Summer 2008


A Moving Experence

Copyrights and Wrongs

Community Classroom

New provost appointed, Al Alfi Foundation offers MBA scholarships, Jimmy Carter visits AUC, President David Arnold speaks at Georgetown



Saleh Jallad ’67 is a successful businessman, writer and publisher


Shereen Hamed Shaw ’06 talks about her AUC experience and its influence on her life in the United Kingdom as a student and lecturer


With approximately 40,000 cartons, 5,000 computers and 500 boxes of lab supplies,AUC is bustling with excitement as it relocates to New Cairo this summer.

“Before the move started, I didn’t sleep very well at night because I was always thinking about how to deal with issues with maximum efficiency and flexibility, and a minimum of problems,” said Mohamed Abdel Gawad, senior adviser for campus transition.“Now, I sleep very late at night to monitor the move and make sure everything is working properly, as there are many parties involved and a lot of preparation needed in the actual process.There are at least 60 people taking part in planning the facilitation of the move and hundreds working to physically move the campus.”

Besides simply hiring carriers and drivers to move boxes from one campus to the other, the university brought specialized people to transport valuable electronic equipment such as computers, printers, scanners, and photocopy and fax machines to ensure that everything is disassembled and reassembled properly and without damage.“One of the biggest challenges is relocating the Main Library and all the labs that need to be carefully packed, moved and hooked up,” explained Abdel Gawad, adding that the library was the first to move.

Due to city regulations, large trucks are not allowed in the greater Cairo area during the day, so the entire move is taking place during late night hours.“We have a very small window of time to move,” said Abdel Gawad.“The schedule is very intricate.There is a specific time to move each building, each department, each floor and even each room.” Luckily, he noted, furniture is not moved to the new campus, as it is newly furnished.

Workers load books onto trucks during the late night hours to be transported to the new campus

To facilitate the transition, approximately 50 move captains have been selectedfrom the various schools, departments and offices to act as liaisons between the administration and their respective units. For the past months, move captains have been attending regular meetings with the facilities and services staff to understand the procedures involved in the actual move, and to relay space-allocation needs for their area.The move captains are also in charge of arranging for office belongings to be packed and labeled, and ensuring that everything is delivered to its designated location at the new campus.

Sherif Sedky, physics professor, is the move captain for the physics department and the Yousef Jameel Science and Technology Research Center (STRC).“The STRC is, of course, different. It is more complicated than a normal department,” Sedky said.

Within the STRC are millions of dollars worth of equipment, including powerful electron microscopes and laser etching devices as large as a car.To pack them up,AUC has enlisted the help of experts who will fly in to dismantle and rebuild it.“The sensitive components will be specially packed and shipped,” Sedky explained.

Periodicals shelved at the new campus

He added that elements within the Clean Room, the university’s dust-free lab for experimenting on the microscopic scale,would need special attention, as the materials within cannot be exposed to Cairo’s dust and smog. “For the Clean Room,we’re going to have to pack everything inside the clean environment and unpack it similarly at the new campus,” he said.

While Sedky’s work requires careful scrutiny and care, Mamdouh Philip’s is an exercise in daunting logistics. Philip, head of circulation services, is one of five move captains in charge of transferring the library’s more than 400,000 volumes and periodicals to the new campus.“The challenge is to keep them organized,” Philip said.“We have to move them in sequence and not miss anything.”

Moving an entire library, however, requires intimate knowledge of the system by which books are organized, which means that all staff members involved in the move must be trained. “No one can complete a task like this unless they have a lot of experience in libraries,” Philip noted.

To facilitate the move,AUC ordered 170 custom-designed carts.The carts –– tall wooden boxes about the size of a bedroom dresser –– had to be big enough to hold a substantial number of books, but small enough to roll between shelves.They had to be secure, mobile, and most of all, provide safe transit for AUC’s valuable collection, including priceless volumes at the Rare Books and Special Collections Library.

Teams of four are in charge of loading the carts, each team working on an assigned section of the library. “We have each floor divided into four sections, so our teams will work simultaneously. One team can load a cart in about 10 to 15 minutes,” Philip explained.

Staff shelve journals at the new campus library

With such intricate details being planned in each department in preparation for the move, it would be nearly impossible to hold the process together were it not for regular communication between staff, faculty and the administration.To promote the flow of information,AUC has launched the On the Move enewsletter, as well as multiple Web sites.These include the main Web site for the move with frequently asked questions, news bulletins and move schedules, and the transportation Web site that details the bus schedules and allows people to sign up for bus passes and parking permits. In addition, there will soon be a Web site for food services at the new campus, providing full menus and contact information for all restaurants in the area.

Also in preparation for the move, the university’s Academic Computing Services provided a series of training sessions for faculty and staff members on how to back up the data stored on their office computers.The sessions were designed to assist users in safeguarding their data onto external hardware as a precautionary measure before the packing and relocation of their computers.

At the new campus, AUC will be moving into 136 classrooms, 145 science and engineering labs, 55 nonscience labs and studios, and 727 faculty offices, in addition to staff offices.“Few universities have the opportunity to build a campus from scratch,” said AUC President David Arnold.“This is an extraordinary chance, but at the same time a huge task.”


Man Behind the Move

Ensuring that AUC’s relocation to the new campus runs smoothly has been his primary concern for the past three years. Mohamed Abdel Gawad, senior adviser for campus transition, has been overseeing and managing the university’s relocation since 2005.

A graduate of Ain Shams University’s Faculty of Engineering, Abdel Gawad started with AUC as a contractor in 1966. He was appointed assistant chief engineer in 1973, and was later promoted to chief engineer. Prior to AUC, he worked for the General Organization for Industrialization, a major governmental body overseeing the building of industrial projects.

Over the past 35 years with AUC, Abdel Gawad headed or participated in the construction of the old and new Falaki buildings, Abdul Latif Jameel Management Center, Main Library and Zamalek Dormitory. He is happy to be a major contributor to AUC’s relocation plan.“I really feel very challenged and proud to be responsible for this huge endeavor,” he said.“It made me utilize all the different experiences I have gained throughout my professional career inside and outside AUC.”