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Anwar Ibrahim

ANWAR Ibrahim was born on August 10, 1947 in Penang, Malaysia. He received his early education at his hometown before joining the Malay College Kuala Kangsar, a prestigious school that has produced several generations of Malaysian leaders. The college provided the environment for him to develop a keen interest in literature and public speaking.

He joined the University of Malaya at a time when Malaysia was undergoing rapid changes and that coincided with student rebellion all over the world. Anwar was active as a student leader and was elected president of several student organizations. He graduated in 1971.
After graduation, Anwar established his own school to cater for poor dropouts. He pursued his interest in social activism and was elected president of the National Youth Council in 1974 and international committee member of the World Assembly of Youth.

He founded the Malaysian Youth Movement of Malaysia in 1971 and was its president for 10 years. As Muslim youth leader he initiated a series of interfaith dialogue and forged solidarity with youth of other faiths in quest for social justice. In 1973 he was appointed as a member of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group to the United Nations Secretary General on Youth Affairs. Anwar was detained without trial for 18 months in 1974 following students’ protest in support of poor peasants.

Anwar was first elected member of Malaysian parliament in 1982 and subsequently appointed as a deputy minister. In the same year he mounted a successful challenge to take over the leadership of the Youth wing of UMNO, the anchor party of the ruling coalition.

He joined the cabinet as Minister of Youth in 1983 and later served as minister of education and finance. In 1987 Anwar was elected Vice-President of UMNO. While serving as Minister of Education Anwar was elected President of the UNESCO General Conference (1991).
Together with the late Prof. Ismail al-Faruqi (Temple University, Philadelphia) and Dr. Taha Jabir al-Awani, Anwar founded the IIIT (International Institute of Islamic Thought) in 1981 and later set up the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Ashburn, Virginia.

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