Prof. Gasim Badri

ResumeDSC 0511

  • Professor Gasim Yusuf Babiker Badri
  • Humanity, Success and Achievement


  • University of California at Santa Barbara
  • Ph.D. Education. Early Childhood Education 1978
  • MA Education Early Childhood Education 1976
  • Oxford University
  • Advanced Certificate of Education 1974
  • American University of Beirut
  • MA History 1971
  • BA History 1968
  • Diploma of Education 1968

Current Position

  • Professor of Early Childhood Education
  • President of Ahfad University for Women


Professor Dr. Gasim Badri was born on the 12 December 1946, married with one son. He is the son of a family dedicated itself to education in Sudan, his grandfather was a pioneer of girls’ education in 1907. His father was a pioneer for non-government higher education in Sudan, who established the first women university in Africa and the Middle East. Grasim’s destiny to follow his father’s steps to sustain and promote this national heritage seems to have started since his birth on the same date and month as his father, both born on the 12th December.

He was born in Omdurman, considered by Sudanese as the national capital, one of the three towns that make the capital Khartoum. He studied kindergarten till secondary education in Ahfad schools. At an early age of 17 he decided to study history and psychology at the American University in Beirut (AUB). He chose a discipline and career that will link with AUW. He has been working as junior lecturer at AUW even before he graduated with MA in history in 1971. Gradually he promoted his career in lines that will help him to lead the university. Prof. Gasim is the third generation in taking the leadership of Ahfad University for Women (AUW) since 1978 after he had completed his doctoral studies in the University of California at Santa Barbara, USA. In 1982, he became the dean of the University. Gasim was officially elected by the Board of Trustees, the president of the University not because he is the son of the founder but he was the most qualified in terms of academic qualifications, well experienced in managing and running the university, with fund raising abilities and a prominent social figure with wide external relationships. In addition his distinguished traits: his vision, patience and coping with stress, making hardest decisions in the toughest time, and above all his patriotic responsibility towards advancement of Sudan in general and women in particular. It was a unanimous decision by the Board of Trustees and faculty members, technicians, clerks and laborers in supporting Prof. Gasim as the president of the University. He is also the head of the Badri family which consists of five generations.

Prof. Gasim is the patron of Babiker Bedri Scientific Association for Women Studies, Community Animator Friendly Association (CAFA) which are the outreach activities arms of the University.

He is the patron of Bishop Mubarak Fund.

He is the good will ambassador for the TB control in Sudan

He played a role in the peace agreement in Nivasha in 2006.

He is an honorary member and former President of the Rotary Club, Sudan Branch.

Gasim: Initiatives and Achievements

Prof. Gasim personality and his zeal for achievement, influenced by traditions and international exposure led him to articulate a holistic role for AUW ambition to encompass all functions of a new university for the 21st Century.

During his era, AUW has witnessed development in terms of infrastructure and number of enrolled students which doubled. The premises of the University were expanded and each school has its own building. The number of Schools was increased to eight by establishing the School of Pharmacy in 2001, the School of Languages and the School of Graduate Studies in 2015. In addition, specialized units and institute have been established. Those are the Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies, the first one in Sudan, Africa and the Middle East offering MSc and Ph.D. in Gender and Development, Nutrition Centre for Training and Research, Ahfad Centre for Science and Technology, Documentation Unit, Teachers Research and Resources Unit, English Language Unit, Early Childhood Development Centre, Ahfad Reproductive Health Centre, and Information Technology Unit.

Also Dr. Gasim’s ambition extended to establish postgraduate studies (offering Ph.D and masters) in human nutrition, Gender and Development, Poverty Reduction and Rural Sustainable Development, Business Administration. They are all rare specializations available at the country level.

Currently, the number of students in AUW is about 7000 with diversified backgrounds from all parts of Sudan, neighboring countries and around the world. He strives to create a vibrant friendly community of many ethnic groups, cultures and religions from all over the Sudan even through the 20 years of ethnic conflict in the South.

Gasim’s Link with Community: Transformation and Development

Prof. Gasim philosophy and dedication goes beyond producing qualified graduates and new knowledge but equally committed to social responsibility and civic engagement in community development specifically women empowerment and fostering this responsibility in his faculty staff. He believed in the engagement of the AUW within the community and developed and maintained it. This is witnessed in compulsory courses taught to all students in different specializations. One of them is the annual rural extension fieldtrips, part of the Rural Extension Program, which aims to build leadership skills and to instill needed values that would contribute to social change. AUW has over 35 years of experience in preparing women for professional services and to become effective leaders in their communities. During this time, students live in rural villages and conduct classes and demonstrations to provide local women with knowledge and skills for improving their lives and those of their families and to prepare the women to be leaders in their communities. Students disseminate and deliver messages of development, women empowerment, peace building, women and child rights etc, according to areas visited. Also, there are family attachment programs in School of Medicine, School of REED, and School of Psychology.

AUW Out-reach Arms are voluntary organizations formed through an initiative of AUW and hosted within the university campus, namely: Babiker Badri Scientific Association for Women Studies (BBSAWS), CAFA) and Sudanese American Foundation for Education (SAFE). These voluntary programs carry outreach programs in terms of training, awareness raising, networking, research activities to different communities addressing different themes of women empowerment, human and women’s rights, and culture of peace. SAFE is dedicated to the provision of references and text books to AUW donated from American universities whereby AUW distributes these books to other universities through its annual book fair.

The revolving fund programme is another initiative witnessed in AUW during Gasim’s leadership. It provides small scale income generating projects for internally displaced women a program AUW has been involved in for more than a decade to selected areas of displaced communities, who have been reallocated to peripheral areas of city due to war. These small projects improve the socio- economic status of the family.

Literacy program offered to Ahfad’s laborers and people in the neighborhood communities is another contribution towards reducing illiteracy.

Another contribution which has been maintained and developed by Gasim support to community development is “The White Nile Water Project: A Source of Food and Health” was a major outreach activity in providing water to rural villages and a result of AUW/Iowa State University (ISU) international linkage. (See attached document for other activities).

Gasim: Philanthropic Role

Gasim believes in a mission of helping all people, offering opportunities especially to those who are debarred from getting it due to circumstances beyond their control and even those who messed with their future. Gasim is a philanthropist and his kindness to the disadvantaged students is reflected in his policy of scholarships for disadvantaged students.

35% of student body receive scholarships. These scholarships are not offered on academic excellence of the student but on her disadvantaged status, they are also free donations (not a loan).

25% of students receive reduced and/or waived fees to ensure they can attend.

Fellowships are offered for post-graduate studies. They are donated by AUW counterpart projects to underprivileged women.

The majority of those students come from the Southern State, Darfur, Kordofan, Eastern State and Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile States.(See Tables 2-4 in attached document).

Gasim goes beyond the limits of what the University Council considers as feasible to waive fees because his office doors are open to all citizens and non-citizens to discuss their financial problems at personal level with each student and/or parents or even government officials from torn States. Approval is taken from him directly to reduce fees or to wave them. This led to huge deficit covered through engaging in fund raising from local donors mainly and some foreign support or partnership that could pay for other costs of staff capacity building or institutional strengthening. Hence, allowing some of the main budget to fund these non-repayable scholarships to these students, mainly from Bishop Mubarak Fund and Sudan Council of Churches.

Gasim’s Abilities to Operating in a Harsh Environment

Gasim’s wisdom of steering the university to quality promotion despite challenges of lack of financial support from government, sanctions on Sudan by Western donors that impacted negatively for years on AUW receiving external bilateral donations as well as the overall dwindling incomes and profits of the national capitalist, deserves to be credited. This needed extensive work for strengthening relationships nationally and internationally. Investing time to build good relationships with the government policy makers and all politicians in a harmonious way is a key to make the University continue. There are those who think of AUW as westernized that has to be treated as an enemy and others who could not conceive that a non-government institution not to be a private profit-making enterprise. Their vision for doing well for the people without expecting reward is a missionary zeal beyond their perception. Hence, accepting large numbers of students without fees, working hard to give them quality education even when they are from disadvantaged families and regions is a task some cannot think as worth the effort. It is those few who insisted that AUW should not be exempted from taxes and religious forced alms `Zakat’ which the government decides on. Gasim understands how to play a soft balanced game to minimize those last categories and maximize supporters. Being member to many NGOs, CBOs, social relationships and social networking, hospitality and personal warmth with humility that make him a popular Sudanese figure. Gasim is known to be honest, with no rumor of embezzlement and corruption led many Sudanese and foreigners to trust AUW top management and offer donations that are used appropriately and for what is ear-marked for.

Gasim and AUW: A Place for All

AUW supporter from most Sudanese who could understand that AUW is a true and all Sudanese people foundation established to be an institution that gives quality education for its girls, space of freedom, a space for many to find refugee in to discuss their human rights violations, conflict causes and peace building. Its conference hall and out spaces witnessed the debates over these issues as well as honoring many great Sudanese people by awarding them certificates of recognition or doctoral honorary degrees.

He initiated the idea that AUW choral would contribute by songs especially composed for various occasions for the live and deceased.

AUW is the only university which held a special condolence day for the late John Garang, allowed university buses to take students to give their grief-tribute and condolences for the sudden and untimely death of the SPLM leader.

Gasim’s Support to Women Empowerment

Gasim’s vision of how to empower women was not only bound within the university through its programs or appointment of female staff at top management positions but also to recognize those women who contributed to Sudanese women development or to their institutions promotion or as role models as strong women (See annex on AUW women and gender programs). He nurtured and supported all initiatives that will contribute to women’s empowerment and personally engaged in these activities.

AUW as a site for women empowerment is marked by giving the largest number of awards to Sudanese Women, a total of 45 women holding key decision-making positions received certificates of recognition and 19 women received honorary doctoral degrees. Gasim will also host people who want to give tribute, to celebrate achievements of the deceased of so many Sudanese leaders, politicians, great musicians, athletes, writers, academicians and many others of both genders.

Gasim's support and dedication to Children's welfare and Education:

Gasim has great concern for the welfare of children. This concern has influenced his choice of field of studies and has shaped his academic career .His master degree thesis was on kindergarten education in the Sudan. His Ph.D. Research was on Child rearing practices in the Sudan focusing on child development and proposing a programme for Parent's Education. Most of his published research is on Early stimulation of children and importance of training mothers in early childhood learning interventions with their children and the effect of this on the personality and other developmental aspects of young children. At Ahfad University for Women Gasim has established the specialization of B.Sc. majoring in Psychology and Early childhood. He also established the Early Childhood Centre which the child development laboratory for this specialization and a model child care facility for pre-school children. In addition to young children he also resumed the opening of education facilities for school-age children and attached them to the Ahfad UW as a model for linking Schools to colleges of higher education. These are the Ahfad High School and the Ahfad Basic School. Gasim has special concern for the education of children with disabilities. He contracted an agreement with partner NGO to establish a vocational school for children with mild mental disability. The school is established at the premises of Ahfad UW and has strong academic link to the faculty of psychology (special education).

AUW Regional and International Links:

Gasim’s philosophy that AUW should also endeavor to create links at regional and international levels to exchange experiences, information and contribute to the internationalization of knowledge.

Gasim believes in promoting shared and universal human values, and the engagement AUW with neighboring and global countries to serve and strengthen the society of which it is part. Dr. Gasim’s unique personality and his extensive external relationships and friendships resulted in various links at regional and international levels, with support from some faculty members, including: capacity building for the staff (Ph.D. and M.Sc.), conferences and Summer Schools, student and staff exchange programs, trainings, joint research, curriculum development.

In his leadership, AUW, had singed over 65 Memorandum of Understanding based on partner commitments to reciprocal contributions related to teaching, research, extension, faculty development, students and faculty exchange, and institutional strengthening (See AUW linkages in attached document).

Capacity building:

Gasim has always strived to develop his staff faculty members by receiving masters and doctorate degrees via variety of those international linkages (total of 55 masters and 23 doctorate degrees). Not only were university programs improved, but faculty members were enriched by opportunities for international faculty exchanges.


Part of Prof. Gasim’s policy of staff development is enforcing research as an integral part of the university activities. Faculty members are encouraged to participate in research projects related to cross-cultural patterns, peace building, gender mainstreaming, women political participation, women's health, breastfeeding and fertility, developments of local antigens and curriculum development in various related areas of study. Such as the development of curricula on integrating human rights in education, research studies on women and adolescents rights in Sudanese legislations, macro-micro peace after the CPAD, local governance in Sudan after the CPA are some of the national, regional and international research partnership projects that brought on board staff from Germany, Norway, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and nationals from Juba University, University of Khartoum, Delang and Upper Nile Universities.

Summer School, Internships and Conferences

Dr. Gasim distinct belief in scholarly work resulted in various links, one of them with Humboldt University in Berlin in terms of Summer Schools. The philosophy behind the Summer Schools is to bring to the focus gender and peace issues and international debates of interest in each country. Moreover, to lead to further capacity building, information sharing, knowledge creation, strengthen links and achieve internationalization.

The Students exchange:

Some of AUW link programs considered that students exchange is the future for the internationalization of universities.  A total number of 250 Sudanese AUW students since AUW started its international link program have visited various countries and a total of 160 from various world wide universities have visited AUW in exchange programs from different countries of contests decided to choose AUW as their place for cultural exposure. Dr. Gasim welcomes them by sending invitation letters and personally guarantee that they get an entry visa and being welcomed.

Gasim’s Balanced Personality and Endeavours

Gasim plays a prominent role in the political, social and economic activities. He is an activist and member of the National Council for Higher Institute, National Council for Scientific Research, National Council for Non-government and Private Higher Education, as well as member in the Board of Trustees of some universities, such as Omdurman AlAhliya.

His strong and diplomatic personality, vision and rationality and objectivity in making decisions led him to stand up against government decisions such as Arabicization of the curricula to keep the excellent standard and reputation of AUW. He does not believe in political Islam and antifundamentalist.

Though maintaining the University philosophy of not engaging in political activities inside the premises, he managed to run the AUW effectively according its academic calendar and not jeopardizing it to be closed by government or any political system. This has all led to a conducive environment in terms of autonomy to conduct scientific research by staff, and socio-cultural activities by students, granting freedom of expression without being affiliated to a political ideology.

Gasim Style of Management

Gasim’s management made AUW the only university in Sudan that has not witnessed students or management violence. It continued to be stable while having a large space of freedom, different initiatives and collective activism. The dialogue and participatory approaches made it possible for AUIW to be a peaceful site as well as one of respecting freedoms and rights.

His office doors are also open to staff to discuss initiatives, innovations and even personal problems. This close personal engagement, freedom, non-hierarchical management style, parent and brotherhood atmosphere make the staff committed to continue working at AUW despite the relatively low salaries

It is Gasim’s way of management that has not led to any students or staff strikes or demonstrations in AUW. Outside politics do not negatively influence AUW. Gasim tries his best to make all partners satisfied (students, staff, parents, government, civil society). The game is played with all those diverse stakeholders to make each individually and collectively satisfied that AUW belongs to all of them without discrimination, marginalization or hegemony. This friendly atmosphere allowed AUW to promote itself on annual basis all those years.

Gasim encouraged Southern students to form their association AUUSA, other leagues for students from Eastern Sudan and Darfur also formed a means of supporting each other and linking with home areas.

Gasim’s belief in democracy and freedom of expression have opened avenues to the university to participate and have a leading role in national issues, most important peace building and human rights and membership of his staff in different Sudanese networks. The directors of the Network for Women and Peace, Population Network and FGM Network are all from Ahfad faculty. Some of the activities that AUW has taken are:

AUW was present during meetings with the UN Secretary General visit to Khartoum in 1999 and 2007, Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict and UNIFEM representative and UN special rapportuer on Human Rights, during the HAP conference, 1999.

AUW was one of the members of the Sudanese Women Peace Advocacy Mission during UN Beijing +5, 2000.

It participated at the Washington meeting with the American Congress (House of Senate and House of Representatives) along with other Women groups from SPLA, 2000.

AUW presence in Sudan Peace Negotiations.

The Maastricht – declaration of the Sudanese Women Centre for Peace. Netherlands, Maastricht April 2000.

The Mishakos position paper by Sudanese women (in collaboration with other national NGOs), 2002.

The Nivasha women delegation where two staff members and one graduate were among the six delegates.

Another distinguished characteristic of Dr. Gasim despite his responsibilities and fulltime occupation with managing AUW makes sure that he attends all events whether it is social, political or cultural. He attends all meetings and all invitations whatsoever.

He is frequently hosted in radio and television to discuss psychological issues and speak about AUW experience.

He is a prominent figure in all diplomatic events that take place in embassies in Khartoum, as well as UN agencies and other International NGOs.

He is a role model of an academician and activists, despite his tight schedule in the university administration; he is still maintaining his academic duties such as lecturing, supervising and examining postgraduate research studies.

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