Ahfad University for Women

Coordinates: 15°38′41″N 32°28′17″E / 15.6447855°N 32.4715197°E / 15.6447855; 32.4715197
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15°38′41″N 32°28′17″E / 15.6447855°N 32.4715197°E / 15.6447855; 32.4715197
Ahfad University for Women (AUW)
جامعـــة الأحفـــاد للبنـــات
MottoWomen's Education Since 1907
PresidentProf. Gasim Badri
Location, ,

Ahfad University for Women is a private women's university in Omdurman, Sudan[1] that was founded in 1966, by Yusuf Badri, son of the Mahdist soldier Babiker Badri. The university began with only 23 students and 3 teachers. It was the first Sudanese women's college.[2] The current president is Prof. Gasim Badri, Yusuf Badri's son.[3]


Ahfad University for Women was founded in a familial tradition of educating girls in Sudan. After the battle of 1898 when Sudanese Mahdist forces were defeated by the Anglo-Egyptian army, Babiker Badri — a Sudanese survivor — settled in the village of Rufu'a. It was there that he opened a secular school for boys. In 1904, he asked the British authorities for permission to open an elementary school for girls — who he believed also needed to be educated. His request was denied twice, before it was finally granted by James Currie, the Director of the Educational Department of the British administration in Sudan. In 1907, Babiker Badri opened his secular school for girls in a mud hut with nine of his own daughters along with eight neighborhood girls.[4][5]

The Badri family carried on this tradition of private education for three generations in Sudan. Babiker's son Yusuf established Ahfad University in 1966, and it started with only 23 students and three faculty members, including Yusuf.[6]

The university was granted full university status in 1995 by the Sudan National Council for Higher Education, due to its expansion of curriculum and student body. It is the oldest and largest private university in Sudan to date.[7]

In a 2018 interview, British-Sudanese journalist Zeinab Badawi talked about her great-grandfather Babiker Badri:[8]

At that time, girls were not educated but my great-grandfather wanted to change this, and he started with his own daughters. Despite the hostility from the British authorities and the Sudanese community, he established a school for his children in his own house.

— Zeinab Badawi, “My hyphenated identity is an advantage”


The university has the following undergraduate schools:

  • School of Management Studies (formerly School of Organizational Management)
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Psychology and Pre-School Education
  • School of Rural Extension Education and Development
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Pharmacy.

It offers graduate programs in:

  • Human Nutrition
  • Gender and Development
  • Gender and Peace Studies
  • Sustainable Rural Development
  • Business Administration
  • Microfinance
  • Counseling and Heath Psychology
  • High Diploma in Teaching of English as a Foreign Language
  • High Diploma in Teaching of Family Sciences

AUW's medium of instruction is English.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ahfad University for Women". Ahfad University for Women. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
  2. ^ "History of the University". Ahfad University for Women. 2007.
  3. ^ "Prof. Gasim Badri". Ahfad University for Women. 2007.
  4. ^ "In 1907 Sheikh Babikr Bedri, a Sudanese headmaster of a village boys’ school, petitioned the government for permission to open a school for Sudanese girls. The first class was made up of just seventeen girls, nine of whom were from Bedri's own family. The school proved a success, and in 1911 the Anglo-Egyptian government officially took control of girls’ education. Sudanese were divided over the appropriateness of girls’ education. Many believed that Islam allowed for women to be educated in order to better instruct their children, but critics were concerned that a Sudanese woman who was too educated would not willingly carry out her domestic responsibilities or submit to the demands to her husband. Nevertheless, the popularity of girls’ education grew. By the 1940s a Sudanese girl with some level of education was considered a better marriage prospect than her unschooled sisters. Source: Marie Grace Brown (2013 ) Sudan. In Natana J. DeLong-Bas (ed.) The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199764464
  5. ^ Badri, Amna E. (June 2001). "Educating African women for change". search.proquest.com. ProQuest 211125701. Archived from the original on 2022-06-09. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  6. ^ Abusharaf, Rogaia Mustafa (2007-01-22). Female Circumcision: Multicultural Perspectives. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-1941-8.
  7. ^ "Ahfad University for Women: About Us". www.ahfad.org. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  8. ^ UNESCO (2018-01-24). "Zeinab Badawi : "My hyphenated identity is an advantage"". UNESCO. Archived from the original on 2018-03-08. Retrieved 2021-07-06.

Further reading[edit]

  • Marie Grace Brown (2013) Sudan. Natana J. DeLong-Bas (ed.) The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199764464
  • Enrico Ille (2016) Political, financial and moral aspects of Sudan’s private higher education. Rethinking private higher education. Ethnographic perspectives, edited by Daniele Cantini. Leiden: Brill, 98-130