AUBG Appoints Accomplished Administrator and World-Renowned Scholar, Dr. Margee Ensign, as New President

The American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) announces that Dr. Margee Ensign is appointed the university’s new President. AUBG is a U.S. and EU accredited institution whose mission is to educate democratic citizens for leadership, service, and personal and professional success. Located in Bulgaria, at the heart of Western civilizations, AUBG plays a crucial role in shaping the ethical and democratic leaders of tomorrow.

“I am excited that we will be working with such an accomplished administrator and world-renowned scholar like Margee Ensign,” Board Chair Michael Marvin said. “Dr. Ensign’s exceptional track record from her three previous presidencies uniquely positions her to lead AUBG during this exciting phase for our university. With unwavering confidence in her exemplary leadership, I believe we will reach new heights and successfully achieve our ambitious 5-year Strategic Plan for Impact and Growth.”

Dr. Margee Ensign brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Dr. Ensign served as president at Dickinson College in the United States and the American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Adamawa State. Before joining AUBG, she served as president of the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A) in Nairobi, Kenya. Under her leadership, USIU-A saw significant growth in enrollment and fundraising, along with enhanced academic innovation and community engagement. She is an inspiring leader, an experienced fundraiser, and an excellent communicator.

“I am thrilled and honored to be the new president of AUBG at such an important time for the university and look forward to working with all the outstanding faculty, students, and staff to expand AUBG’s critical role in the country and region.” Dr. Ensign said.

AUBG’s current President, Dr. David R. Evans, announced that he will be returning to the States after his term ends on August 31. “I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Dr. David Evans for his exceptional service to the university,” Michael Marvin said. “Over the course of four years, he has become a beloved and highly respected figure among the entire university community. Among the myriad of significant achievements during Dr. Evans’ presidency, he demonstrated remarkable skill in navigating the global COVID-19 crisis, ensuring the safety and well-being of the entire AUBG community and fostering a stronger, more united university. Moreover, under his leadership, we witnessed a notable improvement in AUBG’s fundraising efforts and significant enhancements to the academic program in both Blagoevgrad and Sofia.”  

Dr. Ensign’s presidency will begin on September 1, 2023.

About Dr. Ensign:

Dr. Margee Ensign will be the 10th president of the American University of Bulgaria (AUBG). Dr. Ensign comes to AUBG after serving as the president of the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A). Located in Nairobi, Kenya, USIU-A, with approximately 6,000 students, is one of the most diverse universities on the continent, with students from over 64 countries. It is accredited both in Kenya and the United States. Dr. Ensign led the development of a new strategic plan and reorganization, increased enrollment and fundraising, reenergized alumni affairs, and increased academic innovation and community engagement.

Dr. Ensign previously served as president at two other universities: Dickinson College in the United States and the American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Adamawa State.

She was the 29th president of Dickinson College, which was chartered in 1783—the first college established in the new United States of America. Dickinson is recognized as a leader in global education, sustainability, and civic engagement.

Under Dr. Ensign’s leadership, Dickinson became the first college to receive the Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization twice, and the college deepened its commitment to civic engagement by establishing the Center for Civic Learning & Action with a grant awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Dr. Ensign is a long-time advocate for connecting learning to community engagement. For eight years, she was the president of AUN, Africa’s development university, where she also led the Adamawa Peace Initiative (API). This community-led organization successfully countered Boko Haram in Northeast Nigeria through youth empowerment, education, and humanitarian assistance for 300,000 refugees. She also led the efforts to bring the students kidnapped in Chibok to AUN.

Dr. Ensign is a well-respected scholar on development, on Africa, and—growing out of her experience in Rwanda—on genocide, governance, and democracy. She is the author and editor of six books, including Rwanda: History and Hope and Confronting Genocide: Dehumanization, Denial and Strategies for Prevention. She co-edited a recent Peace Review special issue on Religion in War and Peace in Africa and most recently co-authored the book: Transactional Radio Instruction: Improving Educational Outcomes for Children in Conflict Zones. Her book, Private Bank Loans to Developing Countries: An Artificial Intelligence Model of Lending, was an early, pioneering work using artificial intelligence in the social sciences. In Nigeria, she established a university hub on the Premium Times, a major online newspaper focused on development and democracy.

She has presented at the World Economic Forum, the Commonwealth’s Heads of State Meetings, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and the American Council on Education. She has also testified before Congress on global education, international affairs, and foreign assistance.

Dr. Ensign has been interviewed multiple times by the BBC and CNN, and her writings have been published in The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Hill, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, The Army Times, The Huffington Post, and Hechinger Report, among others.

Her distinguished career as a teacher and an academic administrator has taken her to Columbia University, Georgetown University, Tulane University, and the University of the Pacific, where she was Dean of the School of International Studies and Associate Provost before her first university presidency.

Dr. Ensign earned her BA from New College in Florida and her Ph.D. in International Political Economy from the University of Maryland, with a dissertation in Artificial Intelligence and Economics. She is so proud of her daughter, Katherine Aronson-Ensign, who completed her PhD in 2022, and is now the Associate Director of Research and Evaluation at Jumpstart for Young Children.