Two women of substance get honorary degrees


All smiles: (From fourth left) Dr Ho, WOU deputy vice-chancellor Madhulika Kaushik, Yap and members of the WOU senate and management board in a group photo after the press conference.

SOCIAL activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir is one of two women to be conferred the Honorary Doctor of Letters degree at Wawasan Open University (WOU)’s 5th Convocation Ceremony.

The other recipient is Prof Tian Belawati, the rector of one of the largest open universities in Indonesia, Universitas Terbuka (UT).

WOU chairman Datuk Seri Stephen Yap said the two women epitomised commitment and passion in their respective fields as well as the causes they represented and championed.

“Both women are highly regarded individuals.

“Marina has valiantly highlighted and continues to champion pertinent issues affecting society through the many roles she plays as a writer, women’s rights and HIV/AIDS activist and as a TV producer,” Yap told a press conference.

Marina sits on the Board of Sisters in Islam, Maybank Foundation and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.

She is also a member of the International Advisory Council of the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and International Advisory Group of Musawah, the global movement for justice and equality in the Muslim family and National Unity Consultative Council.

Belawati is the president of the International Council for Open and Distance Education, a membership organisation for the global open and distance education community.

Yap said Belawati was renowned for her work in open distance learning (ODL) at UT for her various joint initiatives with other ODL players to bring global credibility to the field.

She had received several awards and accolades for her contributions in ODL, including the ‘Meritorious Service Award’ for the Asian Association of Open Universities in 2012, and the ‘Distinguished Individual Promoter of the ODL’ award from the African Council for Distance Education in June this year.

WOU vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Ho Sinn Chye, who was also at the press conference, said Wong Liang Yeong of Selangor was the winner of WOU ‘Chancellor’s Gold Medal’ and Cheah Phaik Hoon, a Penang resident, would be awarded the ‘Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Memorial Prize’ this year during the convocation on Nov 29 and Nov 30.

WOU chancellor Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah will preside over the first session while pro-chancellor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon will preside the second session on Nov 29.

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