With the beginning of a new school year, The American University in Cairo (AUC) welcomes Dr. Ashraf Hatem, the University’s new counselor. Hatem is joining AUC after an extensive career that spans more than 30 years in the field of medicine and public and nonprofit medical administration. He was recently secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Universities and he also served as the minister of health in 2011.The role of the counselor is typically liaising between Egyptian authorities and the University, including working on continuing to develop good relations between AUC, Egyptian institutions and the Supreme Council of Universities, as well as helping to implement the accreditation process for all academic degrees.
The counselor’s vision for AUC is brimming with innovative and constructive ideas, but before anything, his priority is to listen. “My priority is to meet everybody, listen, study, then emplace plans with them,” he said. “I will be meeting with students, the administration, faculty members, councils and the Board of Trustees. I cannot say there is a bigger priority now than to listen to everyone.”
His experience within both an administrative and academic setting has prepared him to have an analytical point of view in working with other institutions to expand and benefit the medical field in the country. One of his visions for AUC is offering a public health postgraduate degree, emphasizing that it would collectively benefit the Egyptian community and other universities as well. “It would be great to collaborate with other university hospitals in strengthening master’s programs in health, hospital and quality management,” he said. “There are programs here that are not available in other schools, so we need to explore and promote these with other universities and professionals in the medical field.”
After meeting with President Francis J. Ricciardone, Hatem noted that one of the topics of discussion was children with disabilities. “We thought of how AUC can help children and families in these situations: how to prepare the parents and siblings, and how to prepare them to deal with their children in their surroundings,” he explained. “Instead of having parents traveling abroad to find professional teachers for their children, we could have training here through AUC’s Graduate School of Education.”
As a practicing medical doctor, Hatem took up several positions at the medical administrative level. Currently, Hatem is a pulmonary professor of medicine, and previously, he was the deputy general manager for Kasr El Aini’s semiprivate French Hospital and general manager for Cairo University’s Kasr El Aini Teaching Hospital. His experience in medical administration entailed the management of one of the largest medical complexes in the region, serving approximately 2 million patients, supervising 16,000 employees and more than 4,500 faculty members.