American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, Appoints Bruce Walker Ferguson as President | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, Appoints Bruce Walker Ferguson as President

Saturday, August 6, 2016 - 11:15

August 6, 2016 - Sulaimani (KRG), Iraq: The Board of Trustees at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) has announced the appointment of Professor Bruce Walker Ferguson as the next president of AUIS. Professor Ferguson assumed office on August 1, 2016. He succeeds Dr. Esther Mulnix, vice president of academic affairs, who has served as interim president since December 2014.


“The presidential search committee is proud to introduce to the AUIS community Professor Bruce Walker Ferguson, a highly successful educator and entrepreneur with a record of accomplished leadership,” said Dr. Jill Derby, vice chair of the AUIS Board of Trustees, as she welcomed the new president. “His impressive credentials and history of innovative prominence will serve our university well. Along with his background of distinguished leadership, his interpersonal skills impressed the committee that unanimously and enthusiastically recommended him for the AUIS presidency.”

Dr. Barham Salih, chair of the AUIS Board, also welcomed the new appointment: “I am extremely pleased with the choice of the Board of Trustees in appointing Bruce Ferguson as the new president. He brings impressive academic credentials and a strong record of successful institutional leadership. As the University celebrates a decade of excellence in liberal arts education, I am confident that under the new leadership, AUIS will continue to thrive as the university of choice in Iraq and the wider region." Professor Ferguson’s appointment has also been formally endorsed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

As an educator, entrepreneur and investor with a keen interest in science and technology, Ferguson brings to AUIS a distinctive combination of institutional innovation and management expertise.  Before joining the university he served as Professor of Practice in the Department of Engineering Systems and Management, and as the founding Head of the Institute Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, UAE, a graduate research institute operated in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He is a co-founder and former chief operating officer of Orbital ATK, a space technology company listed on the New York Stock Exchange; a co-founder and former chief executive officer of Edenspace Systems Corporation, an environmental and biotechnology company; and an early-stage investor in more than a dozen technology companies. Currently vice chair of the Carnegie Institution for Science, he is a former Fellow at the George Washington University Center for International Science and Technology Policy and former vice chair of the Kansas State University Research Foundation.

“It is my great privilege to help shape the growth of this innovative home for the classic virtues of scholarship,” Ferguson said upon accepting the position at Iraq’s first private and nonprofit liberal arts institution. “The crucial importance of liberal arts education is increasingly apparent in a world that must learn to accommodate conflicting opinions and beliefs, solve problems using fact-based analysis, and foster the good that is in our human nature. I am honored and excited to join the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, a learning-based community dedicated to meeting these needs.”

As AUIS prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2017, the appointment comes at a critical time in a region that is experiencing tumultuous economic and political change. “Finding the right leadership for AUIS was a vital and challenging task,” explained Derby. “As a leader who has successfully implemented innovative change in academia and industry, and as an educator who has studied and taught in North America, South Asia, East Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Professor Ferguson will project a strong and positive presence in the university as it strengthens its connections within Iraq, the region, and abroad.”

Professor Ferguson received his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He received his Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School and Master of Education degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude in government at Harvard College, where he was an honorary Harvard National Scholar. He also attended Delhi University, India as a graduate student of political science and earlier attended the American Community School in Beirut, Lebanon as a boarding student.  He and his wife Heather Sandiford have two children.

About the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani

Established in 2007 as a not-for-profit institution, AUIS is dedicated to providing a comprehensive liberal arts education for the benefit of young men and women from Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, and the wider region. The University seeks to produce graduates of responsible character with the necessary knowledge and skills for professional and national leadership. The academic program, taught in the English language by international faculty, is designed to develop strength in critical thinking, the ability to communicate well, a strong work ethic, good citizenship and personal integrity.

The growing student body at AUIS represents the region’s diverse ethnic and religious landscape as the University continues to the be the destination of choice of more than 1,600 students. Reflecting Sulaimani’s location at an international crossroads, Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Ezidis and Christians, live and study together in an open culture fostering diversity and tolerance. Academic freedom is a principle guaranteed in teaching, learning, and research in a manner identical to that found at regionally accredited colleges and universities in the United States.

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For media enquiries or interview requests, please contact Bzhar Ali Boskani, media and public relations manager, at bzhar.ali [at] or 964(0)770-4615-385.