Emory Report
March 27, 2006
Volume 58, Number 24


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March 27 , 2006
Awards dinner to honor An-Na’im, Austrian alum

Lailee Mendelson is manager of public relations for the Office of International Affairs.

Emory will present its highest international awards during a March 27 ceremony that will honor two individuals who have significantly contributed to the University’s internationalization.

Abdullahi An-Na’im, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law, will receive this year’s Marion V. Creekmore Award for Internationalization for his tireless efforts to build upon human rights scholarship that effects positive social change around the world.

The Creekmore Award (named for Emory’s first vice provost for international affairs, Marion Creekmore) was established by Claus Halle and is given each year to an Emory faculty member who excels in the advancement of the University’s commitment to internationalization.

An-Na’im is an internationally recognized scholar on Islam and human rights and a senior fellow in the School of Law’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion. Since coming to Emory in 1995, he has worked to promote an understanding of Islam consistent with international human rights standards, and to put scholarship in the service of improving human rights, in particular for women, children and religious minorities living in Islamic nations.

“Professor An-Na’im has made it his life-long ambition to develop a genuine Islamic theory and practice of human rights, democratization and rule of law,” said interim law Dean Frank Alexander. “He now stands at the height of his intellectual powers, and the world now stands at the height of its need for understanding of and reconciliation with the Islamic world.”

An-Na’im is the author and editor of 15 books and more than 50 articles and book chapters on human rights, constitutionalism, Islamic law and politics. Over the past decade, his work has attracted nearly $2 million in support from the Ford Foundation for a series of multi-year, international research projects, including studies on women and land rights in Africa, Islamic family law and an Islam and human rights fellowship program, which brought to Emory more than a dozen scholar-activists from Islamic nations advocating for social change in their home countries.

His current project is a two-year study on the future of Islamic law (shari’a) and the role of religious neutrality in Islamic societies.

The second award, the Sheth Distinguished International Alumni Award, will be presented to Austrian Manfred Asamer, graduate of the Goizueta Business School (’86MBA).

The Sheth Award, established by Mahdu and Jagdish Sheth, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing, recognizes Emory’s international alumni who have distinguished themselves in service to universities, governments, private sector firms or nongovernmental organizations.

Asamer is president and CEO of Asamer & Hufnagl Holding AG, a company active in gravel, stone, concrete, cement, recycling, waste treatment and real estate. One of the largest and most important companies in the state of Upper Austria, the firm has 2,700 employees and 95 operational sites in 12 countries: Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Saudi Arabia. The company’s foundation (building materials) has been critical to the expansion and rebuilding of infrastructure throughout post-Soviet Central and Eastern Europe.

Asamer is being honored for his personal accomplishments, for the important role he and his company play in the economic reemergence of East and Central Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and for bringing recognition to Emory through his support of Goizueta’s close relationship with its oldest exchange partner, the Johannes Kepler University of Linz, Austria.

A University of Linz graduate himself, Asamer was among the first Austrians to be awarded a Goizueta MBA. Today, Goizueta has awarded 55 MBAs to students from the University of Linz, making Austria home to one of the largest populations of Emory degree-holders outside of the United States. Asamer’s support for Emory continues through his membership on EMEA, the University’s international advisory board for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Goizueta Professor Al Hartgraves, who for almost two decades has been Emory’s point person for the University of Linz partnership, said that over the years he has observed Asamer’s development as an Austrian business leader.

“Dr. Asamer inherited the opportunity for leadership of a fine family business,” Hartgraves said, “but through his extraordinary abilities and efforts has grown a solid family business into a great entrepreneurial enterprise.”