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Bernadette Louise Dean

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Bernadette Louise Dean
BornBernadette Louise Menezes
🏡 ResidenceKarachi
🏳️ NationalityPakistani
🏫 EducationPh.D
🎓 Alma materUniversity of Alberta, Canada
💼 Occupation
academic and educator
👔 EmployerVM Institute for Education, Karachi
Principal of Kinnaird College, Lahore
Board member ofSt. Patrick's College (Karachi)

Founder Member, Association of Social Studies Educators and Teachers

Founder Member, South Asian Forum for Education Development
🏅 AwardsCivic Educator Award 2008

Bernadette Louise Dean is a Christian Pakistani academic and educator,[1] of Portuguese descent.[2] Formerly the principal of two women's colleges in Pakistan and a participant in revising Pakistan's national curriculum, she was accused of being a foreigner and forced to leave the country in 2015 by death threats from Islamic extremists after her role in working to secularize school textbooks became known. She has since become an academic administrator at the University of Central Asia.


Dean did her schooling at St. Lawrence’s Girls School, Karachi and then studied at St. Joseph's College, Karachi.[citation needed] She completed an M.Sc (Psychology) at the University of Karachi, and earned her M.Ed (Teacher Education) from the Aga Khan University's Institute for Educational Development.[3] She later earned a Ph.D in education in 2000 from the University of Alberta, Canada. Her dissertation, Islam, Democracy and Social Studies Education: A Quest for Possibilities, was supervised by Terry Carson.[4]


In 1983, Dean was working as a social worker in Pakistan's only clinic for heroin addicts.[2] Dean joined the Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development in 1996.[3] She was promoted to the rank of Assistant Professor at the University in 2000.[4] By 2008 she was an associate professor, and head of academic and student affairs at the university.[3] In December 2008 she was awarded the Centre for Civic Education Pakistan’s Civic Educator Award 2008.[5]

In 2009, Dean was appointed as the principal of Kinnaird College in Lahore, a prestigious women's institution in Pakistan.[6][7] She resigned in 2010,[8] to become principal of St. Joseph’s College for Women. At St. Joseph’s Dean introduced a computer science programme for intermediate students and a four-year BBA programme.[9] In 2014 she left St. Joseph's College to join the VM Institute for Education, Karachi, as its director.[10]

In early 2015, Dean was a member of the advisory committee on curriculum and textbook reform and the Singh Textbook Board when religious leaders from the Punjab and Singh began complaining about her work, accusing her of being a foreign woman who was writing curricula and textbooks that were secular and against Islam. She was denounced at the April All-Parties Conference at the Karachi Press Club organized by the Islamic extremist Jamaat-e-Islami and its militant, Al-Qaeda-linked student wing, the Islami Jamiat Talaba, and in she believed that political and religious groups were engaging in a hate propaganda campaign. In May she received phone calls threatening her life and she fled the country.[11][1]

After leaving Pakistan, Dean became the associate dean for arts and sciences at the University of Central Asia, an international university with campuses in the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan.[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Catholic Educator Flees Pakistan amid 'Hate Campaign' by Islamic Extremists". Morning Star News. July 6, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Willis, David K. (December 20, 1983). "Sugarcane, not opium: one drug answer?". Christian Science Monitor.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Bernadette L. Dean". Faculty. Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development. Archived from the original on 21 August 2008.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "News and Notes". University of Alberta Department of Secondary Education. October 2000. Archived from the original on 25 May 2006.
  5. The Daily Mail 20 December 2008 Archived 27 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "The Nation August 23, 2009".[permanent dead link]
  7. "Goans of Pakistan".
  8. Kinnaird College Association USA website
  9. Ali, Rabia (18 November 2012). "New principal says goodbye to her first batch". The Express Tribune.
  10. Hasan, Shazia (26 March 2014). "Challenges to gender equity in schools explored". Dawn.
  11. "Senior educationist Dr Bernadette leaves Pakistan after receiving death threats". Dawn. May 12, 2015.
  12. "UCA Staff". Retrieved 2018-01-21.

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