American University in Cairo
|الجامعة الأمريكية بالقاهرة|
|President||Thomas E. Thomason|
|Campus||New Cairo and Tahrir Square|
The American University in Cairo (AUC) is an independent, English language, liberal arts university located in Cairo, Egypt. The university offers American-style learning programs at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels, along with a continuing education program. The AUC student body represents over 100 countries. AUC's faculty members, adjunct teaching staff and visiting lecturers are internationally diverse and include academics, business professionals, diplomats, journalists, writers and others from the United States, Egypt and other countries.
In 2014, the QS World University Rankings placed AUC 360th in the world, 3rd in Africa and 1st in Egypt. It ranked the School of Business as fourth best in Africa and the Middle East, and among the top 200 in the world. AUC holds institutional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and from Egypt's National Authority for Quality Assurance and Assessment of Education (NAQAAE).
The American University in Cairo was founded in 1919 by American Mission in Egypt, a Protestant mission sponsored by the United Presbyterian Church of North America, as an English-language university and preparatory school. AUC was intended as both a preparatory school and a university. The preparatory school opened to 142 students on October 5, 1920 in Khairy Pasha palace, which was built in the 1860s. The first diplomas issued were junior college-level certificates given to 20 students in 1923.
Some Egyptians did not welcome the creation of a Western-based university, whose religious ties made it suspect, as Christian missionaries were not well received. In 1932, a Muslim student reported that he had been kidnapped by members of the AUC faculty in the hope of converting him, but was later released. The Egyptian press used this as a chance to lash out at the university. A few months later, a Muslim student failed his course and accused the AUC of using missionary tactics and degrading Islam. This was followed by another round of harsh critiques from local press. These accounts were most likely exaggerated, but locals believed them likely because of factors such as required biblical studies courses.
Additionally, there were disputes between university founder Charles A. Watson, who was interested in academic excellence, and United Presbyterian leaders in the United States who sought to return the university to its Christian roots. In 1922, after years of writing that the university should be more faithful to its original missionary-related purposes, minister J.R. Alexander met with Watson, who consequently saw an even bigger divide between his goals and those of the church. Four years later, Watson decided that the university could not afford to maintain its original religious ties and that its best hope was the promotion of good moral and ethical behavior. This decision by Watson allowed the university to grow without the potential religious problems in the future, but at the expense of abandoning its original mission.
At first an institution only for males, the university enrolled its first female student in 1928. That year the first university class graduated, with two BAs and one BSc degrees awarded. In the 1950s, the university changed its name from The American University at Cairo, replacing "at" with "in."
In 1978, the university established the Desert Development Center to promote sustainable development in Egypt's reclaimed desert areas. The Desert Development Center's legacy is being carried forward by the Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment.
AUC was originally established in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. The 7.8-acre Tahrir Square campus was developed around the Khairy Pasha Palace. Built in the neo-Mamluk style,[further explanation needed] the palace inspired an architectural style that has been replicated throughout Cairo. Ewart Hall was established in 1928, named for William Dana Ewart, the father of an American visitor to the campus, who made a gift of $100,000 towards the cost of construction on the condition that she remain anonymous. The structure was designed by A. St. John Diament, abutting the south side of the Palace. The central portion of the building houses an auditorium large enough to seat 1,200, as well as classrooms, offices and exhibition galleries. The school’s continued growth required additional space, and in 1932, a new building was dedicated to house the School of Oriental Studies. East of Ewart Hall, the building featured Oriental Hall, an auditorium and reception room built and decorated in an adaptation of traditional styles, yet responsive to the architectural style of its own time.
Over time AUC added more buildings to what has become known as the Greek Campus, for a total of five buildings and 250,000 square feet in downtown Cairo. Sadat Metro was developed with access to the campus, and its main lines intersect near there. Also nearby is the Ramses Railway Station. The campus wall on Mohamed Mahmoud Street still has revolutionary graffiti put up where some of "Cairo's bloodiest and most infamous clashes have taken place."
In the fall of 2008, AUC left the Greek Campus and officially inaugurated AUC New Cairo, a new 260-acre suburban campus in New Cairo, a satellite city about 20 miles (and 45 minutes) from the downtown campus. New Cairo is a governmental development comprising 46,000 acres of land with a projected population of 2.5 million people. AUC New Cairo provides advanced facilities for research and learning, as well as all the modern resources needed to support campus life. In its master plan for the new campus, the university mandated that the campus express the university’s values as a liberal arts institution, in what is essentially a non-Western context with deep traditional roots and high aspirations. The new campus is intended to serve as a case study for how architectural harmony and diversity can coexist creatively and how tradition and modernity can appeal to the senses. Campus spaces serve as virtual laboratories for the study of desert development, biological sciences, and the symbiotic relationship between environment and community. The two campuses together host 36 undergraduate programs and 46 graduate programs. The New Cairo campus offers six schools and ten research centers.
The Research Centers Building houses the AUC Forum, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies, the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement, and the Yousef Jameel Science and Technology Research Center.
The Dr. Hamza AlKholi Information Center houses AUC’s offices for enrollment, admissions, student financial affairs and student services. The Howard Theatre is located at The Hatem and Janet Mostafa Core Academic Center, along with the Mansour Group Lecture Hall, the Academic Advising Center and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
The AUC Center for the Arts includes two theaters: the Malak Gabr Arts and the Gerhart, as well as the Sharjah Art Gallery and offices for the Department of Performing and Visual Arts.
The university’s Campus Center provides students with a communal area to eat, congregate, organize trips, and attend campus-wide events. Inside the building are a bookstore, gift shop, bank, travel office and the main dining room. There is also a daycare center, a faculty lounge and the Office of Student Services, the Travel Office and the AUC Press Campus shop.
Near the Campus Center is the student-housing complex. Across from the student residences is the three-story AUC Sports Center, including a 2,000-seat multipurpose court, a jogging track, six squash courts, martial arts and exercise studios, a free weight studio, and training courts. Outdoor facilities include a 2,000-seat track and field stadium, swimming pool, soccer field, jogging and cycling track, and courts for tennis, basketball, handball and volleyball.
Housing one of the largest English-language collections in the region, AUC’s five-story library includes space for 600,000 volumes in the main library and 100,000 volumes in the Rare Books and Special Collections Library; locked carrels; computer workstations; video and audio production and editing labs; and comprehensive resources for digitizing, microfilming and preserving documents. In addition, on the plaza level of the library, the Learning Commons emphasizes group and collaborative learning. This unique area integrates independent study, interactive learning, multimedia and technology rooms, and copy and writing centers.
Description of construction
AUC New Cairo was built using 24,000 tons of reinforcing steel, as well as 115,000 square meters of stone, marble, granite cladding and flooring. More than 7,000 workers worked two shifts on the construction site.
Sandstone for the walls of campus buildings was provided by a single quarry in Kom Ombo, 50 kilometers north of Aswan. The stone arrived by truck in giant multi-ton blocks, which were cut and shaped for walls, arches and other uses at a stone-cutting plant built on the site. The walls were constructed according to energy management systems which reduce campus air conditioning and heating energy use by at least 50 percent as compared to conventional construction methods. More than 75 percent of the stone in the Alumni Wall that circles the campus was recycled from stone that would otherwise have been discarded as waste after cutting.
A 1.6-kilometer service tunnel that runs beneath the central avenue along the spine of AUC’s campus is a key element to making its overall pedestrian nature possible. Services accessible via the tunnel include all deliveries and pickups from campus buildings, fiber optic and technology-related wiring, major electrical conduits and plumbing for hot water, domestic water and chilled water for air conditioning. All other pipes for sewage, natural gas, irrigation and fire fighting are buried on the campus, outside the tunnel, around buildings as needed for their purposes.
Inauguration and new uses
Margaret Scobey, former US Ambassador to Egypt, was among the guests at the inauguration in February 2009. In her remarks, Scobey said,
“The new demands of our new world raise the importance of education. We need our future leaders to be diverse and to have a diverse educational experience…Perhaps most importantly, we need leaders who are dedicated to developing a true respect for each other if we are going to effectively work together to harness these forces of change for the greater good.”
Ambassador Scobey also delivered a message of congratulations to AUC from US President Barack Obama.
In 2013 AUC signed a 10-year lease agreement with Tahrir Alley Technology Park (TATP), a Cairo-based company that intends to keep the Greek Campus name, to operate the Greek Campus. AUC will retain full ownership. It turned over five buildings to TATP. This campus is to be developed as a technology park, encouraging start-ups and development of small businesses. TATP has said it will provide space on campus for approved artists.
- The Urban Land Institute based in the United States recognized AUC’s new campus design and construction with a special award recognizing its energy efficiency, its architecture, its capacity for community development.
Governance and administration
The American University in Cairo is an independent educational institution governed by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. In addition, a panel of trustees emeriti functions as an advisory board. The Board has its own by-laws and elects a chairperson for an annual term. There are no students on the Board.
Names of presidents and tenures
- Thomas E. Thomason (Current)
- Lisa Anderson (2011–2015)
- David C. Arnold (2003–2011)
- John D. Gerhart (1998–2003)
- Donald McDonald (1990–1997)
- Richard F. Pedersen (1977–1990)
- Cecil K. Byrd (1974–1977)
- Christopher Thoron (1969–1974)
- Thomas A. Bartlett (1963–1969)
- Raymond F. McLain (1954–1963)
- John S. Badeau (1944–1953)
- Charles Watson (1919–1944)
AUC offers undergraduate programs and graduate programs, as well as continuing education opportunities within its schools and research centers. The university’s English-language liberal arts environment is designed to promote critical thinking, language and cultural skills as well as to foster in students an appreciation of their own culture and heritage and their responsibilities toward society.
AUC holds institutional accreditation from the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in the United States. AUC's engineering programs are accredited by ABET (formerly Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) and the business programs are accredited by the Association to Advance College Schools of Business (AACSB.) In Egypt, AUC operates within the framework of the 1975 protocol with the Egyptian government, which is based on the 1962 Cultural Relations Agreement between the U.S. and Egyptian governments. In the United States, AUC is licensed to grant degrees and is incorporated by the State of Delaware.
Undergraduate and graduate schools
- School of Business
- School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS)
- School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP)
- School of Sciences and Engineering (SSE)
- School of Continuing Education (SCE)
- Graduate School of Education (GSE)
- Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D)
- AUC Forum
- Center for Migration and Refugee Studies (CMRS)
- Center for Translation Studies (CTS)
- Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women's Studies
- Economic and Business History Research Center (EBHRC)
- El-Khazindar Business Research and Case Center
- John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement
- John D. Gerhart Field Station in El Gouna
- Middle East Studies Center
- Prince Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research
- Research Advisory Council
- Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment
- Social Research Center
- Office of Data Analytics and Institutional Research
- Office of the Associate Provost for Research Administration
- Office of Sponsored Programs
- Yousef Jameel Science and Technology Research Center (YJ-STRC)
Student Activities Most of the student activities at AUC are organized by the students and for the students and address a wide variety of social, political and economic issues. Such activities include, but are not limited to:
- Delta Phi Epsilon (social), professional foreign service fraternity (Independent Chapter).
- Developers Inc.
- Cairo International Model United Nations
- Astronomy Club
- AUC Times Magazine
- TEDxAUC: AUC's platform for Ideas Worth Spreading
- Amr Waked, actor
- Hisham Abbas, singer
- Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, president of the Maldives from 1978 to 2008
- Rania al Abdullah, queen of Jordan.
- Haifa Al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia's first female filmmaker
- Muin Bseiso, poet and activist
- Aida el Ayoubi, singer, songwriter and guitarist.
- Khaled Bichara, CEO of Orascom Telecom and founder of LinkdotNet
- John O. Brennan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
- Juan Cole, American scholar, public intellectual, and historian of the modern Middle East and South Asia. Currently Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.
- Melanie Craft, romance novelist, Larry Ellison's Wife (Oracle Corporation CEO)
- Mona Eltahawy, journalist
- Yousef Gamal El-Din, regional correspondent and host of Access: Middle East, CNBC Europe
- Mona El-Shazly, Egyptian talk show host
- Yosri Fouda, editor and host/presenter on Akher Kalam, a talk show on ONTV
- Wael Ghonim, Google executive, social activist, social entrepreneur
- Yuriko Koike, former Japanese Minister of Defense
- Noha Radwan, professor of Arabic literature at the University of California, Davis
- Omar Samra, first Egyptian to climb Mount Everest
- Devin J. Stewart, professor at Emory University
- Dan Stoenescu, Romanian diplomat, political scientist and journalist
- Nabil Fahmi, Ex Egyptian foreign minister
- Asser Yassin, Egyptian actor
- Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist
- Emma Bonino, former Commissioner of the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO)
- Galal Amin, Egyptian economist and commentator
- Graham Harman, contemporary philosopher of metaphysics
- Kent Weeks, leading Egyptologist, launched the Theban Mapping Project, which discovered the identity and vast dimensions of KV5, the tomb of the sons of Rameses II in the Valley of the Kings
- Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author
- Salima Ikram, leading Egyptologist and expert on animal mummies
- AUC Press
- Cairo International Model United Nations
- American University of Sharjah (AUS)
- American University of Beirut (AUB)
- American University of Iraq - Sulaimani (AUI)
- American University in Dubai (AUD)
- "Egypt’s AUC welcomes students from over 100 countries". Bikya Masr. 2010-09-06. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- "American University in Cairo". QS. Retrieved 2014-11-24.
- "Top Business Schools in Africa and the Middle East". Top MBA. Retrieved 2014-11-24.
- QS Global 200 Business Schools Report
- "Institutional Accreditation". http://www.aucegypt.edu. External link in
- Murphy, Lawrence R. (1987). The American University in Cairo, 1919-1987. Cairo, Egypt: American University in Cairo Press. p. 1. ISBN 977-424-156-8.
- "AUC History". Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- Carter, B. L. (1984). "On Spreading the Gospel to Egyptians Sitting in Darkness: The Political Problem of Missionaries in Egypt in the 1930s". Middle Eastern Studies 20 (4): 18–36 [p. 22]. doi:10.1080/00263208408700597.
- Heather J. Sharkey, American Evangelicals in Egypt, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), 154-67
- "About the American University in Cairo Press". American University in Cairo Press. Archived from the original on 5 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- News@AUC. "Desert Development Center Leaves a Legacy at AUC". Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- News@AUC, News@AUC. "New Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment Promotes Service". Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- Downtown Cultural Center brochure
- The American University in Cairo: 1919-1987, p 37
- The American University in Cairo: 1919-1987, p 85
- Sophia Jones, "Cairo's Tahrir Square to Get a New neighbor: A Mini Silicon Valley", Huffington Post, 15 November 2013, accessed 28 January 2016
- The Daily News (Egypt), 8 February 2009
- "The University - The American University in Cairo - acalog ACMS™". Catalog.aucegypt.edu.
- A City for Learning: AUC’s Campus in New Cairo, 2004, page 20
- A City for Learning: AUC’s Campus in New Cairo, 2004, page 14
- "Background". Aucegypt.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- USAID Frontlines, March 2009
- "A Grand Opening". Aucegypt.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "AUC'S GREEK CAMPUS TO BE TRANSFORMED INTO EGYPT'S FIRST TECHNOLOGY PARK". aucegypt.edu. November 14, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- "American University in Cairo bags special award from ULI". Education Design Network.
- "Board of Trustees". .aucegypt.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- Slackman, Michael (May 5, 2010). "A Campus Where Unlearning Is First". The New York Times.
- Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU)
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- "AUC Developers Inc.". AUC Developers Inc.
- "Astronomy Club". Facebook.
- "TEDxAUC Official Website". tedxauc.net.
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