Abhilasha Singh

Magnificent Academician with a Warrior Mindset

Tackling down hurdles and pacing through barriers is a trait only seldom people possess. Dr. Abhilasha Singh is a prime epitome who has proven this to us on the big canvas called life.

Coming from an affluent but orthodox Brahmin family, Abhilasha carved out her skills to become a global leader in the field of education. Starting her story from her school days, Abhilasha completed her first phase of schooling at Sr. Mary’s Convent School. Later, she switched to Rajghat Basant School in order to complete her secondary education. Even though she was exceptionally keen on pursuing a career in dance, music, and theatre – Abhilasha’s father’s dream of becoming an academician outweighed it. However, her mother’s support remained unconditional.

Taking a look at her academic achievements, she completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Banaras Hindu University. Later, she pursued a Master’s from Delhi University but wasn’t able to complete it due to the unfortunate tragedy of her brother’s sudden demise. It turned out to be a turning point in her life – she had to move from Delhi to Varanasi, leaving everything behind.

However, Abhilasha was always determined and in all adversity completed her Master’s from DAVV, Indore. After her marriage in 1991, she completed her Ph.D. proving to be a true epitome for young girls in India. Intriguingly, Abhilasha expressed that her in-laws and husband became the pillars of her strength throughout her doctoral journey.

Like every other successful woman, Dr. Abhilasha also had to make the tough decision to choose between her family and career. Being a loving mother, Abhilasha chose to support her children until they graduated. Though she never gave up on her dreams either. After serving for three years as Provost, today, she is the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the American University of Emirates, Dubai, and also serves as an executive board member and country director of UAE at the International Higher Education, Teaching and Learning Association (HETL).

In 2006, Dr. Abhilasha moved to Saudi Arabia to join Effat University, following which she joined the Institute of Management Technology in Dubai and later American University in the Emirates. We can say that she has a rare trait of scholar and leader engraved in her.

Dr. Abhilasha is also the recipient of many awards and accolades for her outstanding contribution to education, including from Indus Foundation USA in 2013, the Education Leadership Award in 2014, Indywood educational excellence award in 2017, Asian Education Award in 2019, Research Excellence Award in 2015 and 2019.

Abhilasha firmly believes that teaching, researching, and administration are a set of challenging roles, but this challenge drives her and helps her to keep moving.

Over her thirty-year-long career of educational leadership, Prof. Abhilasha has been the President & CEO, Board of Trustees | 2016 – 2017 at the College of Fashion and Design, Dubai; Vice President for Research & Advancement of the American University in the Emirates, Dubai, 2015 – 2016; Dean and Principal Administrative Officer for the College of Education (2012–2015) and have been engaged in providing strategic directives at a senior leadership role apart from being a Professor of Organizational Behavior & HRM. Abhilasha not only facilitated National and International Accreditation for many programs but also is the author of more than 30 papers, articles, and case studies based upon extensive grant-funded research, published in national and international journals.

Not very surprising for a woman in a powerful position like Abhilasha, who expressed she is very workaholic in nature. She says she was almost at the brink of depression in the year 2020 when the first wave of the pandemic hit the world. One of her sons was hospitalized for over forty-five days, while her other son lost his job. But on the brighter side, she learned to appreciate health and life. During these challenging times, it was work that helped her stay afloat.

Opting for a noble profession, for almost three decades, Dr. Abhilasha has been contributing to productivity and creativity through education and promoting entrepreneurship. Her passion for becoming an academician of value, and her strengths like a nurturing attitude, valuing people, and being a good listener played a huge role in her accomplishments.

A staunch supporter of quality education with a strong commitment to academic excellence and unwavering dedication to the success of students, she is a powerful figure who uncompromisingly teaches us the value of determination and perseverance in life. Someone, we should all look up to!

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Aarti Chabria

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