Short CV of Professor Jamilah Ariffin

Jamilah Ariffin spent her childhood in the state of Perak in Malaysia. From the tender age of 7 years old, she was already a keen sports girl, representing the school in almost all sports e.g. sprinting, long-jump, high-jump, netball and hockey. Eventually she was selected as a state hockey player after participating in the combined secondary schools hockey team for Perak in 1966. In community service, she started in the Brownies and ended in the Girl-Guide movement. Academically, she also excelled and thus was popularly elected as Head Girl Prefect in a co-educational school comprising male students. For the Senior Cambridge level exam results, she was one of the top Malay students in Malaya and consequently was awarded the coveted Colombo Plan Scholarship to study in Australia for undergraduate studies. At her honours year in the Department of Sociology, University of Queensland, Australia, she was the top student in her class and graded as achieving First Class Honours. She came back to Malaysia after her Masters degree at the University of Queensland and continued with her PhD on a part-time basis while working as a university lecturer.

She was the first Malaysian to be selected to serve in the Commonwealth Expert Group in London on The Impact of Structural Adjustment which came out with the publication Women and Structural Adjustment in 1990.

Professor Jamilah was the main consultant for the Malaysian government for the UN Beijing Womens World Conference in China in 1995 and came out with the publication The Status of Women in Malaysia. She was also the Malaysian government main consultant for ESCAPs pre-Beijing conference meeting held in Thailand in 1993 and in Jakarta in 1994. Many do not know that she was also one of the few women who drafted the first chapter on Women and Development for the Sixth Malaysia Plan and one of the most active persons who successfully lobbied for this chapter to be included in the Sixth Plan through which the Department of Womens Affairs (HAWA) was set up and subsequently the Ministry of Womens Affairs. She served on the National Council for the Integration of Women in Development (NACIWID) for 12 years (1988-2000). In terms of leadership role, she was leader of the Malaysian official delegation to the Senior Officials Meeting for Women Ministers' Conference held at the Commonwealth Secretariat, London in 1992 and APEC Womens Consultative Meeting in Manila in 1997.

As regards administration experience in Academia, Jamilah Ariffin held the position of Coordinator of the Population Studies Unit at the University of Malaya from 1991-1994. She was also the coordinator of Royal Professor Ungku Abdul Aziz HAWA project on Factory Women and came out with the book From Kampung to Urban Factories - Findings from the HAWA Study, Edited and Coordinated by Jamilah Ariffin, University of Malaya Press, Kuala Lumpur, 1994.

Upon achieving the status of Professor at the University of Malaya in 1994 Professor Jamilah was elected as a Board Member of the Swiss Academy of Development in Switzerland (1994-2001). As an academician and researcher Professor Jamilah has produced more than 12 books and more than 30 published articles in academic journals. Two examples of these books are : 1. Women & Development in Malaysia, Pelanduk Publications, 1992 2. Poverty Amidst Plenty : Research Findings and the Gender Dimension in Malaysia, Pelanduk Publications, 1994.

In terms of international academic exposure, Professor Jamilah was Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for Cross-cultural Research on Women at Oxford University in 1989. In 2002, she was Visiting Research Professor at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia as well as Senior Honorary Research Fellow at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

From 1995 until 2005, Professor Jamilah was a Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Centre for Socio-Economic Research and Humanistic Development in Institute Sultan Iskandar, which is the consultancy arm of the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in Johor. She held the post of Advisor to Foundation for the Future (F3), a newly established consultancy think-tank group with international links based in Kuala Lumpur from 2004 until June 2006.

Having served in academia for more than 30 years as a university lecturer and researcher, Professor Jamilah is at present Adjunct Professor of the Gender Studies Programme, University of Malaya. She was offered this post so as to assist the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to set up the Centre for Gender Studies.

To date, Professor Jamilah is the President of Asia Pacific Forum on Families (APFAM), a position she has held for the past 5 years. Asia Pacific Forum on Families (or APFAM for short) is an international NGO representing 12 member countries in the Asia Pacific region. Beginning as the Vice-President in 1997 and subsequently the President of APFAM International in 2002, Professor Jamilah has organised and published every proceedings of APFAM International Conference held bi-annually. Two of these are : 1. Family Well-being : Learning from the Past for the Betterment in the Future, ISI Publication, 2001 2. Family in the K-Economy Age : Challenges to Parenthood in Malaysia, APFAM Malaysia & Family Development Foundation of Johor Publications, 2003.

As a symposium speaker at the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) 31st International Conference in August 2004, Professor Jamilahs ability was appreciated by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) officials who then appointed her to be a resource person for the UNESCAPs High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Review and Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in Bangkok in September 2004 in two key areas : (i) Gender Critiques of the Millennium Development Goals (ii) Working with Men for the Betterment of Women

Professor Jamilah has been invited by the Minister of Youth and Sports to become a Fellow of the Institute of Youth.

Currently Professor Jamilah Ariffin holds one professorial position in academia, one NGO post and one public-life position. The details are as follows : Although Professor Jamilah is known as an academician in international circles, many from abroad are not aware of her other equally demanding position in Malaysia, one that occupies a lot of her time i.e. as wife of the Chief Minister of Johor for the past 10 years. In this public life position, Datin Paduka Jamilah Ariffin is very active in the social welfare field in Johor (the most southern state of Peninsular Malaysia) where to date she has initiated and established 12 social welfare projects throughout the state. Among these many projects, the following five (5) are the most prominent and successful : 1. The setting up of day care centres for intellectually disabled children in every state constituency in Johor. Beginning in 1996, 58 such centres have been set up to serve more than a thousand children, of which one has received the award for the Best Community Rehabilitation Project in Malaysia for 2 years concurrently. 2. The setting up of a half-way house for abused children and abandoned babies in Johor Bahru in 1998 based on a smart-partnership approach. This is the first such home organised by any association of wives of elected politicians in Malaysia. 3. The setting up of childrens library (for long-term child-patients in the paediatric ward) in every district hospital in Johor. (Total number 8 in district hospitals and 2 in sub-district hospitals). 4. The setting up of reading corners and computers in every orphanage in all districts in Johor. (8 districts). 5. A complete and comprehensive Skill-training and Income-enhancement project for poor single mothers in Johor in 2000 beginning from skill-training, to employment and culminating in marketing and true entrepreneurship.

In all these welfare projects, the knowledge accumulated by Professor Jamilah over the years as a hands-on researcher on Women, Gender and Poverty, an experience accumulated as early as 1983 when Professor Jamilah was appointed as the consultant for the Ministry of Social Welfare, Government of Malaysia for the first Women in Development project initiated in Temoh, Perak.

At present, she holds the post of Adviser to the Johor state Social Welfare Council. In appreciation of these social welfare activities (as cited above), Professor Jamilah was awarded Darjah Paduka Mahkota Johor (DPMJ) which carries the title Datin Paduka by the Sultan of Johor in 2003.

Posted on: Tue, 24 June 2008

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