WOU honours two women leaders

Wawasan Open University will award Honorary Degrees to two accomplished women leaders and roll out 399 graduates during the fifth convocation ceremony to be held at the main campus on November 29th and 30th.

WOU Chancellor Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah will confer the Honorary Doctor of Letters degrees on social activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and academic Prof Tian Belawati, a leading proponent of open and distance learning (ODL), on the first day.

Dato' Seri Stephen announces the Honorary Degree recipients.

Dato' Seri Stephen announces the Honorary Degree recipients.


In making the announcement at the press conference today, WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap stated, “They are highly regarded individuals, and the epitome of commitment and passion in their respective fields and to the causes that they represent and champion.”

He said Datin Paduka Marina is being recognised for her contribution to the community at large, especially in championing social and cultural issues regardless of ethnicity and political persuasion. “In many instances, she has stood out as the lone, brave voice on social issues, daring to step up and be counted on the side of what is right, irrespective of politics, race or religion,” he stated.”

Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.

Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.


Datin Paduka Marina, 57, is the eldest child of the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. She holds a degree in International Relations from the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. She is a writer, women’s rights and HIV/AIDS activities and TV producer. She has written a fortnightly column on social issues in a local English-language daily for more than 20 years. She currently sits on the Board of Sisters in Islam; is on the International Advisory Group of Musawah, the global movement for justice and equality in the Muslim family; and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

Meanwhile Prof Belawati, 52, is the Rector of Universitas Terbuka (UT), Indonesia since 2009 and the President of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). Dato’ Seri Stephen said the Honorary Degree is to acknowledge her immense contribution to open distance learning (ODL) at UT and “her various joint initiatives with other ODL players to bring global credibility to the field of ODL”.

Prof Belawati.

Prof Belawati.


She holds a Master of Education degree in Management of Distance Education from Simon Fraser University, and a PhD in Adult Education from the University of British Columbia, both in Canada.

WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye announced that of the total 399 graduates, 91 shall come from the postgraduate programmes and 308 from the undergraduate programmes.

He said seven programmes will be producing their first batches of 43 graduates, and they are the MBA in Manufacturing and Production Management (11), MBA in Construction Management (1), Master of Education (4), and the Bachelor’s degrees in construction management (1), liberal studies (15), psychology (6), and primary education (5).

The recipient of the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Memorial Prize for best graduate at the postgraduate level is Cheah Phaik Hoon of Penang from the Commonwealth Executive Master of Public Administration programme. The winner of the Chancellor’s Gold Medal for top graduate at the undergraduate level is Wong Liang Yeong of Selangor from the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Banking and Finance programme.