Actress Yosra, Alumnus Ahmed Zahran to Speak at Commencement

Actress Yosra and alumnus Ahmed Zahran will speak at commencement
Actress Yosra and alumnus Ahmed Zahran will speak at commencement

AUC’s Spring 2016 graduation will take place on Saturday, June 4. This year’s spring ceremonies will feature two distinguished speakers: Egyptian actress Yosra will be the keynote speaker at the undergraduate commencement, and AUC alumnus and co-founder of KarmSolar Ahmed Zahran will deliver the keynote speech at the graduate commencement.  

Both Yosra and Zahran will share words of wisdom with AUC’s Class of 2016. Yosra will also receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from AUC .

See below for more information on each of the speakers.

Undergraduate Commencement Speaker: Yosra​

Yosra is a multi-talented Egyptian actress, singer, United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and international Arab cultural icon. Yosra has been recognized as one of the most influential people in the region, having been named by Arabian Business among The World’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women and by The Middle East among the 50 Most Influential Arabs. In 2015, she was granted the Achievement in Cinema award at the Arab Women of the Year ceremony in London. She has also received more than 60 local, regional and international awards in recognition of her artistic leadership, most notably being honored at the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival.

Yosra’s collaboration with the internationally renowned director, Youssef Chahine, on successful productions including Hadduta Masreya, Iskendereya Kaman we Kaman and Al Mohager cemented her status as an Arab film icon and superstar. Her award-winning acting and musical performance in The Yacoubian Building made her not only an Egyptian household name, but also a recognized global talent.

After a career spanning 85 films and 20 television series, Yosra has used her incredible influence and iconic status to draw attention to pressing social issues, particularly human trafficking, and to highlight challenges facing women. Not only does she engage in humanitarian and advocacy work for women, children and other disenfranchised groups, she has also publicly campaigned for the rights of Egyptian women to become judges and continues to advocate for Egyptian women. Most recently, she was honored at the celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, held in Cairo by the Arab Women’s Union. She has been invited to participate in the World Economic Forum’s sessions in Switzerland, Jordan and Egypt in recognition of her work in the humanitarian sphere. She also serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for many United Nations institutions, including the United Nations Development Programme and UNAIDS, the joint United Nations program on HIV/AIDS.

Graduate Commencement Speaker: Ahmed Zahran​

Recipient of AUC’s Distinguished Alumni Award, Ahmed Zahran ’02 holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from AUC, a Master of Science in economics from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, a diploma in philosophy and literature from the European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin, and a certificate in social entrepreneurship from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

After earning his bachelor’s degree from AUC, Zahran worked in Tunisia for two years as a financial planning analyst for Shell’s gas distribution activities. He then worked with Shell Trading in London as a finance adviser for the European Emissions Trading System. Upon returning to Egypt, Zahran worked at the Egypt Kuwait Holding Company as the business development manager for renewable energy and clean development mechanisms, establishing the company’s carbon trading and renewable energy business.

Currently, Zahran is the co-founder and CEO of KarmSolar, an Egyptian joint stock company established in 2011, working in the field of off-grid solar innovations. KarmSolar won the Wharton University Innovation Tournament in 2012 and the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition (Global Track) in 2014. KarmSolar managed, in a short time, to become Egypt’s largest private off-grid solar integrator and one of the leading innovative companies in solar energy applications in the country. Zahran and his team work on converting agriculture and industry-based, diesel-run operations to solar energy while making them cheaper, easier to use and economically sustainable. The team has developed award-winning, high-capacity solar pumping stations, including the region’s largest off-grid Hybrid Pumping and Irrigation System. In the last year, KarmSolar was awarded a contract for a $2.5-million solar power station.

Zahran is also co-founder and a former board director of Nahdet El Mahrousa, one of the largest youth-run NGOs in Egypt, which works on various youth development projects.