Sahar Nasr and Naguib Sawiris to Speak at Midyear Commencement

This year’s spring graduating classes will have the opportunity to hear from two impressive guest speakers. Sahar Nasr ’85, ’90, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, will be speaking at the graduate commencement, and Naguib Sawiris, executive chairman of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding and chairman of Orascom TMT Investments, will be addressing undergraduates at their commencement.

Sahar Nasr

Nasr obtained a Bachelor of Arts in economics from AUC in 1985, graduating with the highest honors, and later went on to earn her Master of Arts in economics in 1990. She currently teaches economics at AUC and lectures at various Egyptian and foreign universities, having earned her professorship from the Supreme Council of Universities.

As Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, she has overseen significant changes in order to enhance Egypt's business environment and promote private sector participation. She most recently passed a new investment law meant to bolster Egypt's investment climate by creating new incentives for investors. In her role, she has worked to strengthen Egypt’s ties with international partners and has opened up opportunities for new collaborations through mutually beneficial partnerships. 

In addition to serving as a minister, Nasr acts as the Governor of Egypt to several institutions, including the World Bank. As an economist with the World Bank, Nasr managed funds exceeding $4.3 billion that were geared toward accelerating economic reform in Egypt. Her work in economic development also extends beyond Egypt with her influential projects that have promoted inclusive growth and job creation and her contribution to forming international partnership schemes across the globe.

Nasr has published more than 60 research papers, reports and books, sharing her expertise in a number of fields. Her work has helped guide the drafting of economic policies in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe. As a member of the Presidential Office’s Economic Development Council, Nasr also previously acted as an economic consultant to the president of Egypt.

Her extensive work and impact has earned her widespread recognition. In 2015, the Union of Arab Banks and World Union of Arab Bankers named Nasr as the most influential woman in the Arab economic sector.

Naguib Sawiris

Sawiris is the holder of a master’s in technical administration, a diploma in mechanical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich as well as a diploma from the German Evangelical School in Cairo.

As founder of Orascom Telecom Holding, Sawiris helped to develop the company into a leading telecom services provider in the region and world. He was able to build his company to become Egypt’s largest private sector employer. In a well-known merger between Wind Telecom, OTH’s mother company, and VEON in 2011, the company became the world’s sixth largest mobile telecommunications provider. Prior to this successful step, while at Orascom, Sawiris established the company’s railway, information technology and telecommunications sectors.

In addition to his position as chair of Orascom TMT Investments, Sawiris serves on several international and regional boards, committees and councils. He currently serves as the advisory board chair for La Mancha Holding and chair of Ora Developers. He is also active as a member of the Board of Trustees at Nile University, Université Française d’Égypte and the Arab Thought Foundation.

Sawiris previously held positions with the International Advisory Committee to the New York Stock Exchange Board of Directors, National Bank of Kuwait’s International Advisory Board and London Stock Exchange Group’s Africa Advisory Group. He has also had experience managing assets in the media sector, coordinating the acquisition of 53 percent of Euronews in 2013. 

Known as an influential leader and businessman, Sawiris has been widely recognized, receiving international honorary degrees, industry awards and civic honors, including the Légion d’honneur from France, the honor of Commander in the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity and the Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam award in Pakistan.