Dr. Mohammed Waheed Hassan (born January 3, 1953), also known as Dr. Waheed is a political figure in the Republic of the Maldives, and has been a Senior Member of UNICEF while he worked for the United Nations. Considered a moderate, Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan is the first Maldivian to obtain a Ph.D. from Stanford University.
He was the son of Hassan Ibrahim Maniku and Aishath of Silver Scene in Male' - the capital of the Republic of Maldives
. Due to his large household, he was acquainted with responsibility from a young age, learning to assist with the care of his younger brothers and sisters. In order to contribute to the income of his family, the young Waheed took on a part time job as a teacher for Alia School and Hidhaya School, and also tutored children when given the opportunity.
In the 1970s, Waheed was given the opportunity to study at the American University of Beirut
. There he completed a bachelors in the English Language. He also completed a diploma to teach English. In 1978, Waheed won a full scholarship to Stanford University
. Within a year he completed a Masters in Education Planning and went back to his homeland. However, in 1982, Waheed chose to return to Stanford to continue his Education. In 1985 he received a Masters in Political Science, and by 1987 he became one of the first Maldivian to receive a Doctorate of Philosophy
United Nations Career
Dr. Waheed left Maldives in the middle of 1992. He was made the Head of Education for Tanzania. In 1995, Dr. Waheed was made the head of Education in Bangladesh. Three years later, he was promoted again, this time being made a Senior Adviser in New York. In 2001, Dr. Waheed was made the Deputy Head of UNICEF South Asia, and then the acting head of that office. In the aftermath of the American War with Afghanistan, Dr. Waheed was asked to help with the reconstruction efforts. During that time, Dr. Waheed built up the Education Ministry from scratch and developed health and educational care for the women and children of Afghanistan. Once the Education Ministry was functioning, he was made the head of UNICEF Afghanistan. Soon, Dr. Waheed was asked to return to New York, where he was the UNICEF representative to the body responsible for reforming UN organizations. At this time, Dr. Waheed was believed to be the senior most ranking Maldivian in the United Nations. Due to political developments in his home country of the Maldives, Dr. Waheed retired from the UN at great personal cost, and returned to the Maldives to try and play a role in bringing democracy to the country. However, as his resources depleted and according to Dr. Waheed the main opposition party began to favor a more militant approach. Dr. Waheed returned to the UN performing short term
assignments. Since his return he has been the head of UNICEF Yemen, the head of UNICEF Macedonia and later in Turkmenistan.
Political Career in the Maldives
In 1980, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
, appointed Dr. Waheed (fresh out of University) to the Special Parliament convened to amend the constitution of the country. However, two years later he left the Maldives to complete his education in the United States. He returned as one of the first Maldivians to receive a Ph.D. and chose to stand for Parliament. Dr. Waheed ran against President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
's brother-in-law - Ilyas Ibrahim
. Though considered a clear underdog, Dr. Waheed's popularity made him a threat to the ruling classes. Ilyas Ibrahim together with another one of the President's brother's, Abbas Ibrahim, established the Bimbi Force. This force was responsible for a number of arson attacks as well as a campaign of intimidation directed towards Dr. Waheed and his supporters. In spite of every effort made by these men, Dr. Waheed won the 1989 Parliamentary elections with the largest majority ever recorded. Dr. Waheed spent the next couple of years attempting to have laws passed that would assist in the socio-economic development of the nation. After Mohamed Nasheed
(also known as Anni) was arrested and appealed to Dr. Waheed for help, Dr. Waheed participated in a black ribbon campaign. During this campaign he wore a black ribbon professing his support for one of his constituents whom he saw as being wrongly imprisoned. Dr. Waheed was among the people who introduced a bill resembling a bill of rights so that all Maldivian citizens could enjoy fundamental rights which are safeguarded all over the world. This bill would have helped Mohamed Nasheed
, and the people of his country, but would also severely limit the powers of the government. Those who had supported his campaign for parliament were arbitrarily arrested. The crimes of the Bimbi Force were then blamed on those individuals, and finally in mid-1991 Dr. Waheed left the country for the good of all those who supported him and for those he cared about. .
Over a decade later, after a career in the United Nations, Dr. Waheed returned to the Maldives once again to stand for the leadership of the newly formed Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). During his campaign, however, a new machine emerged working against Dr. Waheed. Believed to be both members of the government party (Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party) and other leadership candidates for MDP, this new machine worked tirelessly to defame Dr. Waheed, attacking both him and his family. During the leadership race, fliers were dumped on the streets of Male' making these slanderous accusations. Many feel that Dr. Waheed's refusal to acknowledge or address the rumors that then followed may have helped cost him the election - which he lost by a narrow margin.
After having lost the leadership race, Dr. Waheed stayed with MDP for six months developing its policy papers and being key member of its administration. Dr. Waheed was also the Shadow Cabinet Minister for Atoll Development. However, after having organized and let a massive rally, Dr. Waheed again felt to return to the UN. Dr. Waheed had given up his position in UNICEF. In 2006, after his work with MDP, he took up a consultancy position.End of 2007
he is back into politics in the Maldives by trying to make a new political party by the name Gaumee Iththihaadh.
Dr. Waheed was also the first person shown on TVM (Television Maldives
). In 1978, when the first public television station was introduced to the country, Dr. Waheed was the first person shown who indroduced Mr Ibrahim Shihab who inaugurated the station. Dr. Waheed also taught a number of famous individuals in Male' such as: the comedian Yoosuf Rafeeu (known as Yoosay), and the former Executive Secretary Abdullah Shahid.