Defining Moments: A Memoir Zawawi Ismail
Author: Zawawi Ismail
Publisher: UKM Press
Pages: 272 pp
Weight: 0.23 kg
Price: RM 65
Dr Zawawi Ismail admits that he was bewildered when the then Minister, Dr Sulaiman Daud, told that he had five months to implement his proposed plans for a new university in Sarawak. The Minister had handpicked him three months earlier to prepare a blueprint and a roadmap for a new University. Zawawi had many sleepless night thinking about the academic plan, how to create a culture of excellence in the midst of rapid change. At the end of three months, in January 1993, he presented his 'Tree Book' plan to the Minister not knowing the Minister was in a hurry to see the plans implemented. The time line was a killer. More disheartening was the chosen location - a swath of secondary peat forest far outside Kuching. But Professor Zawawi must have found the challenge irresistible when he left the National University of Malaysia (UKM), the university he was with since its early formative years. Although Zawawi had played several management roles in his previous university he still found the task daunting. How was he to inspire the pioneering spirit of those among the best, entrenched in their respective comfort zones, to be uprooted and join him, to share his dream of Malaysia's eight university?How could he realise his innovative ideas of a university and its campus? He knew he had to have a strong vision and leadership skilss, and the energy to create something that can make a difference. University Malaysia Sarawak or Unimas now has one of the best if not the best campus in the region. Kota Samarahan meanwhile has become pretty university town. His memoir narrates his journey creating a university from scratch, the ups and downs, telling stories behind a story. It is his opportunity too to narrate some of the defining moments in his life painting pictures of what were then.
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