Al Maghreb Wa Al Mashreq: World-Renowned Moroccan Musician Nouamane Lahlou to Appear at AUC

Arts and Culture
December 20, 2022
Lahlou leans against a wall

As finals week comes to an end, AUC’s Department of the Arts, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Cairo, is hosting a lecture-concert  by Moroccan artist Nouamane Lahlou as well as a Moroccan-themed reception at AUC New Cairo’s Malak Gabr Arts Theater this Thursday from 1 to 3 pm.

Lahlou is a singer, composer, author, music researcher and lecturer who is considered one of the most important Moroccan and Arab musicians of his generation. He has received multiple awards, including the Moroccan National Medal and Morocco’s Person of the Year Award.

Born in 1965 in Fez, Morocco, Lahlou entered the world of music and art at the age of 5 after being gifted a guitar. At 10 years old, he joined the Conservatory of Fez. Following years of playing with the group and studying, he left Morocco for the United States, where he further developed his musical talent while pursuing his studies.

Lahlou finally settled in Egypt, where his artistic career took off. In Cairo, he appeared as a singer and composer on radio and television and participated in the second conference of Arab music at the Egyptian Opera House. After gaining considerable acclaim, he returned to his home country to become a professional composer and researcher in Moroccan music.

Throughout his career, Lahlou has participated in festivals and has given lectures and workshops in major universities in Morocco, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

The lecture-concert will be attended by Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Egypt Ahmed Tazi. Lahlou will be accompanied by his band.

Learn more about the event here

AUC Offers New Behavioral Neuroscience Minor

Campus Community
December 18, 2022
Image of human brain

As an interdisciplinary program co-administered by AUC’s Department of Psychology and Department of Biology, the new behavioral neuroscience minor will allow students to study the relationship between the structure and function of the nervous system with an emphasis on the biological and psychological elements that affect emotions, behavior, learning and memory. 

“There has been increasing interest and requests from AUC students for a Neuroscience program,” explains Patricia Correia, assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience in the Department of Psychology. “Internationally, behavioral neuroscience is a growing field, widely represented in top universities and research centers across the world. We believe this minor is an excellent first step towards opening a new, exciting field in Egypt at AUC.”

For students, this minor will provide a new perspective on biology and psychology and create a foundation for admission to graduate or professional programs, primarily for careers involving research, teaching, medicine, consulting and the pharmaceutical industry.

“Through this minor, I am hoping to broaden my knowledge and understanding of how the nervous system functions, and how the brain is involved in everything we think or do,” says Mariam Elnahhas, a biology major. “Hopefully, completing this minor will be a great first step for me to continue to study neuroscience after graduation and possibly make a career out of it someday.”

In terms of research, Jacquelyn Berry, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, uses behavioral neuroscience to study learning and expertise in humans. “I am super excited about the new minor. It works well with my research and teaching about how people learn and I can focus more on how different brain areas are involved,” Berry states.

In Photos: Mapping Time Exhibition Captures Decade of Experimental Art

Arts and Culture
December 18, 2022
Two displays at the Mapping Time exhibition at Tahrir Cultural Center

More than 87 art projects from AUC’s Visual Arts Program are on display now at the archival exhibition Mapping Time, held at Tahrir Cultural Center. The exhibition showcases drawings, digital prints, videos and installation art produced over the last ten years under the program.

Mapping Time Exhibition

Designed and supervised by Shady Elnoshokaty, associate professor of practice and director of AUC’s Visual Arts Program, the project explores how individuals understand time by examining three layers: present/reality, past/memory and future/fantasy. While varying greatly in appearance, each piece translates a well-researched idea into the visual structure of a map.

Mapping Time Exhibition

“The project was designed to create an educational experience that establishes a direct connection between experimental research and art education,” Elnoshokaty wrote. This individual and collective undertaking results in an experience that is both profound and extensive for the group at large.”

Mapping Time Exhibition

Mapping Time is on display at AUC's Marriott, Margo Veillon, Legacy and Future galleries through Friday, December 30.

AUC Receives $86 Million USAID Grant, Largest in University History, for Scholarships and Training

Local to Global
December 19, 2022
A student in class

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded The American University in Cairo (AUC) $86 million for USAID Egyptian Pioneers, a new program that provides scholarships and training to Egyptian students with emphasis on sectors that can advance Egypt’s climate goals. Through a nine-year cooperative agreement, AUC will administer the program in coordination with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Ministry of International Cooperation, and private and public sector institutions. Prioritizing women’s empowerment, diversity, inclusion and climate resilience, the USAID Egyptian Pioneers will build and develop the capacity of a cross-disciplinary network of public, private and academic entities. The program includes:

  • Scholarships for at least 700 young Egyptians (50% women) from underserved communities to obtain undergraduate degrees in Egypt
  • Scholarships for at least 60 midcareer government professionals to obtain master’s degrees in the United States or Egypt
  • Scholarships for at least 50 midcareer government professionals to pursue postdoctoral studies in the United States
  • U.S. and Egypt-based technical training for at least 280 midcareer Egyptian government professionals and at least 220 mid-career professionals from non-public entities
AUC President Dallal with USAID delegation at COP27
AUC President Ahmad Dallal and USAID delegation celebrate signing at COP27


Accordingly, more than 500 Egyptian women will engage in leadership and professional training, undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships, and study-abroad programs in the United States.

AUC President Ahmad Dallal said, “Leading the USAID Egyptian Pioneers program is a great honor for AUC. We commit to extending our longstanding leadership and excellence in education, capacity development and training to ensure the sustainable integration of the public, private and academic sectors. Egyptian Pioneers will surely leave an enduring impact on Egyptian society, advancing Egypt’s economic development and progress toward its Vision 2030. We thank the U.S. government and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research as we endeavor together on this partnership journey,” 

USAID Deputy Mission Director Margaret Sancho stated, “Climate change is an enormous challenge for all people, all over the world. But we also know that women and girls bear a disproportionate burden of its impact. Despite this, women and girls are leading climate change solutions in their communities. That is why USAID’s Egyptian Pioneers program will include leadership and professional training, undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships, and study-abroad programs in the United States for more than 500 Egyptian women."

Culture Through Comedy: New Novel from AUC Professor Gretchen McCullough

Local to Global
Abigail Flynn
December 11, 2022
Cover of Confessions of a Knight Errant

A former expatriate environmentalist accused of cyber terrorism, a Greek dance teacher and a dead body on an art thief’s property in central Texas set the scene of Confessions of a Knight Errant, a recently published novel by Gretchen McCullough, senior instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Composition. The comedy explores cultural differences through its witty characters and engaging dramas.

So, what is Confessions of a Knight Errant about?Photo of Professor Gretchen McCullough

The story is set in 2011 and follows two men on the run. They arrive on the Friday of Rage during the Egyptian uprising, Dr. Gary Watson, an environmental activist and professor who is accused of being a cyber terrorist, and Kharalombos, a Greek dancing teacher wanted by the secret police. They are tempted by a job offer from a German tourist they met in Cairo. They end up in a girls’ camp in central Texas but find themselves entangled in another drama involving a dead body and stolen Middle Eastern antiquities.

How did you decide to write a comedy about an Egyptian and a former expatriate running around Texas?

These two characters actually met in another novella I wrote, where the American guy was an expat living in Egypt. This was the last novella in my story collection, Shahrazad’s Tooth, published in 2013. At the end of the novella they are invited to a German woman’s girls camp in Texas, so this novel was an exploration of what would have happened had they accepted the invitation.

Why Texas?

My parents have a second home in central Texas in an area called the Hill Country where they have a lot of posh sleepaway camps for kids, the type where they stay for five weeks and do activities. One day while my mom was at the house painting there were suddenly helicopters flying overhead and police cars rolling up.

What happened?

There had been a murder at an adjoining property right behind my parent’s house. Apparently the guy who bought the property had paid for it in cash and had a collection of very expensive antique cars. He was mysterious and had hired some shady characters to maintain the cars who all did drugs. So, all of that played into the plot with the character in the book who is an art dealer.

How did you work that into the plot?

In the book, there’s a character who is an antiquities dealer. He’s basically an art thief. The long and the short of it is that there’s a murder on his property and Gary and Kharalombos get roped into the drama and end up on the run again.

Your novel features a lot of interesting personalities. What inspires your characters?

I’m inspired by the people I meet. The antiques dealer is an obvious one, but characters like Gary and Kharalombos are also inspired by my experiences as an expatriate living in Cairo. And there’s an Irish cook who is inspired by a woman I met in Monaghan County near the border of Northern Ireland.

In a story with such diverse characters, what message do you want your readers to walk away with?

I’m frustrated with this idea that comes from globalization — the idea that every place is the same. Since technology can transport us so quickly to different places and we can communicate more easily, people often have the misconception that all places are the same. But in reality, every place is local and cultural differences will still play out.

How do these cultural differences play out in your novel?

The novel is playful. It’s a comedy exploring the gaps between globalization and local cultures, the tensions there. In my previous writing I explored how foreigners react to living in Cairo and now I want to explore what it's like for expatriates to return to their home country. People have a really hard time adjusting and reintegrating when they come back. Gary, even though he’s an American, rebels against the very scheduled and uniform system of the girls’ camp, as does Kharalombos.

How has your time at AUC influenced this novel?

Living in Egypt and studying Arabic has been very important. I had many marvelous teachers in the Arabic Language Institute who encouraged me to learn Arabic.

My first collection of stories, Three Stories from Cairo (2011), was inspired by many of the stories I heard in Garden City. My husband, Mohamed Metwalli, a poet and translator, translated three of the stories into Arabic. The collection is bilingual. Three stories in English, then you flip the book, the same three stories in Arabic. 

How has AUC supported your writing process?

AUC has supported my writing. Two story collections, Three Stories in Cairo (2011) and Shahrazad’s Tooth (2013) were the fruit of a leave in 2006. The books were published locally by Afaq Publishers. I finished Confessions of a Knight Errant during a leave in 2016. I will be on leave in spring of 2023 to work on a book project set in West Texas in the 1930’s during the Depression, inspired by my grandfather’s life. I also have discovered that many Syrians immigrate to Texas through Mexico and I want to weave that into the new novel.

Besides the leaves, the university has granted me support to attend numerous writing conferences. This was an opportunity to meet writers and get feedback on my work.

What are some of the challenges that come with writing a novel?

Writing a novel and becoming an author is a very long process. I worked on this book for five years and received a lot of feedback and then I had to find a publisher. You really have to be internally motivated to write a novel because there’s no guarantee that any publisher will take it.

As a published author and a professor, what advice would you give to people who want to start writing?

Start small. Find local opportunities. Students will come to me and say, “I want to write a book,” and I say “How about an article? Or a short story?” I wrote a full length novel at the University of Alabama and didn’t publish it, which was disappointing. This is very common. Many novelists have “a novel in the drawer.”

A friend at the time gave me some really good advice; he told me to set aside the novel and work on smaller projects. Writing shorter essays and publishing them gave me a lot of confidence. I regularly publish essays, reviews and translations in venues like: World Literature Today, The Literary Review, Brooklyn Rail in Translation, the LA Review of Books.

Things don’t happen overnight. It’s risky.  It’s a little like being a marathon runner. You just have to keep persisting.

A Comic Book, A Serious Subject: Alumna Haidy Helmy Reflects on Senior Project

Local to Global
Kara Fitzgerald Elgarhy
November 17, 2022
Comic picture, خمسة وراجع

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” is an oft-repeated adage that shines through the work of Haidy Helmy ‘20. The young artist is harnessing the power of illustration to raise awareness and foster a dialogue about mental health issues in an intuitive and engaging format, avoiding the uneasiness that is often associated with such subjects. Her comic book, Khamsa w Rage’  (خمسة و راجع),  is infused with Helmy’s striking visual style as well as critical reflections on mental health.

The Main Character“I wanted to help create something that will make it easier for people to give [mental health] their attention, without the discomfort of discussing mental health.” She saw illustration and animation as a powerful medium to capture interest, drawing people to engage – even unknowingly – with sensitive mental health conversations that, while needed, are often hushed. 

The narrative follows a protagonist with depression, who navigates through a mythical land with an invented language, culture, and creatures. Readers follow along on the journey in search of purpose, love, and acceptance, including confrontations with pervasive misconceptions about depression and lessons about detecting the signs of depression. 

Helmy discovered her interest in mental health and depression during her second semester at AUC, in Introduction to Psychology. “It really opened my eyes — being introduced to this other world I never truly knew anything about,” she reflected. 

Forced Happiness CharacterA graphic design major, Helmy had the chance to enroll in this course outside of her area of specialization because of AUC’s core curriculum requirements. Her academic exposure to mental health was complemented by the array of well-being-oriented services on campus, now formalized under the university’s Mental Health Well-being Initiative. Helmy described, “During my time at AUC, seeing all the initiatives to help students all over the campus…it really shaped my perspective on this topic.” Helmy credits these experiences both in and outside of the classroom with inspiring her to envision the innovative comic book as her senior project.

Beyond graduation, Helmy seeks to battle the stigma surrounding mental health, which can be paralyzing for any young adult — perhaps even more so in the Middle East. “Here in the Middle East, it’s harder,” she said, “as young adults feel scared and uncomfortable talking about mental health or even thinking of seeking help, and even if they did, it is not easy to talk to their parents about such a topic.” Khamsa w Rage’ therefore targets both young people who may need help and the community, who needs to recognize the signs and respond with empathy, support and knowledge. According to Helmy, “the comic book tackles both ends, the depressed [person] and [their] surrounding environment, enabling readers to help others and themselves.”

Haidy Helmy
          Haidy Helmy

In a full-circle moment, Helmy was able to share her work with the University that inspired and equipped her to create it. During AUC’s Mental Health Week in October, Helmy’s characters and illustrations were posted across campus and online, attracting interest to her art and the powerful message behind it. Her project was spotlighted by AUC's Department of the Arts in collaboration with the Office of Student Life with the goal of bridging the gap between the arts and AUC initiatives.

"What is astonishing about Haidy's work is her ability to visualize every mental illness as a dynamic character with certain characteristics," said Amena El Defrawy, senior specialist for Educational Outreach at AUC's Department of the Arts. "This helps people visualize the characters and create stronger connections with mental health."

Helmy’s hope for Khamsa w Rage’ is simultaneously simple and ambitious: helping people to see themselves more clearly and to look more closely at those around them. “That’s what I wish this project can achieve,” she expressed, “to reach others and to help them and the community to talk about depression and other mental health topics. To notice the signs and seek help or help others.”

It's Just One Bag, Isn't It? Upcoming AUC "Invisible" Performance at COP27

Arts and Culture
Abigail Flynn
October 31, 2022
A fish swims around plastic pollution in the ocean

“All the world’s a stage,”- Shakespeare (As You Like It)

What is the world, but a stage? Jillian Campana, professor of theatre and associate dean for undergraduate studies at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, will explore the relationship between art and life during “invisible theatre” performances at COP27. 

The play, titled It's Just One Bag, involves AUC student actors who will perform a conversation in conference exhibit rooms in which they argue about single-use plastic bags and their effect on Egypt’s environment. The interactive performance will ask the audience to examine why people choose to use single-use plastic instead of sustainable options and what impact these decisions have on their community. 

Invisible theater scripts are written using a hybrid form of traditional playwriting and improvisation. “We will have a few rehearsals on campus to challenge the actors to adjust their responses according to how spectators engage,” Campana says. “This type of theatre demands training in improvisation and deep research into the subject matter.”

The students will disguise the fact that their conversation is staged, leading the audience to perceive it as a real event. “Invisible theatre seeks to reach smaller audiences but to make a bigger impact with those small groups,” Campana explains. “When participants do not know they are seeing a rehearsed performance piece, they are more apt to engage with the dialog and share their own thoughts. Invisible theatre capitalizes on this by demanding audience participation.”

Around 43% of plastic waste in the Mediterranean comes from Egypt, much of which is single-use plastic. By making the audience an active participant in the art, It's Just One Bag will emphasize the importance of individual autonomy. Invisible theatre hinges on audience engagement, which the student actors are trained to encourage. 

“Many people think only large corporations and governments can help work toward solutions, but the truth is, if someone is not part of a solution, they are part of the problem,” says Campana. “And when people feel they are not part of the conversation and actively helping with the issue, they tend to ignore it. The more everyday citizens feel involved in helping with this issue, the more they will begin to make other changes. Big solutions take both large and small steps and the involvement of everyone.”

The Earth Turns: Upcoming Play Featuring Families in Climate Crises

Abigail Flynn
October 24, 2022
Promotional Image for The Earth  Turns

Art connects human experience with climate crisis realities through The Earth Turns, a feature play from Adam Marple, assistant professor of directing, to be performed at COP27 and Falaki Theater at AUC Tahrir Square. Crafted from 12 stories about families experiencing different climate crises, including desertification, flooding and deforestation, Marple uses Egypt’s tradition of storytelling to bridge the gap between hard data and human emotions in his 40-minute production. The play will be followed by a discussion with the cast and crew, audience and scientists about the data behind the story.

“Facts and figures are fantastic and scientists are doing a really good job,” Marple said. “But at the end of the day, we need to humanize this. We want to connect emotion to these stories and to what’s happening to us.”  

Using props, costumes, and sets all made by the cast and crew, Marple hopes to make this production as sustainable as possible. Instead of using large lighting rigs, the cast will use battery-powered lamps, phones and flashlights. The actors, members of the AUC community, are involved in both the development of the story and the construction of the sets and props.  The play has been adapted from We Still Have a Chance: 12 Stories for 12 Days of COP27, an anthology of micro-stories produced by a UK-Egyptian collaboration including the University of Exeter, the Met Office and AUC and is funded by the British Council's Creative Commission Egypt for COP27. 

“This production has been unlike any other play I have taken part in because it is a collaborative process where we are creating something collectively,” explains actor Noah Abdel Razek ‘21. “I believe art is the best way to address any difficult topic. In theater, we engage with the audience’s emotions, which is perhaps the best way to get people to actually listen and care.”

Both the design of the props and set pieces and the content of the play itself stress the importance of individual autonomy. Abdel Razek sees an opportunity to encourage people in the community to make more eco-friendly choices. “I feel that in Egypt the majority of people aren’t conscientious of their use of water, electricity and plastic. As someone who has the privilege to afford these more sustainable alternatives, I believe it is my duty to do as much as I can to reduce waste,” they explain.

The Earth Turns will be performed live and streamed online at the Falaki Theater in AUC Tahrir Square next week on Wednesday, November 2, and Thursday, November 3. It will be performed again at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh at the Amphitheater in the Peace Park on Friday, November 11. 

British Council Funding Logo

Resisting the Regime: Women's Protests in Iran

Local to Global
Abigail Flynn
October 24, 2022
Protests in London's Trafalgar Square this October in support of equality, women and human rights in Iran.

Protests have erupted in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police last month. Women have taken to the streets, removing their hijabs and even burning the fabric to protest Iran’s modesty laws. Maye Kassem '89, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, and Rawan Adel Maged ‘17 share their collective insight on the situation as the protests stretch into their fifth week. 

What does it mean for the hijab to be the focus of the protests? 

It's not a coincidence that the veil is at the center of current protests. The Islamic Republic has been antagonistic to women as a totalitarian state since its founding, and requiring them to wear the hijab is one of its most obvious attempts to restrict and marginalize them. 

What are the goals of the protestors? 

Prior to the recent protests, prominent opponents of the dictatorship were unwilling to make rejecting the "compulsory veil" a political demand, frequently neglecting the push from female activists to criticize the particular kinds of oppression experienced by half of society. Therefore, the current protests fight for women’s rights as a whole and call against marginalization and restrictions set on Iranian citizens.

How are these protests different from past protests, such as Bloody November? 

Unlike the previous protests, these are not driven by economic or political discontent. Rather, current protests call for “women, life and freedom.” This indicates a more generalized opposition to the entirety of the Islamic Republic and makes women’s rights and freedoms at the core of these protests. Another major aspect that makes current demonstrations different is that there is no single leader.

Who is supporting the movement? 

A unique feature of the current movement is that it is receiving support from women around the world. This is one of the few occasions when Iranians within Iran and abroad have joined together to express their aspirations.

One interesting point is that clergy do not have any connection to the movement. This is not to argue that it is a campaign against religion; in fact, protesters have purposefully avoided using any religious imagery or language. 

What role does the clergy in Iran have in this situation? 

Clerics have historically played a significant role in all major political revolutions in Iran, from the Constitutional Revolution of the early 20th century through the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Clerics are unable to embrace this movement's core beliefs or goals because, in the views of the clergy, the demand for equal rights for women poses a threat to sharia and their position as its protectors.

You mentioned that these protests are unique because there is no single leader. Do you think Iranian women can achieve their goals without a clear figurehead?

Generally, while the current demonstrations have no single clear leadership, participants are united by a common goal and aim. Demonstrators appear to be breaking away from established political opposition groups and individuals, whether they be domestic reformists or dissidents abroad. 

Who are the members of this movement?

The majority of the movement's members are young Iranians under the age of 25 who declare themselves to be opponents of both the Iranian regime’s ideology and the mindset of the older generation, including anti-regime politicians.

Where are the protests happening?

These protests are not constrained to a single city. This geographic dispersion makes it harder for the government to stop them, but also makes it harder for each group of demonstrators to become one coherent movement. 

Do you think the Iranian government will offer reforms?

The most obvious reason that the Iranian government may refuse to reform, or compromise is fear of encouraging further demands and protests that may have a negative impact on their legitimacy and may even trigger their downfall

Past, Present and Future: Egypt’s Top-Scoring Students Call AUC Home

Campus Community
Devon Murray
October 18, 2022
Campus Building

One year ago, Sandy Moaaz and her father passed by AUC on the way to a friend’s home. Looking out the window at the vast campus, Sandy turned to her father and asked him, “Dad, do you ever think I’ll get into this place?”

Moaaz had wanted to attend AUC since she was a child. As a high schooler, she spent hours studying each day to turn her dream into reality. The result? She ranked second among the country’s thanawiya amma arts students last year.

“When I got the acceptance letter from AUC, I almost fainted,” she recalled. “Getting into this University has taught me that nothing is impossible.”

Thanawiya amma students have a history of excellence at AUC, consistently ranking among the University’s top students. Of the more than 200 thanawiya amma students who are currently receiving full and partial scholarships at AUC, 65% are ranking between high and highest honors. 

Moaaz is the first recipient of the new Ehab Abou Oaf & Jaylan El-Zoheiry Scholarship. Though previously excelling in political science, she has decided to broaden her horizons and declare economics as her major. “Right now, I am taking microeconomics and intro to music, both of which are very interesting,” she said.

Following a similar path, Abdelrhman Omar was amazed to learn that he ranked number six among Egypt’s STEM section thanawiya amma students. Not more than two months after receiving the exciting results, he joined AUC as a recipient of the USAID-AUC Merit Award with his eyes set on the University’s prestigious mechanical engineering program.

Dreaming of becoming an aerospace engineer since the second grade, the native Alexandrian is eager to start work in AUC’s labs. So far, he has decided to join the Mechanical Engineering Association and the AUC student branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

“There are lots of engines in the labs — especially jet engines — and I cannot wait to get involved with these projects,” he said. “Doing this will help me engage with my new environment and learn from people who are older than me.”

Fall semester began in September, but Omar has already had a number of exciting new experiences on campus. “I play basketball and volleyball at the sports complex, and the student residences host a number of movie nights, which fondly remind me of my time in high school.”

Similarly, Moaaz has found a warm and welcoming campus community.

“Everyone is friendly and helpful,” she said. “I know that not everyone gets the chance to come to AUC, so I am truly grateful to be here.”

Sandy Moaaz and Abdelrhman Omar were both among the top ten of their sections in Egypt's thanawiya amma exams
Sandy Moaaz and Abdelrhman Omar scored among the top ten of their sections in Egypt's thanawiya amma exams


AUC has introduced three new scholarships for thanawiya amma students this fall: the Malcolm Kerr Public School Scholarship, which supports an Egyptian public school graduate from Upper Egypt or the Assiut region; the Ehab Abou Oaf & Jaylan El-Zoheiry Scholarship, and one new fund that will provide partial scholarships. 

This is in addition to the 12 full-tuition public school scholarships for thanawiya amma and public school students already offered at AUC. Currently, there are 62 fully-funded scholarship slots available, empowering outstanding and talented public school students to attend the University and create a lasting impact in their communities and beyond.

Looking Back

Mohammed Abuelwafa ‘22, a computer engineering graduate with a minor in business administration, received a full-tuition scholarship from AUC’s Public School Scholarship Fund after ranking third among Egypt’s thanawiya amma students (math section) in 2017. Not losing an ounce of momentum, he graduated this spring summa cum laude and received the Dr. Abdel Rahman El Sawy Endowed Award for having the highest grade point average in the School of Sciences and Engineering.

“[At AUC] I was introduced to many interesting topics through the liberal arts education that distinguishes AUC from other universities — such as courses on philosophy, psychology and religious studies. Socially, I expanded my network greatly, [meeting] a lot of AUCians who occupy well-known positions across the globe. I made everlasting friends in addition to making good relationships with my professors.”

During his time at AUC, Abuelwafa was an active student — from serving as media head of the AUC Robotics Club and a peer coach at the Center for Student Well-Being to winning first place at the 2021 Cairo ICT AI Hackathon.

“These activities helped me develop soft skills that have assisted me in my career,” he said. “I believe that each experience equipped me with a unique toolkit that helped me progress further in life.”

Mohammed Abuelwafa
Mohammed Abuelwafa '22 ranked third in his thanawiya amma exams section


Now a software development engineer at Siemens, Abuelwafa has his sights set on the world of biomedical engineering. “As someone with diabetes, I hope to address current medical problems from an engineering perspective using my computing skills,” he said. “Moreover, I’d like to gain more industry experience and pursue a master's and PhD in order to develop and refine these skills.”

Above all, Abuelwafa constantly strives to enact positive change in the world.

“At AUC, I was trained to be a changemaker — a leader who starts initiatives and spots inefficiencies to raise the standard of organizational efficiencies,” he said. “Most importantly, I try to be the change that I want to see in the world and be an advocate for that change.”

Explore the full range of scholarships offered at AUC.