New Delhi: The South Asian University, New Delhi convened its 11th Governing Board Meeting in Kathmandu from 18th to 19th December 2023. This was the first in-person meeting of the Governing Board Members post the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Members from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka participated in the much-awaited meeting of the apex body to chart the future path for the University.
Prof. Ranjan Kumar Mohanty, Acting President of SAU welcomed and expressed his gratitude to the esteemed members – past and present, and the Governments of the Member Nations of SAARC. He also emphasized the importance of the apex body of this international university for its progress and future development. He further sought continued support from the GB Members for the University to accomplish its defined objectives. Prof. Senthil Venugopal, Acting Vice President, also attended the meeting as a special invitee and presented to the Governing Board a Report on the University’s achievements and activities since the last GB Meeting and elaborated on the future academic plans of the University. Prof. Muhammad Abulaish, Acting Registrar, SAU also attended the meeting as Secretary of the Governing Board, and ensured its seamless organization and overall coordination so that the agenda items could be deliberated and decided.
The Chairperson of the SAU Governing Board, Prof. Dev Raj Adhikari, chaired the two-day meeting. Prof. Adhikari, who is the current Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Nepal in his address to the Board highlighted the role of SAU in facilitating regional cooperation in higher education and research. He also made it a point to thank the previous Governing Board members for their hard work in making SAU a reputable platform for teaching, learning and research in the South Asia region.
His Excellency, Mr. Md. Golam Sarwar, Secretary General of SAARC, attended the meeting as the Chief Guest. He hailed South Asian University as one of the significant accomplishments of SAARC and underlined how the University is contributing to the welfare and improving the quality of life of the peoples of the region through education, as was defined as one of the objectives in its Charter. He further shared his views about how important a potential the University holds to foster socio-economic and cultural collaboration among the South Asian nations.
The Governing Board commended the academic progress and major activities conducted by the University, especially the relocation of the University to the permanent campus in Maidan Garhi, South Delhi. The Board approved the appointment of the next President of SAU. Prof. K. K. Aggarwal from India will be the new regular President of SAU. The Board further endorsed the transfer of Chairmanship of the Governing Board to Pakistan, from Nepal, on the principle of rotation in alphabetical order of the Member Nations. SAU’s budget for 2023-24 and the academic calendar for 2024-25 were also passed by the Board.
Taking note of the necessity to take the expansion plan of the University further, the Board constituted the Academic and Finance Planning Committee. This Committee will look into the Phase II expansion of the University to its full potential with regard to academic and financial aspects as envisaged in the University’s original plan.
The GB members also agreed that regular meetings of the Governing Board, as mandated in the SAU Rules and Regulations, will be convened.
Other esteemed members who attended the meeting included Prof. Dr. Muhammed Alamgir, Chairman (Addl. Charge), University Grants Commission, Dhaka, Bangladesh; Mr. Abdul Motaleb Sorker, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh; Mr. Karma Galay, Director General, Department of School Education, Ministry of Education & Skills Development, Thimpu, Bhutan; Dr. Archana Thakur, Joint Secretary, University Grants Commission, New Delhi; Mr. CSR Ram, Joint Secretary (BIMSTEC & SAARC), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India; Dr. Maryam Mariya, Minister of Higher Education, Labour and Skills Development, Maldives; Dr. Mahamood Shougee, Chancellor of the Maldives National University, Maldives; Ms. Rita Dhital, Joint Secretary, Regional Organization Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kathmandu, Nepal; Prof. Dr. Zia Ul-Qayyum, Executive Director, Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad; Mr. Umair Ali, Counsellor/ DCM, Embassy of Pakistan, Kathmandu; Senior Professor Sampath Amarathunge, Chairman, University Grants Commission, Colombo, Sri Lanka; Mrs. T. P. Dharmasena, Director General of SAARC, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombo, Sri Lanka and Ms. Irosha Cooray, Director, SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu, Nepal.