Distinguished Professor Dr. Ali Riaz, the inaugural recipient of the Thomas E. Eimermann Professorship of Political Science, has been elected the president of the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies (AIBS). AIBS is an association of institutions of higher learning in the United States aimed at promoting scholarly understanding between Bangladesh and the United States. This is the only umbrella organization in the United States that brings together universities working on and about Bangladesh.

Currently, 25 universities are members of the AIBS, including the University of Chicago, Cornell University, University of Texas at Austin, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and University of California-Berkeley. AIBS has also signed memorandums of understanding for cooperation with 24 Bangladeshi universities, including Dhaka University, Brac, IUB, Chittagong University, ULAB, and NSU.

The governing body of the AIBS consists of a board of trustees and the executive committee (EC). Each member institution has a representative on the board of trustees. The executive committee consists of president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and an at-large member.

Dr Ali Riaz joined Illinois State University in 2002. He was the Chair of the Department of Politics and Government (2007-2017). He was named a Distinguished Professor in 2017 and inaugural Thomas E Eimermann Professor of Political Science in 2018. Dr Riaz has previously taught at Universities in Bangladesh and England, and worked as a Broadcast  journalist at the BBC World Service at London. He has served as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is also a nonresident Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council.

AIBS is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). CAORC is a private not-for-profit federation of 22 independent overseas research centers that promote advanced research, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, with a focus on the conservation and recording of cultural heritage and the understanding and interpretation of modern societies. CAORC fosters research projects across national boundaries, encourages collaborative research and programmatic and administrative coherence among member centers, and works to expand their resource base and service capacity.

The new AIBS committee will be effective October 1, 2020. The president serves for a four-year term.