Fall 2010


A Legacy of Excellence

Modeling Success

On the Mark

A Dean's Diplomacy

Green Leads

Real World, Real Lessons

New Board of Trustees members appointed, first PhD students enrolled, dean of humanities and social sciences named, first food chemistry graduate program established


Rana el Kaliouby ’98, ’00 is a member of the Affective Computing
Research Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Documentary filmmaker Jehan S.
Harney ’93 brings to light the stories of underrepresented people in the United States

Parliamentarian Khaled El Asiouty ’93 is working to help the needy


Yomna Safwat ’10
won first place at
the Dubai Summer Surprises apprenticeship program


New Members Join AUC’s Board of Trustees

AUC announced the appointment of three new members to its Board of Trustees: Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States; business and philanthropic leader Hosna Rachid, chairperson of the Rachid Mashreq Group, the largest manufacturing group in the region, and president of Mohamed Rachid Foundation for Cultural and Social Development; and David A. Tirrell, the Ross McCollum-William H. Corcoran Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Prior to his current position, Al Otaiba served as director of international affairs for the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. He earned a degree in international relations from Georgetown University and was also an international fellow at the Industrial College of the U.S. Armed Forces at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

A graduate of Alexandria University, Rachid serves as a board member of various organizations, including the Integrated Care Society, the National Council for Women and the Magdi Yacoub Foundation. She is a member of the World Economic Forum and the Arab International Women’s Forum. In addition, she is president of numerous civil and commercial chambers.

Tirrell’s contributions to macromolecular chemistry have been recognized by his election to the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received several awards from the American Chemical Society and was chair of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Caltech from 1999 to 2009. He earned his BS in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his PhD from the University of Massachusetts.

B. Boyd Hight, chairman of AUC’s Board of Trustees, said that the new members will provide the board with expertise and counsel in the key areas of academia, government, business and philanthropy. “Each of these individuals has the experience and expertise we seek in identifying members of the Board of Trustees,” Hight said. “Ambassador Al Otaiba is widely recognized internationally in diplomatic and business areas. Ms. Rachid is also a well-known individual in Egypt and highly regarded for her business and philanthropic expertise. Professor Tirrell, a colleague of AUC board member Ahmed Zewail, will complement Professor Zewail’s contributions in further developing AUC’s science programs. I am pleased that AUC is positioned to attract individuals who are among the most prominent in their fields and who have the ability, and willingness, to make a significant contribution to the future success of this university.”


AUC Alum and Pulitzer-Prize Winner Makes it to the Big Screen

Photography: Kenny Braun  

Oscar-winning documentary film director and producer Alex Gibney has produced a documentary, My Trip to Al-Qaeda, titled after a one-man play performed in 2006 by former AUC professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright (MA ’71).

The film documents Wright’s experience and the moral dilemmas he encountered while researching his best-selling book, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, which discusses the events leading to 9/11. The book is the culmination of five years of research, whereby Wright conducted hundreds of interviews in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany and the United States. The documentary, which recently aired on U.S. television, combines Wright’s stage performance and first-person narrative with photographs and documentary footage of his interviews with people who have ties to Al-Qaeda.

Wright’s first experience with the Middle East came while teaching English and pursuing a master’s degree in applied linguistics at AUC. “This exposure to Egyptian people, culture and politics made an impression on me that developed my interest in the region,” he said.


AUC Welcomes First PhD Students

Each new semester brings fresh changes to university life, and this fall is no exception as AUC welcomed 19 students to its newly established PhD program. The program offers degrees in applied sciences with specializations in nanotechnology, biotechnology and computer science; and in engineering with specializations in mechanical, construction, electronics and environmental engineering.

Amr Shaarawi, dean of graduate studies and research, noted, “This program would not have been possible without the generous support of AUC alumnus Yousef Jameel ’68, and all of us at AUC share with Mr. Jameel high expectations for its success. Based on the great starting class, I have confidence that this program will exceed our expectations.”

For some of the PhD candidates, the program is a chance to return to AUC. Dalia Nakhla ’94, ’97, who works in environmental impact assessment and plans to study environmental engineering at AUC, said, “I’ve always wanted to pursue my PhD here and was eagerly waiting for the program’s launch because I didn’t want to go to another university in Egypt.”

Sharing the same viewpoint, Sherif Gurguis (MS ’06, MBA ’10), who earned a master’s in computer science as well as an MBA from AUC, said, “I experienced the quality of education at AUC, and it is this quality that makes me come back.” Gurguis, manager of business continuity and crisis management at Mobinil, is pursuing a PhD in computer science. “I hope to develop a specialty in the field that will enable me to have a career in academia and provide consultation in this domain,” he said.

For others such as Nadim Arafa, research scientist at AUC’s physics department and a graduate of Cairo University, this fall is his first introduction to AUC. Arafa is taking part in ongoing research projects between AUC and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. “My research focuses on desert development, particularly as it relates to innovative power generation from solar energy,” he said. “My ultimate aim is to continue working in the development of solar power generation to provide clean energy for the world. Earning a PhD from AUC will solidify my knowledge to help me reach this target.”

Many of the students had already distinguished themselves professionally before joining AUC’s PhD program. Reem Al Olaby (MS ’10), who is pursuing a PhD in biotechnology after completing a master’s from AUC in the same field, was recently named, along with a team of international research colleagues, as one of the top three groups recognized at the fourth annual Novartis Biotechnology Leadership Camp in Cambridge, Massachusetts for creating a device that will allow hospitals to screen patients in order to detect allergies to medications. Al Olaby focused her master’s thesis on the design of a vaccine against hepatitis C using a new technique that was only used against cancer. Her PhD research will seek to generate high-affinity ligands that could aid in the treatment of the disease. “When I finish my work on hepatitis C, I want to continue to study diseases, especially specific types of cancer, and work to develop new treatments,” she said.

Advanced experimental and computational facilities have been developed in recent years at AUC’s departmental laboratories to pave the way for the PhD program. The facilities of the Yousef Jameel Science and Technology Research Center have expanded, especially in the fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and material science and engineering.

For information on the PhD program, e-mail: phd@aucegypt.edu

AUC Names Dean of Humanities and Social Science


The university has named Bruce W. Ferguson as its dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Ferguson has more than 30 years experience as an art curator, critic and administrator, as well as extensive management experience in both arts and academic organizations. AUC Provost Lisa Anderson noted that Ferguson brings to the university leadership experience that will promote the school’s mission to help AUC students learn not what to think, but how to think. “The success of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences is crucial to AUC’s commitment to liberal arts and critical thinking, and I am confident that Dean Ferguson will ensure the continuing distinction of the school and further strengthen its critical contributions to the university and its community,” she said.

Ferguson has served as dean of the School of Arts at Columbia University as well as president and executive director of the New York Academy of Art. He has curated more than 35 exhibitions for institutions such as the Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen, the Barbican Art Gallery in London, the Winnipeg and Vancouver art galleries in Canada, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. He also organized exhibitions in the international biennales of Sao Paulo, Sydney, Venice and Istanbul.

A prolific writer, Ferguson has written for numerous art publications and is the co-editor of a seminal volume, Thinking About Exhibitions. He received a BA in art history from the University of Saskatchewan and an MA in communication from McGill University in Montreal.

In accepting the position, Ferguson said, “I cannot think of a greater opportunity than the one offered here to continue to develop and enhance the leading institution of liberal arts in Egypt and the region. I am committed to the goals of world-class education, research and public service, which are the core values of the university. I am looking forward to working with the outstanding faculty and students in forging quality experiences of mutual benefit to all.”


Public Policy, Public Administration Split

    AUC has created a new master’s program, splitting the Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) into a public policy degree (MPP) and a public administration degree (MPA).

The MPP degree was first created at Harvard and other leading U.S. universities in the late 1960s and is now offered at many of the major global universities. The AUC program, the first of its kind in the Middle East, targets aspiring policymakers. The MPA degree will prepare students to support the management and development of NGOs and international organizations. Jennifer Bremer, associate professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy and Administration, explained that course work for the two degrees are designed to overlap so that students gain context and experience to practice managerial, analytic and communication skills in areas relevant to public affairs.

“Egypt needs to develop its own group of young professionals who are prepared to contribute to policy analysis and to communicate effectively with decision makers to accelerate the implementation process,” said Bremer. “Egypt has a very active NGO sector, and there are jobs for people in those areas that need young professionals with the right mix of skills.”


AUC Establishes Egypt’s First Food Chemistry Graduate Program

  AUC has launched Egypt’s first graduate-level program in food chemistry, which will develop food chemists who are capable of supporting the country’s food industry and monitoring food safety.

“Despite the great need for developing safe products in Egypt, the study of food chemistry is not widely offered,” explained Hassan Azzazy, associate dean of graduate studies at the School of Sciences and Engineering and director of the food chemistry program. “AUC has taken the lead to develop a high-level program that will meet the nation’s needs for food production and security.”

Food chemistry deals with the chemical examination and analysis of food and its components: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, as well as food ingredients and additives such as artificial colors, food safety, covering chemicals and packaging. AUC is preparing students for leadership roles in the food industry by offering hands-on experience and a rigorous curriculum covering all aspects of food production, processing, packaging and consumption. It covers food microbiology, types of bacteria that lead to food poisoning and the criteria for food safety. In addition, the program addresses food processing, chemical changes that happen to food through processing and the control of preservatives to prevent bacteria.

“Our goal is for AUC’s food chemistry program to be a model for university-industry cooperation, through which both entities cooperate and work closely together toward better and safer food products,” said Azzazy, adding that AUC is providing state of-the-art equipment to assist students in carrying out advanced research. Faculty experts in the food chemistry program come from renowned universities in the United States, the United Kingdom and Egypt.

Scanlon Honored by Supreme Council of Antiquities


The Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) in Egypt has honored George Scanlon, professor of Islamic art and architecture at AUC for the past 36 years, for his excavation work in Nubia and Fustat and his publications related to these projects. Scanlon is the first non-Egyptian, medieval archaeologist to receive such recognition by the SCA.

Having earned his BA from Swarthmore College and his MA and PhD from Princeton University, Scanlon began working on excavation projects in Nubia and Fustat in the 1960s. He spent three seasons working in Nubia as part of the UNESCO campaign that aimed to salvage the archaeological sites threatened by the construction of the Aswan High Dam. As head of the American Research Center in Egypt at the time, Scanlon was eventually approached by the director of the then Egyptian Antiquities Service to assist with excavation and preservation efforts focusing on Islamic art and architecture in Fustat. “At that time, no foreigner had worked in the field of Islamic archeology,” noted Scanlon. “It had all been done through the antiquities service.”

As the first non-Egyptian to be given a concession to work in this field, Scanlon approached the task meticulously. “I applied the same kind of rigor that had been applied in Egyptology to the field of Islamic and Coptic studies,” he explained. “These sites in Fustat had a historicity that had not yet been fully exploited.”

Scanlon’s love of archaeology has been passed down to his students. “Words cannot thoroughly express the gratitude I feel for having been among the hundreds of students to be influenced by his infectious passion for Cairo and its monuments,” noted Iman Abdulfattah (MA ’04), who studied Islamic art and architecture at AUC and worked as an Islamic art historian at the SCA. “He deserves this recognition because he is a pioneer on so many fronts. He has devoted 50 years of his life to Islamic archaeology and Egypt –– a feat not shared by many in the field.”


Distinguished Faculty Recognized at Commencement

Continuing its tradition to reward and motivate distinguished faculty for their extraordinary research, AUC recognized several faculty members for their commitment and dedication to AUC.

At the graduate commencement, Amal Esawi, associate professor of mechanical engineering, received the Excellence in Research and Creative Endeavors Award, which recognizes the contributions of full-time faculty to scholarship, research and the academic life of the university. At the undergraduate commencement, Amr Shaarawi, physics professor and dean of graduate studies and research, and John Baboukis, associate professor and
director of the music program, received the Excellence in Service Award; Nagwa Kassabgi, English-language instructor, received the Excellent Instructor of the Year Award; and Ahmed Tolba, assistant professor of management, received the Excellent Teacher of the Year Award.

AUC’s distinguished faculty are involved in a variety of research in different fields including studies on ultra-wideband localized pulses and ultra-fast transmission of tunneling pulses by Shaarawi; research on nanocomposite novel materials by Esawi; advanced research on written corrective feedback by Kassabgi; music by Baboukis, who built and strengthened AUC’s music program; and social marketing case studies by Tolba, who received the School of Business Teaching Award in 2009 and is the co-founder and director of AUC’s El-Khazindar Business Research and Case Center.

It has been a busy and productive year for Esawi, who also recently received the Egyptian State Award in Engineering Sciences from the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research for her outstanding research. In addition, Esawi has been recently named the Egyptian representative for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the qualifying body of mechanical engineers in the United Kingdom with more than 80,000 members. “I am very proud that my research on carbon-nanotube aluminum composites, which I initiated here at AUC, is being referenced by all researchers in the field and has consequently earned me the state award,” said Esawi. “I wouldn’t have been able to pursue my research interests in this fascinating area without the Yousef Jameel Science and Technology Research Center. This state-of-the-art facility is conducive to research and study of the most current, complex and cutting-edge technology,” added Esawi, who was one of the founding members of the center.

Working to develop ways of enhancing English-language instruction, Kassabgi’s research provides second-language learners with written corrective feedback that helps them develop as second-language writers. “I believe that teaching is about building relationships and genuinely caring about learners,” she said.  


Top: Esawi, Baboukis; bottom: Shaarawi, Tolba
and Kassabgi



Students Raise Funds for First Breast Cancer Unit in Qalubiya

   Funded by AUC students, the first breast cancer unit in Banha University, Qalubiya governorate was established. The initiative was led by the Anti-Cancer Team (ACT) student club to establish better access to breast cancer screening and support.

Sherine Fahmy, associate professor of practice at AUC’s journalism and mass communication department, developed the project two years ago as part of her marketing communication class. Students were directed to develop and
implement a fully integrated marketing strategy to launch a facility that would offer breast cancer awareness and detection services. “We chose Banha University as the host facility for the unit because Qalubiya is one of Egypt’s largest governorates, and there isn’t one mammogram device there.”

Approximately 150 students from ACT and the mass communication department were able to buy mammogram and ultrasound devices for the unit after a successful fundraising campaign that included holding two concerts, which generated sponsors and donations for the cause. The group also organized Breast Cancer Week, which featured seminars and awareness booths to promote awareness and screenings for the early detection of breast cancer.

The students collected donations from nearly 30 sponsors. “We were able to get sponsors such as pharmacies and drug companies, as well as multinational companies, who donated a lot of money,” said Heba Attia, journalism and mass communication student and assistant fundraiser for the project. “We set a budget and divided ourselves into groups, each targeting a different segment of the project. We would not have been successful without a well-developed integrated marketing campaign.”


LEAD Student Receives Moataz Al Alfi Award for Philanthropy

El-Hassan El-Sabry, a physics student who initiated a program that utilizes both modern technical facilities and an

El-Sabry receiving the award from Al-Alfi (right) and AUC President David D.Arnold  
interdisciplinary understanding of science to invest in outstanding science students from public universities in Egypt, was granted the Moataz Al Alfi Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement and Philanthropy. Offered by Al Alfi Foundation for Human and Social Development, the award was established last year by prominent philanthropist, business leader and Vice Chairman of AUC’s Board of Trustees Moataz Al Alfi to recognize an undergraduate student who balances academic achievement with leadership in philanthropy and service to the broader community.

Al Alfi established the award to encourage students to explore creative solutions to problems facing their communities. At the award ceremony, Al Alfi noted that the culture of community service is not a traditional component of higher education in Egypt; however, that is beginning to change. “This culture is already developing at AUC,” he said, “and I am confident that by recognizing and rewarding students who take the initiative to give something back to their community, we will encourage others to also take action.”

The award requires students to submit a proposal that identifies a key issue in society, along with a solution on how to address the issue. El-Sabry’s proposal calls for 18 students participating in three modules: astrophysics and space science applications, DNA and genomics, and sustainable farm management. Students participate in intensive lectures, receive training in the use of new laboratory and computer technologies, and help to establish a social network among program participants to ensure ongoing collaboration.

El-Sabry has a distinguished record of both academic and extracurricular performance at AUC. “I was so happy when I received the award, but it comes with a huge responsibility,” he said.