New vice president brings global outlook, experience


Asif Chaudhry, new vice president of International Programs, garners international and domestic affairs accolades for WSU.

Asif Chaudhry always longed to see the world. This desire took him from his home country of Pakistan to American University of Beirut, a doctoral program in Pullman, and years of international work. Now he will return to Pullman to serve as the vice president of International Programs.

“I had it in me always to do different things,” Chaudhry said. “I had this desire to see the world and experience global cultures.”

Chaudhry earned his doctoral degree in agricultural economics from Washington State University in 1988.

He started working in the State Department as an agricultural economist in late 1988. In 1990, he became a Foreign Service officer and, two years later, took his first overseas assignment in Warsaw, Poland.

Chaudhry said his most rewarding experience was serving as ambassador to Moldova in eastern Europe.

As an ambassador, he is responsible for overseeing every aspect of the assigned country.

“As a result of some of the work we did (in Moldova), it actually put a nation on a path of freedom, a path of economic development, a path of true democratic values,” he said. “So, to be able to participate in the process of transformation of a national direction, that is very gratifying.”

A self-proclaimed “die-hard Cougar,” Chaudhry will put his expertise to use in the International Programs office beginning June 1.

“We are really looking for this position to redefine what WSU will look like globally,” said Dan Bernardo, WSU provost and executive vice president.

Bernardo said WSU is looking to build significant, long-term relationships with specific countries and universities that will bring benefits to those nations, as well as WSU.

Due to his Foreign Service work, Chaudhry has good connections in Eastern Europe, Bernardo said, which could help with recruiting students from those nations and building diversity on the WSU campus.

WSU has a very robust International Programs department, Chaudhry said, noting strong relationships with universities abroad and having a significant amount of research activity that is linked to other countries.

Erin-Kae Rice, senior adviser and director of operations at International Programs, said she hopes all of Chaudhry’s experience will help grow international relationships even more.

“The world is so interconnected,” Chaudhry said. “So we should be doing all our activities, programs, international research, with an eye on how it’s relevant to the world.”

Chaudhry said he hopes WSU will be a campus where professors, students and researchers think globally whenever they take on a teaching or research opportunity.

“I think in this university it already exists to a great degree and I hope that with some of my experience … we can make that more of a priority,” he said.