AUC and the Ministry of Solidarity Sign MOU to Support USAID Scholars Activity
The American University in Cairo (AUC) and the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support and promote the USAID Scholars Activity, which provides scholarships over ten years to more than 700 Egyptian students to study at AUC and several partner Egyptian public and private universities. AUC’s partner universities in the program are Cairo University, Alexandria University, Ain Shams University, Assiut University, Mansoura University, Zewail City of Science, Technology and Innovation, AlAlamain International University and Badr University in Cairo. The U.S. Government, through the United States Agency for International Development, launched the USAID Scholars Activity in 2020 in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The activity is implemented and managed by AUC.
“The MOU is in line with the equal educational opportunities program that the ministry provides for students in need of financial support and those with disabilities,” said the Minister of Social Solidarity, Nivine El-Kabbag. “It further contributes to Egypt’s Vision 2030 as it provides students with opportunities that foster excellence, experimental education, entrepreneurship and preparation for the job market,” she said.
El-Kabbag added that the ministry is keen to publicize the USAID Scholars Activity across the ministry’s social media platforms to reach families that benefit from the Takaful cash transfer program and who have children in secondary education. “We are also keen for our secondary school students in care homes to benefit from the program.”
AUC Provost Ehab Abdel-Rahman said: “AUC is very proud of the collaboration with the Ministry of Social Solidarity to ensure better-targeted outreach to scholars with the required academic resilience who might not have an opportunity to enroll in high-quality education institutions or programs." Abdel-Rahman added that this MOU is another partnership in a series with government entities, the private sector and civil society to reach out to students from underserved communities.
The program accepts applications from outstanding students from all 27 governorates of Egypt. So far, around 300 students have been admitted in the first two cohorts and the selection process for the third cohort is underway. The selection process commits to gender balance – where 45 % of cohorts one and two were female students and around 13% were students with disabilities.
USAID Acting Mission Director Margaret Sancho said: “This program will make sure that educational opportunities are available to all of Egypt’s brilliant students and future leaders, including those from underserved communities. These students will benefit from the knowledge and access provided by these USAID scholarships, but we will all benefit from the great contributions that they will make in the future.”
In particular, the program aims to support the economic, social, and environmental development plans in Egypt by focusing on university studies in the fields of water, energy, agriculture, nursing, computer and artificial intelligence, and data sciences. Besides the rigorous higher education, students have access to English language training, entrepreneurship training, career counseling, a semester/summer abroad in the U.S., job placement services, and holistic character development to harvest future scholars as change agents and transformative leaders in Egypt.