Alumnus Mustaque Ahmed thinks UT Arlington has ideas the whole world should hear. So he’s helping build a megaphone.
Ahmed (’81 BS) recently endowed the Festival of Ideas Global Research Institute, creating a venue for students and the community to explore cultural and intellectual issues. The institute integrates the scholarship and creativity of faculty and graduate students with insights from presentations by world-renowned experts who visit campus.
“My goal is to uplift the school’s image and provide a way for the University community to contribute to the betterment of the world,” says Ahmed, the managing director of Trade Clippers Cargo LLC in Bangladesh. “In time, I hope the institute helps the University gain prominence nationally as well as globally.”
His motivation came from his own experiences as a student. While at UT Arlington, Ahmed regularly attended—and greatly enjoyed—the lectures given by speakers who came to campus. “These were people who had done social good, who had changed the world in a positive way. Their words and works made a big impression on me.”
Inspired by the philanthropy of political science Associate Professor Allan Saxe, Ahmed created the Festival of Ideas in 2005 and endowed it in 2007. The festival offers six public events a year, including lectures in linguistics, political science and other fields, concerts, theatrical performances, and presentations by artists and writers.
“When I was there, UT Arlington was more of a commuter school, so I didn’t have as many opportunities for campus and community involvement as the kids do now,” Ahmed says. “With the festival, I wanted to enhance students’ education and promote more interaction between the University and the greater DFW area.”
The Global Research Institute is a natural progression of that effort. College of Liberal Arts Dean Beth Wright says the institute will enhance faculty and student research in international cultures, histories, languages, literature and the arts.
“Mustaque Ahmed’s generous gift supports a vibrant and illuminating program of events,” she says. “It will benefit everyone on our campus and in our community.”