AUC, Cornell, MIT to Establish Centers of Excellence in Egypt

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AUC, Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are the American universities selected to launch three Centers of Excellence in Egypt, fostering research, scholarships and innovation in water, agriculture and energy. The project, worth a total of $90 million, is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Each of the Centers of Excellence is based on a partnership between an American university and a public university in Egypt and will focus on one of three key sectors: water, agriculture and energy. AUC and Alexandria University are partnering to establish the Alexandria Water Resilience Center of Excellence, with a consortium of four other American universities: University of California, Santa Cruz; Washington State University; Utah State University and Temple University. Cornell and Cairo University are partnering to establish a Center of Excellence in Agriculture, and MIT and Ain Shams University are partnering to establish a Center of Excellence in Energy.

"AUC winning such a magnificent project is as remarkable as it is exemplary to AUC’s mission in making momentous contributions to Egypt and the wider international community through its consequential impact on Egypt’s economic development and future economic growth. Moreover, the Center of Excellence in water (COE) will align with our country's current needs by generating a cadre of professionals who will afford pioneering technical knowledge and global perspectives on the sustainability of the generations to come in the project’s efforts to reform and manage Egypt's governmental framework and industry," said Dina Adly, associate provost in the Office of Sponsored Programs. 

As part of these partnerships, university curricula and teaching methods will be updated to align higher education in Egypt with local industry needs, undergraduate and graduate-level scholarships will be offered to students with high financial need, and exchange programs will foster cross-cultural understanding and learning.  

USAID’s five-year cooperative agreement with AUC, representing a $30 million investment, will help jumpstart long-term improvement in Egypt’s water resource management, serving the country and supporting the government in its efforts to face water challenges and develop an effective policy to combat them. The center will benefit more than 500 students, researchers and faculty members through scholarships, internships, workshops and training programs – preparing the next generation of leaders and helping Egypt achieve its Vision 2030 goals.

On a national level, the Centers of Excellence will increase the capacity of Egypt’s higher education institutions and create public-private research links in agriculture, water and energy. They will also provide solutions to the country’s development challenges by solving local problems and driving innovation. As Mark Green, administrator for USAID, noted during his inauguration of the three centers in Egypt, “These Centers of Excellence will not only help facilitate solutions to some of Egypt’s most pressing agriculture, energy and water challenges, but also position the country to be a regional and global leader in the knowledge economy. Ideas generated through collaboration at these Centers of Excellence may be the spark that ignites the next big technology development, spurring new industries and prosperity all across Egypt.”