Dato’ Dr. Syed Ahmad Bin Hussein was born in Batu Pahat, Johor on August 13th 1949. He had his early schooling in Johor before pursuing his first degree in the social sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia. He earned his masters and doctorate degrees in Political Science from Yale University, where he worked with Professors Robert A. Dahl, James C. Scott and Juan Lintz. He also earned a Diploma in Peace Studies from the University of Uppsala, Sweden.
Dato’ Dr. Syed is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Management Development Institute of Singapore, Malaysia Campus. He is a Board Member of the Finance Accreditation Agency of Malaysia (FAA) since 2012. In September 2015, Dr. Syed was appointed to the University Quality Assurance International Board (UQAIB) of Dubai for a four year term.
Dato’ Dr. Syed Ahmad Hussein was the Vice Chancellor of Malaysia’s Perdana University from March 2015 to July 2017. He was the Chief Executive Officer of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) since its inception in 2007 until October 2014. He was the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Malaysian National Accreditation Board (2006-2007) after serving as a board member since 1998. In May 2014, Dato’ Dr. Syed Ahmad was appointed a member of the Financial Services Talent Council of the Bank Negara Malaysia. He was also a member of the Working Board to Transform the AlBukhary International University. Prior to these appointments, Dato’ Dr. Syed was a Professor of Politics and the Founding Director of the Center for International Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. He was the Dean of the School of Social Sciences (1997-2001) and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academic and International Affairs of the Universiti from 2001 to 2005.
Dr. Syed was the first President of the ASEAN Quality Assurance Network, AQAN (2008-2014). In October 2014, he was appointed Advisor to AQAN. Dr. Syed was the founding and first President (2009-2013) of the Association of Quality Assurance Agencies of the Islamic World (AQAAIW).
Dato’ Dr. Syed Ahmad was the recipient of several recognitions, awards and grants, including the Sir Ibrahim Scholarship (1970-73), Fulbright-Hays (1977-81), Fulbright Visiting Scholar (1997-98), Ford Foundation (1979), Harvard-Yenching (1980-81), Social Science Research Council (US) (1980-81), Malaysia’s IRPA (1995; 1999-2000), Sweden’s SIDA/SAREC (1990, 1997), Center for Civic Education (US) (2007-2009), UNDESA (2004), and Universities Affiliation Program (US) (2003-2006). He was awarded the Pingat Kelakuan Terpuji (PKT) and the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri (DSPN) by the State of Penang in 1994 and 2003 respectively. In 2010, he was awarded the Plaque for Distinguished Work in Quality Assurance by Thailand’s ONESQA. In September 2015, he was awarded the Plaque of Honor by ASEAN Quality Assurance Network, AQAN. In April 2016, he was awarded the Golden Globe Education Leadership Award.
Dr. Syed Ahmad Hussein has been a member of several professional and academic organizations in the field of political science and public affairs. He was actively involved in civic and active citizenship programs through the international civic education organization CIVITAS for which he was its Country Director for Malaysia for five years from 2003. He was the Founding Director of the Malaysia Citizenship Initiative (2003-2007) and currently it’s Senior Advisor. He was a member of the South Korean Government’s initiated -- and ASEAN + 3 endorsed -- East Asian Vision Group, EAVG (1999-2001), one of the earliest high level grouping to reflect on a vision of an Asian Community. He sat in various national committees that include the board of the National Higher Education Research Institute, the National Academic Awards Committee and the National Committee on Graduate Employability.
Dr. Syed Ahmad has more than thirty years of active teaching, research and consultancy experience, with a special interest in public policy, Malaysian and Southeast Asian society and politics, active citizenship, democratization, and quality assurance of higher education. He has taught undergraduate and post-graduate courses on ethics, government and politics, public administration and Malaysian and Southeast Asian Affairs. He led the team that introduced the Master in Public Administration program at Universiti Sains Malaysia in 1999. His writings have been published, among others, in Asian Survey, Indian Journal of Public Administration, and International Journal of Human Development. He has books, monographs and chapters published by reputable international publishers. His writings on issues of quality in higher education were included as chapters in two books published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2011 and by Routledge in 2012 respectively.
Dr. Syed has been a visiting scholar in universities in India, United Kingdom and the United States. He has delivered over 60 presentations in professional conferences and has supervised, and been external examiner to, about 20 doctoral and masters theses from universities in Malaysia and Singapore. He was the external examiner in the Malay Studies Department of the National University of Singapore from 1999 to 2002. In October 2012, he served as an International External Reviewer in the review of Japan’s National Institution for Academic Degrees and University Evaluation (NIAD-UE).