SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah professor Tariq Banuri has been appointed chairman of Pakistan's Higher Education Commission.

Banuri moves into the role from his positions as an economics professor and associate director of the U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies in Water at the U. He also serves on the executive committee of the U. Water Center.

Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission is an independent, constitutionally established institution with a mandate to finance, oversee, regulate and accredit all institutions of higher learning in the country.

Banuri has requested a leave of absence from his current position at the U. and said he is eager to explore partnership opportunities from his new post.

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Banuri previously served as executive director of the Global Change Impact Studies Centre, a dedicated research institute for climate change studies in Pakistan. He was the founding executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Pakistan and founding director of the Bangkok Centre of the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Banuri also was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He holds a doctoral degree from Harvard in economics, completed his master’s degree in development economics from Williams College and earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering from the University of Peshawar.