AUC Hosts First Advisory Board Meeting of the USAID Scholars Activity

The American University in Cairo (AUC) recently hosted the first Advisory Board Meeting of the "USAID Scholars Activity" — funded by the U.S. government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The board, chaired by AUC Counselor Ashraf Hatem and includes presidents of the seven-project partner universities, is entrusted with a mandate of setting strategic placement policies and direction at partner universities for the life of the USAID Scholars Activity. The meeting was attended by Francis Ricciardone, president of AUC; Kay Leherr, deputy office director and higher education team leader, USAID/Egypt; Dr. Mohamed Osman Elkhosht, president of Cairo University; Dr. Mahmoud El Meteini, president of Ain Shams University; Dr. Ashraf Bakr, president of Mansoura University, Dr. Mahmoud Abdrabou, president of Zewail City for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Hesham Gaber, vice president of Alexandria university for education and student affairs, Dr. Ghada Abdelrahman, manager of quality assurance and scientific activities at Assiut University and senior leaders from AUC.

Implemented and managed by AUC, the “USAID Scholars Activity” offers scholarships to Egyptian public-school students to study not only at AUC, but also at a number of partner Egyptian public (fee-based/credit-hour programs administered in English) and private universities. The program targets students from Egypt’s 27 governorates, identified by high academic excellence, leadership potential and financial need. AUC’s partner universities in the program are: Ain Shams University, Alexandria University, Cairo University, Assiut University, Mansoura University and Zewail City of Science and Technology.

"USAID's higher education scholarships prepare young Egyptians for leadership roles in fields important to Egypt's development, such as engineering, science, nursing, and commerce. University presidents and other top Egyptian leaders in higher education have invaluable insights and contributions to make through the USAID Scholars Advisory Board to ensure we meet those goals. USAID thanks our many Egyptian partners, such as those on this Advisory Board, who have helped ensure that USAID’s $200 million investment in higher education scholarships for Egyptians is money well spent," said Kay Leherr, deputy office director and higher education team leader, USAID/Egypt.

The Advisory Board meeting was scheduled to agree on the timeline of Cohort 2, expedite the process for approvals of the new Nursing Program, expedite the signature of the universities’ sub-agreements and discuss Study Aboard Learning Agreements.

“We’d like to take this moment to thank all of our partner universities from the leadership level through the administration and the experts who work to make this a success, to select the first cohort and to get this program up and running — the facilitated transfer of students and registration,” said AUC President Francis Ricciardone. “We are very proud of the collaboration we’ve got together; we appreciate that we’ve collaborated in other ways with your universities and several others: leadership training, job placement, networking, internships, entrepreneurship and semester and summer abroad that is also built in to this program at AUC. We are delighted and excited with the collaborations we have going across the USAID projects including our University Centers for Career Guidance and Center of Excellence for Water that also brings us together with the great national universities of Egypt.”

The USAID Scholars Activity covers five consecutive cohorts, and the selection process has a commitment to gender balance – the inclusion of at least 50% female scholars – and overall accessibility – the inclusion of at least 10%-15% students with disabilities – to contribute to the diversity and growth of our collective future.

In addition, the program has been working over the past period on broadening its partnership with key players in the Egyptian Government. “We have signed an MOU with the Ministry of Education last December to extend and enhance outreach to the target beneficiaries,” said Ehab Abdel-Rahman, AUC provost. Abdel Rahman added that we plan to sign several other MOUs with the Ministries of Social Solidarity, Youth and Sports, and the National Training Academy. “We are also in discussion with Egypt Post to enhance the program's visibility through its network of 4,000 offices across the nation,” he said.


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Founded in 1919, The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a leading English-language, American-accredited institution of higher education and center of the intellectual, social, and cultural life of the Arab world. It is a vital bridge between East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, partnerships with academic and research institutions and study abroad programs. 

The University offers 40 undergraduate, 52 master’s and two PhD programs rooted in a liberal arts education that encourages students to think critically and find creative solutions to conflicts and challenges facing both the region and the world. 

An independent, nonprofit, politically non-partisan, non-sectarian and equal opportunity institution, AUC is fully accredited in Egypt and the United States.