Remarkable Bangladeshi origin academic is UWA’s 19th Vice Chancellor

By Ram Khatry I 7 July 2020 I A Bangladeshi origin professor with enviable track record in academic achievement and leadership has taken over as the 19th Vice Chancellor of the University of Western Australia.

Prof Amit Chakma, a familiar name in Canadian academia who is passionate about international education, was appointed by the UWA Senate back in December 2019.

Until June 2019, Prof Chakma was associated with the University of Western Ontario as its President and Vice-Chancellor.

The 61-year-old academic heavyweight, who is a Professor of Chemical Engineering, holds a Master of Applied Science and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of British Columbia.

He boasts of a remarkable track record of research activities covering greenhouse gas control technology, energy and environmental model system modelling, petroleum waste management, gas separation and processing and mass transfer.

In this 2018 Facebook (Amit Chakma) photo, Prof Chakma welcomes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Western University’s Alumni Hall for a Town Hall meeting.

Prof Chakma and his wife Meena Chakma had to spend 14 days in self-isolation due to Covid-19 regulations after they flew to Perth from Canada late last month.

“I’m very much looking forward to meeting the wonderful staff and students at UWA and finding my way around this very beautiful campus,” Professor Chakma was quoted as saying in a media release by the UWA, “My main focus will be to connect with the UWA community as we look to recover and rebuild following the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Like all universities worthy of the name, UWA is a creator of new knowledge and a custodian of intellectual endeavour, evidence-based enquiry and academic freedom. They have never been more needed than they are now,” he further added.

Chakma was born in Bangladesh when it was still part of Pakistan. According to Wikipedia, he belongs to Chakma ethnic minority that mostly reside in the south-east region of Bangladesh.

He studied in Ispahani School in Comilla and completed his secondary education from Rangamati Government High School. He passed his HSC examination from Dhaka College in 1976.

His remarkable academic journey was locked in when received a scholarship from the Algerian government to study natural gas processing engineering at Algerian Petroleum Institute from where he is said to have graduated at the top of his class in 1982. 

According to UWA, Prof Chakma served as Vice-President (Academic) and Provost of The University of Waterloo in Canada from 2001 to 2009. He was inaugural Chair of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities and has held senior advisory positions with the Canadian Government on international education strategy and science, technology and innovation.

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