Inside JGU 2019 - Issue 11 (November)

Professor (Dr.) Kenneth Holland appointed as the Dean (Academic, Research and International Affairs) at JGU with effect from January 2020. His faculty appointment will be as a Professor at the Jindal Global Law School. Dr. Holland is the former President of the American University of Afghanistan.


Bio of Professor (Dr.) Holland:

Dr. Holland’s first academic appointment was at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, a distinguished liberal arts institution founded in 1861. From there, Dr. Holland shifted to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he served as a Visiting Professor and, with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, spent a week interviewing justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. His next appointment was as Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont. It was at Vermont that he became interested in Canada, an interest that has inspired many publications and consultancies and that led to his election in 2013 as President of the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States (ACSUS). In 1987, Dr. Holland was one of ten scholars selected by the U. S. Department of State to serve as a Fulbright Professor in Japan in honour of the bicentennial of the drafting of the American constitution. He served for 18 months as a Professor of Law at Tohoku University, one of Japan’s ten imperial universities, in Sendai.


Dr. Holland began his career as a university administrator when he was selected to Chair the Department of Political Science at the University of Memphis in Tennessee. It was there that he became a highly successful grant writer and received funding from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. This funding allowed Dr. Holland to begin his long relationship with China. His expertise in the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the United States, Canada and Mexico led to a consultancy with the Chinese government to assist China in complying with the requirement that it have a viable legal system before admission to the World Trade Organization, which occurred in 2001. A grant from the U.S. Department of Education enabled him to establish an Asian Studies Program at Memphis, focused on the study of Japan and China. In addition to his departmental leadership and grant work, Dr. Holland was an active scholar and received three research awards during his years in Memphis.


Dr. Holland’s success in expanding international education led to his appointment as Associate Provost for International Programs at Kansas State University, the first land-grant university in the United States, in Manhattan, Kansas. It was then that he began his frequent visits to India, recruiting students from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. In addition to internationalizing the university and its nine academic colleges, he received more than US$ 9 Million in funding from the U.S. Education Department and World Bank. It was at Kansas State that he began his long association with Afghanistan and managed projects to strengthen the Faculty of Engineering at Kabul University and Departments of English at both Kabul and Balkh Universities.


In 2008, Dr. Holland was appointed Dean of the Rinker Center for International Programs at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where he continued his work to assist Afghanistan, with funding not only from the World Bank but also from the U.S. Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He assisted nine universities located throughout Afghanistan and a technical institute in Kabul to improve their operations and academic programs. His lecture at the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul in 2009 on “The Potential of the Judiciary to Strengthen the Legitimacy of the Afghan Regime” led to multiple assignments to assist in the stabilization of Afghanistan, including as Senior Civilian Advisor to the Rule of Law Field Force—Afghanistan (ROLFF-A) and NATO Field Support Mission-Afghanistan (NROLFSM-A) and Subject Matter Expert (SME) on Rule of Law in Afghanistan at NATO Headquarters in Belgium. In this work, he visited 17 of the country’s 34 provinces and advised the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), the military head of NATO, on the reconstruction of Afghanistan.


His development work in Afghanistan led to grants and contracts from the U.S. State Department and Asian Development Bank to assist in the strengthening of higher education in Iraq, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Mongolia. Dr. Holland partnered with the Office of the Prime Minister of Iraq and the U.S. Embassy to turn a former American prison in Baghdad into an English Language School for Iraqi university students seeking to study in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. With funding from the Asian Development Bank, he worked with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sciences and Sports in Mongolia to improve the governance and management of universities in a country newly freed from Soviet influence.


When President Barack Obama visited Myanmar in 2012, the American State Department asked Dr. Holland the following year to join the first U.S. higher education delegation to visit the country since 1988. As a Fulbright Specialist, he helped re-introduce the teaching of Political Science in a country where the subject had been banned since the military coup of 1962. With funding from the Eurasia Foundation, he partnered with a university in Russia to establish a training program for teachers of children with disabilities.


In 2017, the Board of Trustees of the American University of Afghanistan recruited Dr. Holland to serve as the University’s sixth President. His principal responsibility was to lead the institution’s recovery from the devastating attack by Taliban gunmen in August 2016 in which 15 students, faculty and security personnel were killed and more than 100 injured, an attack that followed the kidnapping two weeks before of an American and Australian professor. When Dr. Holland’s term ended two years later, the university had more students and international faculty than before the attack and was the first university to be accredited by the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education.