New Funds in 2014 Open Doors of Opportunity
In fiscal year 2014, The American University in Cairo (AUC) undertook a number of new initiatives to better serve the community, enrich students’ experiences on campus and promote a vibrant academic environment. Generous individuals and corporations have helped support these initiatives in their first year, and they remain opportunities for all friends and donors of AUC to help provide an exceptional education for students.
One of the most interactive of these new funds isAUC Community Day, which was supported last year by the generosity of 20 donors. The event was held on the New Cairo campus, bringing together students, faculty, staff and alumni. Organized by a wide range of student organizations, academic schools and offices, the day witnessed the unveiling of AUC’s first mascot, an alumni bazaar, a talent show and many more activities. “This is a chance for all of us across campus to enjoy each other and to celebrate what AUC means to all of us," said AUC President Lisa Anderson. "There are more than 20 student organizations, administrative offices and whole departments and management units that worked together to pull this event together for months and it sure represent the best of AUC and the collective community spirit that brings us together."
Another fund that was established in 2014 is the Orphans Environmental Education Program, which is hosted by the Kids’ Environmental Education Program (KEEP), part of AUC’s Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment (RISE), a multidisciplinary institute dedicated to promoting research of sustainable environments in Egypt, the Middle East and North Africa. RISE has been running environmental education sessions for orphans from orphanages around Cairo. Kids get to spend the day at the AUC New Cairo campus garden doing hands-on experiments, activities and games, learning about water, soil, plants and planting, nutrition, energy, climate change and recycling. With the support of more donors, RISE can carry out more of these courses for orphans, which are especially beneficial because many of them would otherwise spend most of their time indoors.
As entrepreneurship is taking the center stage in different venues globally, the School of Business is competing on the global level and has established the AUC Venture Lab (AUC V-Lab), a startup incubator based at AUC New Cairo. Sponsored by the Arab African International Bank and SODIC, the AUC V-Lab will enable startups to capitalize on AUC’s world-class facilities and knowledge base, connecting innovative startups with AUC’s alumni network and fostering a thriving ecosystem of innovation, education and business.
In addition to entrepreneurship, technology is becoming part of our everyday life, and advancements in information technology research are critical to meet the standards of a world-class university. In FY14, Microsoft Egypt LLC signed an agreement with AUC’s School of Business, whereby it will offer the School a two-year research grant to help establish and manage the Regional Academic Network on IT Policies (RANITP) to foster high quality research in IT related areas focusing on policy and impact. The initiative encourages contributions from scholars of the highest caliber from relevant disciplines such as, but not limited to, business, economics, public policy, education and IT. RANITP will facilitate the creation of a network of regional and international researchers to encourage research in as many areas as possible as long as they are relevant to understanding the future of the IT industry in the Middle East and Africa region.
As part of AUC’s long tradition to provide scholarship and fellowship support to outstanding students with limited financial means, this year AUC established the General Fellowship Fund, similar to the General Scholarship Fund, where donors can contribute with any amount to support graduate student tuition fees. Additionally, Edward G. Simpson, former vice president of AUC’s School of Continuing Education (SCE), and Mai Rashdan ’05 have generously contributed to support the School of Continuing Education Career Certificate to provide financially needy students with the opportunity to enhance their qualifications and acquire skills that will allow them to excel in their fields. “I wanted to give back to my community, and the best way to do it is to help other people follow their dreams and better their lives,” said Rashdan. “The job market is getting harder to accommodate, and SCE equips its students to be ready for the competition, lending a helping hand to people who want to ensure better careers for themselves.” The SCE Career Certificate helps build the capacity of targeted, underprivileged students in order to develop the analytical, entrepreneurial, English language and communication skills they will need to enter the workforce.
To undertake many of these initiatives and to provide students and faculty with the appropriate environment for learning and teaching, AUC Advisory Trustee Elizabeth Driscoll established the AUC Broken Windows Fund to provide discretionary resources to rectify unforeseen accidents, damage or deterioration to campus structures or grounds that detract from the overall beauty of the campus. Designed to accommodate 5,500 full-time students and 1,500 faculty and staff, the 260-acre campus is technologically advanced and environmentally sustainable, offering up-to-date resources to students and faculty from around the world. Maintaining and sustaining the state-of-the-art facilities requires not only human labor but a lot of financial resources to meet the expectations of the students, faculty and staff.