AUIS Board of Trustees Elects New Chair | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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AUIS Board of Trustees Elects New Chair

Sunday, November 6, 2016 - 13:30

Press Release:

Dr. Jill Derby elected new Chair as Dr. Barham Salih completes his term. 

November 6, 2016 - Sulaimani (KRG), Iraq - The Board of Trustees of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) elected Dr. Jill Derby as the new Chair at the annual Board meeting on November 1, 2016 in Washington D.C. The Board held the election as the former Chair,  Dr. Barham Salih, stepped down from the position after completing his term according to the bylaws of the University. He had held the position since the founding of the University in 2007.

“Founded just ten years ago, AUIS is a remarkable success story of diversity, openness and education at its best. In an article for the New York Times, Thomas Friedman once called AUIS Iraq’s best hope, “an American university that is teaching the values of inclusiveness.” We owe this remarkable success to the visionary leadership and dedication of our founder Dr. Barham Salih. I will strive to carry forward his commitment to excellence which AUIS embodies, and his devotion to the students the University serves,” said Dr. Derby, who has been a member of the AUIS Board of Trustees since September 2012 and was previously serving as the Vice Chair.

Congratulating Dr. Derby on her new appointment, AUIS President Bruce Walker Ferguson said, “Dr. Barham’s contributions to the University, as founder and as a visionary force, have been crucial to the introduction of modern liberal arts education to the region.  Dr. Jill’s long experience in American higher education will help AUIS attain the next level of high-quality, affordable undergraduate education.  I look forward to continuing to work with both of these remarkable trustees and commend their commitment and dedication to the students and faculty of AUIS.”

During the meeting, the Board expressed its appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Barham Salih in a resolution: “The Board of Trustees, on behalf of the students, staff, faculty, alumni, and other members of the community at The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, conveys to Dr. Barham Salih its deepest respect and gratitude for the inspiration, visionary leadership and tireless effort he has provided for more than a decade as our founder and Chair.”

The Board also elected Dr. Bakhteyar Shamsadeen as the new Vice Chair, re-elected Azzam Alwash as the new Secretary, and elected Mr. Mohammed Ali as Treasurer.

In another resolution, the Board acknowledged its gratitude and respect for the “troops in the Kurdistan’s peshmerga, Iraqi military and security forces, the U.S. armed forces, and other coalition military and security units fighting to defend a peaceful and just society in the Kurdistan region and across Iraq.”

For more information about the AUIS Board of Trustees, please visit

Jill Derby is a governance consultant with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), where she has worked for more than ten years to enhance governance effectiveness and performance among American and Canadian higher education boards. She served on two Nevada college faculties before transitioning to a policy role on the Nevada Board of Regents. She was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity by the U.S. Senate in 2011. She received her PhD from the University of California, Davis with a concentration on the Arab Middle East. Read full profile.

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. As a non-profit institution for the public good, the University and its assets are not owned by any individual or group of individuals.

The growing student body at AUIS represents the region’s diverse ethnic and religious landscape as the University continues to 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. As a non-profit institution for the public good, the University and its assets are not owned by any individual or group of individuals.

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For media enquiries or interview requests, please contact Mehr Zahra, director of communications, at mehr.zahra [at] or 964(0)772-3399-305.