The American University in Cairo (AUC) held a roundtable discussion on Wednesday at its New Cairo campus on its plans for 2018.
President Francis Ricciardone announced the institution’s priorities for 2018, stating, “Although we have faced many challenges, our highest priorities is attracting international students and faculty back to Egypt because we are an international university; This allows our students to be exposed to different cultures, which will increase their cultural awareness.”
AUC Caravan, a student-run newspaper, however, reported that there was an “estimated budget deficit of $9.7 million” in 2013 and 2014.
According to Ricciardone, priorities for the upcoming year include reviving the Center for Advanced Arabic Study in Cairo because “it is considered one of the best educational programs for foreigners”. He added that the center will inspire foreigners to come to Egypt and AUC, especially those seeking to learn the language and the culture.
The university is aware that with good quality education comes financial burden for Egyptian families, therefore, AUC has substantially increased its budget for financial aid and scholarship by more than $1 million.
AUC have been awarding at least 45 percent of its students with scholarships and financial support since the flotation of pound in November; roughly equating to more than $23 million annually.
For his part, AUC Counselor Ashraf Hatem said the AUC plays a vital role in bridging the gap between western and eastern cultures.
“As a result, its experience at the New Administrative Capital sets the standards for upcoming collaborations with governmental universities that will have branches in the New Administrative Capital,” Hatem added.
Round table discussion – Photo by Egypt Today/Nour Eltigani
The university will have a prominent role at a conference that will host the Ministry of Higher Education in February in setting the rules and regulations for launching branches of international universities in Egypt.
The sophisticated AUC campus lays the foundation for architectural development that will take place in the New Administrative Capital. One of its many features is its 1.6 kilometer underground tunnel that accommodates cars and pedestrians allowing fast transportation across campus to provide better services.
“AUC is the only university in Egypt that is internationally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in the United States as well as the first university in Egypt to receive its accreditation from the Egyptian National Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Education,” AUC Provost Ashraf Abdel Rahman added.
The accreditation allows the university to measure its quality of education and shows that the programs offered are highly efficient. However, AUC still strives to develop its education continuously. Abdel Rahman assured that “developing the efficiency of the administration and improving educational tools is one of our highest priorities.”
Aside from its contribution to the local and international education sector, AUC is determined to serve the community and environment. The university offers the “Neighborhood Initiative” allowing it to build better relationships with local communities in New Cairo and Tahrir. The program provides AUC and Egypt with an opportunity for social and economic development.
Launched in 2013, AUC’s Venture Lab is the first university-based lab that houses many creative entrepreneurial initiatives that have had a great impact on participants’ lives. The initiatives have also contributed to the growth of Egypt’s economy.
The university also contributes to sustainable development by becoming the first higher educational institute to measure carbon footprints in the Middle East and North Africa. AUC implements recycling programs throughout its campuses in addition to holding academic research on climate change.
Founded in 1919 by Charles Watson, AUC is approaching its centennial celebration in the upcoming year. AUC’s educational initiatives and services serve education and society; marking its leading role in Egypt and the Middle East as a whole.