AUC, Alexandria University and USAID Celebrate the Inauguration of the Center of Excellence in Water
The American University in Cairo (AUC) and Alexandria University celebrated today the inauguration of a USAID-funded Center of Excellence in Water, in Alexandria University. The Center for Excellence in Water in Alexandria focuses on three main components: education, research and exchange. This includes graduate and undergraduate courses, workshops and training programs; research grants and scholarship funding for applied research on water; and exchange programs between the U.S. universities and AUC, with more than 350 student participants. The center will focus on catalyzing long-term sustainable change in the sector by improving Egypt’s water resource management and developing effective policies to combat water challenges, aiding the government in its Vision 2030 to achieve sustainable development and improve the quality of life.
At the opening ceremony, AUC President Francis Ricciardone said: “It is a pleasure to be here today at the inauguration of the Center of Excellence in Water, one of the three Centers of Excellences funded by USAID in close collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Egypt. At AUC, we are very proud of the opportunity to collaborate with esteemed Egyptian and American universities, research centers, private sectors and ministries to create this Center of Excellence for Water, which shows once again the impact that AUC is having on the Egyptian higher education and scientific research’s landscape.”
Abdel Aziz Qanswa, Governor of Alexandria, said at the inauguration: “The water issue is one of the most serious issues facing Egypt. This center was established to conduct scientific and systematic research and studies to help in solving this issue.”
Sherry Carlin, USAID Mission Director in Egypt said: ““USAID is proud to support the Center of Excellence to benefit a generation of Egyptian students who will be able to apply critical thinking skills and knowledge to their research and work in water-related fields. These students will be equipped to create solutions to Egypt’s future water challenges.”
In his speech, Essam El-Kordy, President of Alexandria University, said that this project is the largest funded project in the history of Alexandria University worth $ 30 million.” He added that the goal behind establishing the center is to conduct joint scientific research, train researchers and consultancy centers, which is in line with the national strategy of the sustainable development plan of Egypt (Vision 2030), stressing that the issue of water is one of the most important topics in Egypt.
The Center is established within a consortium of four other American universities: Washington State, Utah State, Temple and California, Santa Cruz; four other Egyptian Universities: Aswan, Beni Suef, Zagazig and Ain Shams; a number of U.S. and Egyptian companies; and several public entities in Egypt, including the National Water Research Center, National Research Center, Desert Research Center, and Central Metallurgical Research and Development Institute. The projects’ main stakeholders in Egypt are the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
AUC, Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are the American universities that were selected to launch three Centers of Excellence in Egypt, fostering research, scholarships and education innovation in water, agriculture and energy. The three centers, worth a total of $90 million, are funded by USAID and are conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
"It is very important for AUC to lead this initiative. It is a golden opportunity to enhance higher education and research on this very important area in Egypt" explained Yasser Elshayeb, professor in the Department of Petroleum and Energy Engineering and chief of party of the Center of Excellence at AUC.
According to Elshayeb, the center has opened for business. He said: “The project has a huge component on sustainability and we are working together to make sure that this center becomes the basis for research and development in the field of water in Egypt. We plan to have a number of students studying at Alexandria University and other universities under the auspices of the Center by the academic year 2020/2021.”