, academic excellence, good personality and proficiency in the English language.

According to the institution’s latest numbers, its total student count stands at 218 from 37 countries since its operations began in Sept 2018, which is expected to increase to 800 by December 2020 and reach a maximum capacity of 3,000 students in the next five years.

The university has strong backing from the Albukhary Group of Cos, in particular to providing industry experts as teaching faculty, programme evaluation panels, industrial training providers and activities to add value to the graduates’ employability.