South Asian University (SAU) is an International University sponsored by the eight Member States of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The eight countries are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. South Asian University started admitting students in 2010, at a temporary campus at Akbar Bhawan, India. Its permanent campus will be at Maidan Garhi in South Delhi, India, next to Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). First academic session of the university started in August 2010 with two post-graduate academic programmes, in economics and computer sciences. As of 2014[update] SAU offered Master's and MPhil/PhD programs in applied mathematics, biotechnology, computer science, development economics, international relations, law and sociology. The degrees of the university are recognized by all the member nations of the SAARC according to an inter-governmental agreement signed by the foreign ministers of the 8 countries.
South Asian University attracts students predominantly from all the eight SAARC countries, although students from other continents also attend. There is a country quota system for admission of students. Every year SAU conducts admission test at multiple centers in all the 8 countries.
The founding President of the university, G. K. Chadha, died on 1 March 2014. Prior to joining South Asian University, first as the CEO while SAU was at a project stage and subsequently as the President, he was the economic adviser to the prime minister of India. He also had a stint as the Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. On 3 November 2014, Dr. Kavita Sharma took charge as the President of the university.
At the Thirteenth SAARC Summit held in Dhaka, in November 2005, Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh proposed the establishment of a South Asian University to provide world-class facilities and professional faculty to students and researchers from SAARC member countries. The "Inter-governmental Agreement for the Establishment of the South Asian University" was signed at the 14th SAARC Summit. And the SAARC member states also decided that the University would be established in India. Prof. G.K. Chadha, member of Economic Advisory Council and former vice chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, was formally appointed the CEO of the project.
India provides the majority of funds, around 239.930 million US dollars, for the foundation of the University, which is around 79 percent of the total cost of the full establishment of the University until 2014.
The mandate of the South Asian University, as set out in the Agreement of the SAARC member states under which the University is set up envisages that the choice of the programs of studies to be offered at this University should:
Being a research-focused university, SAU currently offers research and postgraduate programmes. At present the university offers full-time research and master's programme in the following areas:
A Faculty of Undergraduate Studies, headed by a Dean, is planned for a later stage. It would conduct a 4-year BA / BS program in Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural sciences.
Besides graduate schools and the undergraduate college, the SAU aims at promoting research among the faculty and research scholars. The plan is to have interdisciplinary research centers (IRCs) to carry out research in areas of common interest to SAARC countries. An Institute of South Asian Studies is planned as a flagship research program.
The decision-making bodies of South Asian University consist of The Governing Board, The Executive Council, The Academic Council and The Finance Committee.
The Governing Board of SAU is the highest policy and decision-making authority of the University, which oversees the academic, administrative and financial management of SAU, and is primarily responsible for liaison with the SAARC Secretariat and SAARC Member States. It consists of two members from each of the SAARC Member States, nominated by the respective Member States.
The Executive Council of SAU is the prime body responsible for major executive decisions. Besides senior functionaries of the SAU, the EC has four members who are nominated by the SAARC member States by rotation. The President of the SAU chairs the EC meetings.
The Academic Council of the university is the custodian of academic activities. It is vested with powers to propose establish and abolish Faculties, Departments, Institutions, Inter- disciplinary Research Centres, Specialized Laboratories and Libraries. The Academic Council is also vested with the power to recommend to the Executive Council the creation and abolition of teaching posts in the University, draft regulations on admission and examinations, appoint examiners, confer honorary degrees and recommend institution of fellowships and scholarships etc.
The Finance Committee of the university considers the annual accounts, financial estimates and expenditure proposals. The annual accounts and estimates of the University, duly approved by the Finance Committee, are submitted to the Executive Council for approval.
The logo of South Asian University represents the eight nations of SAARC. The basic form of the logo is octagonal, each side representing a country. The octagon, when used in the perspective of design turns into the numerical “8” that also represents infinity (∞ ) in a purely visual sense. The numerical“8” or the infinity symbol is then overlaid upon itself to present an evolving motif form that is present in varying contexts and interpretations in all of South Asia.
The Prof. G. K. Chadha Library was established to fulfil academic and research need of the students and the staff of the South Asian University. The main library spreads over a total area of 4500 sq. ft. The library functions from Monday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:00 am. Additional reading rooms are available on the Mezzanine Floor and 8th Floor are opened round the clock. The library has a collection of books, journals, CD/DVD, films etc. covering different subject areas. There is around 124000 volumes of books, 400 e-books, 76000e-journals, 11 print journals, 16 database, 21 CD/DVDs, newspapers, magazines and encyclopaedia. The library is using the Summon as Discovery Service and Koha as ILS. Electronic resources are accessible to the users through EZproxy from anywhere in the world. TAs a core member of the University Grants Commission of India the library has access to e-resources i.e. Oxford University Press, Springer, Taylor & Francis, MathSciNet, ISID, World eBook Library, South Asia Archive and J-Gate. The library also subscribes the PressReader newspaper and magazine database. The library maintains its website at http://library.sau.ac.in.
The degrees of South Asian University are recognized by the member states of SAARC, according to an agreement signed by the foreign ministers of the 8 SAARC countries at the time of establishment of the university.
Article 7 of the Agreement reads: This Agreement shall facilitate the mutual recognition of degrees and certificates awarded by the University in all SAARC Member States at par with the degrees and certificates issued by their respective national universities/institutions.
Every year the students of South Asian University in general and those from India and Pakistan in particular organize celebrations of the Independence Days of India and Pakistan  together. Pakistan's Independence Day falls on 14 August, and India's on 15 August; celebrations are held on the night of 14 August.
The proposed campus of South Asian University is coming up at Maidan Garhi, adjacent to IGNOU and Asola Wildlife Sanctuary. The Master Layout Plan of this 100 acre campus has been prepared and almost all statutory approvals / clearances have been obtained. The campus will house faculty buildings, hostels, playgrounds, residential apartments and a club among others. The construction is expected to start soon.