The American University in Cairo

The American University in Cairo (AUC; Arabic: الجامعة الأمريكية بالقاهرة, romanizedal-Jāmi‘a al-’Amrīkiyya bi-l-Qāhira) is a private research university in Cairo, Egypt. The university offers American-style learning programs at undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels, along with a continuing education program.

The American University in Cairo
الجامعة الأمريكية بالقاهرة
The American University in Cairo logo.svg
Other name
FounderCharles Watson
Endowment$535.5 million (2019)[1]
PresidentAhmad Dallal
ProvostEhab Abdel-Rahman
Academic staff
467 Full-time and 149 part-time (45% international faculty)
Students6,857 (from 59 countries, 58% female)
Other students
31,127 (Continuing Education)

30°01′10″N 31°29′59″E / 30.0194°N 31.4998°E / 30.0194; 31.4998
CampusMain campus in New Cairo, and the old campus in Tahrir Square
Colors  Federal blue
MascotThe Eagle Horus

The AUC student body represents over 50 countries.[2] AUC's faculty members, adjunct teaching staff and visiting lecturers are internationally diverse and include academics, business professionals, diplomats, journalists, writers and others from the United States, Egypt and other countries.

AUC holds institutional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in the United States and from Egypt's National Authority for Quality Assurance and Assessment of Education.[3]


The American University in Cairo was founded in 1919 by the American Mission in Egypt, a Protestant mission sponsored by the United Presbyterian Church of North America, as an English-language university and preparatory school.[4] University founder Charles A. Watson wanted to establish a western institution for higher education.[5]

AUC was intended as both a preparatory school and a university. The preparatory school opened to 142 students on October 5, 1920, in Khairy Pasha Palace, which was built in the 1860s. The first diplomas issued were junior college-level certificates given to 20 students in 1923.[6][7]

There were disputes between Watson, who was interested in building the university's academic reputation, and United Presbyterian leaders in the United States who sought to return the university to its Christian roots. Four years later, Watson decided that the university could not afford to maintain its original religious ties and that its best hope was the promotion of good moral and ethical behavior.[8]

Originally limited to male students, the university enrolled its first female student in 1928.[9] That same year, the university graduated its first class, with two Bachelor of Arts and one Bachelor of Sciences degrees awarded.

In 1950, AUC added its first graduate programs to its ongoing Bachelor of Arts, bachelor of sciences, graduate diploma, and continuing education programs, and in 1951, phased out the preparatory school program. During the Six-Day War, AUC avoided being nationalized, although most American faculty were forced to leave the country.[10] By the mid-1970s, the university offered a broad range of liberal arts and sciences programs. In the following years, the university added bachelors, masters, and diploma programs in engineering, management, computer science, journalism and mass communication and sciences programs, as well as establishing a number of research centers in strategic areas, including business, the social sciences, philanthropy and civic engagement, and science and technology. In the 1950s, the university also changed its name from The American University at Cairo, replacing "at" with "in."

The American University in Cairo Press was established in 1960. By 2016, it was publishing up to 80 books annually.[11]

In 1978, the university established the Desert Development Center to promote sustainable development in Egypt's reclaimed desert areas.[12] The Desert Development Center's legacy is being carried forward by the Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment.[13]

Faculty voted "no confidence" in university president Francis J. Ricciardone in February 2019. In a letter to the president, the faculty cited "low morale, complaints about his management style, grievances over contracts and accusations of illegal discrimination" with tensions further increasing when Ricciardone invited U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to give a speech at the university.[14]

On February 11, 2019, the Board of Trustees of the American University in Cairo reaffirmed its continued confidence and unqualified support for President Francis J. Ricciardone. In May 2019, it extended his tenure till June 2024.[15] Ricciardone retired June 2021.[16]

The board of trustees announced their appointment of Ahmad S. Dallal as the university's 13th president on June 22, 2021.[17]


Tahrir Square campusEdit

AUC was originally established in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. The 7.8-acre Tahrir Square campus was developed around the Khairy Pasha Palace. Built in the neo-Mamluk style,[further explanation needed] the palace inspired an architectural style that has been replicated throughout Cairo.[18] Ewart Hall was established in 1928, named for William Dana Ewart, the father of an American visitor to the campus, who made a gift of $100,000 towards the cost of construction on the condition that she remain anonymous.[19] The structure was designed by A. St. John Diament, abutting the south side of the Palace. The central portion of the building houses an auditorium large enough to seat 1,200, as well as classrooms, offices and exhibition galleries. The school's continued growth required additional space, and in 1932, a new building was dedicated to house the School of Oriental Studies. East of Ewart Hall, the building featured Oriental Hall, an auditorium and reception room built and decorated in an adaptation of traditional styles,[20] yet responsive to the architectural style of its own time.[18]

Tahrir Square (Downtown Campus)

Over time AUC added more buildings to what has become known as The GrEEK Campus, for a total of five buildings and 250,000 square feet in downtown Cairo.[21] Sadat Metro was developed with access to the campus, and its main lines intersect near there. Also nearby is the Ramses Railway Station. The campus wall on Mohamed Mahmoud Street still has revolutionary graffiti put up.[21] The American University in Cairo made an initiative and tried to preserve the wall graffiti.[22] Many admirers published and even documented these graffiti by collecting images/photos of the mural taken by visitors,[23] who were present during this historic period.[24]

New Cairo campusEdit

In the fall of 2008, AUC left the Greek Campus and officially inaugurated AUC New Cairo, a new 260-acre suburban campus in New Cairo, a satellite city about 20 miles (and 45 minutes) from the downtown campus. New Cairo is a governmental development comprising 46,000 acres of land with a projected population of 2.5 million people.[25] AUC New Cairo provides advanced facilities for research and learning, as well as all the modern resources needed to support campus life.[26] In its master plan for the new campus, the university mandated that the campus express the university's values as a liberal arts institution, in what is essentially a non-Western context with deep traditional roots and high aspirations.[27] The new campus is intended to serve as a case study for how architectural harmony and diversity can coexist creatively and how tradition and modernity can appeal to the senses.[28] Campus spaces serve as virtual laboratories for the study of desert development, biological sciences, and the symbiotic relationship between environment and community.[28] The two campuses together host 36 undergraduate programs and 46 graduate programs. The New Cairo campus offers six schools and ten research centers.

The Research Centers Building houses the AUC Forum, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies, the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement, and the Yousef Jameel Science and Technology Research Center.

AUC New Cairo

The Dr. Hamza AlKholi Information Center houses AUC's offices for enrollment, admissions, student financial affairs and student services. The Howard Theatre is located at The Hatem and Janet Mostafa Core Academic Center, along with the Mansour Group Lecture Hall, the Academic Advising Center and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

The AUC Center for the Arts includes two theaters: the Malak Gabr Arts and the Gerhart, as well as the Sharjah Art Gallery and offices for the Department of Performing and Visual Arts.

The university's Campus Center provides students with a communal area to eat, congregate, organize trips, and attend campus-wide events. Inside the building are a bookstore, gift shop, bank, travel office and the main dining room. There is also a daycare center, a faculty lounge and the Office of Student Services, the Travel Office and the AUC Press Campus shop.

Near the Campus Center is the student-housing complex. Across from the student residences is the three-story AUC Sports Center, including a 2,000-seat multipurpose court, a jogging track, six squash courts, martial arts and exercise studios, a free weight studio, and training courts. Outdoor facilities include a 2,000-seat track and field stadium, swimming pool, soccer field, jogging and cycling track, and courts for tennis, basketball, handball and volleyball.[26]

Housing one of the largest English-language collections in the region, AUC's five-story library includes space for 600,000 volumes in the main library and 100,000 volumes in the Rare Books and Special Collections Library; locked carrels; computer workstations; video and audio production and editing labs; and comprehensive resources for digitizing, microfilming and preserving documents. In addition, on the plaza level of the library, the Learning Commons emphasizes group and collaborative learning. This unique area integrates independent study, interactive learning, multimedia and technology rooms, and copy and writing centers.[26]

Construction of New Cairo campusEdit

AUC New Cairo was built using 24,000 tons of reinforcing steel, as well as 115,000 square meters of stone, marble, granite cladding and flooring. More than 7,000 workers worked two shifts on the construction site.[29]

Sandstone for the walls of campus buildings was provided by a single quarry in Kom Ombo, 50 kilometers north of Aswan. The stone arrived by truck in giant multi-ton blocks, which were cut and shaped for walls, arches and other uses at a stone-cutting plant built on the site. The walls were constructed according to energy management systems which reduce campus air conditioning and heating energy use by at least 50 percent as compared to conventional construction methods. More than 75 percent of the stone in the Alumni Wall that circles the campus was recycled from stone that would otherwise have been discarded as waste after cutting.

A 1.6-kilometer service tunnel that runs beneath the central avenue along the spine of AUC's campus is a key element to making its overall pedestrian nature possible. Services accessible via the tunnel include all deliveries and pickups from campus buildings, fiber optic and technology-related wiring, major electrical conduits and plumbing for hot water, domestic water and chilled water for air conditioning. All other pipes for sewage, natural gas, irrigation and fire fighting are buried on the campus, outside the tunnel, around buildings as needed for their purposes.[29]

Inauguration and awardsEdit

Margaret Scobey, former US Ambassador to Egypt, was among the guests at the inauguration in February 2009.[30] In her remarks, Scobey said,

"The new demands of our new world raise the importance of education. We need our future leaders to be diverse and to have a diverse educational experience…Perhaps most importantly, we need leaders who are dedicated to developing a true respect for each other if we are going to effectively work together to harness these forces of change for the greater good."[30]

Ambassador Scobey also delivered a message of congratulations to AUC from US President Barack Obama.[31]

In 2013 AUC signed a 10-year lease agreement with Tahrir Alley Technology Park (TATP), a Cairo-based company that intends to keep the Greek Campus name, to operate the Greek Campus. AUC will retain full ownership. It turned over five buildings to TATP. This campus is to be developed as a technology park, encouraging start-ups and development of small businesses.[32] TATP has said it will provide space on campus for approved artists.[21]

The Urban Land Institute based in the United States recognized AUC's new campus design and construction with a special award recognizing its energy efficiency, its architecture, its capacity for community development.[33]

Governance and administrationEdit

The American University in Cairo is an independent educational institution governed by a board of trustees. In addition, a panel of trustees emeriti functions as an advisory board. The Board has its own by-laws and elects a chairperson for an annual term. There are no students on the Board.[34]

Charles A. Watson

Francis Ricciardone was the president of AUC from 2016 until 2021.[35] In February 2019, both the faculty and the student senate of the American University overwhelmingly voted that they had "no confidence" in Ricciardone's leadership.[36] In a letter to the president, the faculty cited "low morale, complaints about his management style, grievances over contracts and accusations of illegal discrimination" with tensions further increasing when Ricciardone invited U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to give a speech at the university.[36]

The 13th president of AUC, Ahmad S. Dallal, graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from AUC. He obtained advanced degrees from and taught at several renown universities in the United States prior to taking on administrative positions at American University of Beirut from 2009 to 2015 and Georgetown University in Qatar from 2017 to 2021.[37]

University presidentsEdit


AUC offers 37 bachelor's degrees, 44 master's degrees, and 2 doctoral degrees in applied sciences and engineering in addition to a wide range of graduate diplomas in five schools: Business, Global Affairs and Public Policy, Humanities and Social Sciences, Sciences and Engineering, and the Graduate School of Education.[38] The university's English-language liberal arts environment is designed to promote critical thinking, language and cultural skills as well as to foster in students an appreciation of their own culture and heritage and their responsibilities toward society.[39] In November 2020, Provost Ehab Abdelrahman dissolved the Graduate School of Education without warning and without a plan to merge with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences [40]

AUC holds institutional accreditation from the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in the United States.[41] AUC's engineering programs are accredited by ABET (formerly Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) and the business programs are accredited by the Association to Advance College Schools of Business (AACSB.)[42] In Egypt, AUC operates within the framework of the 1975 protocol with the Egyptian government, which is based on the 1962 Cultural Relations Agreement between the U.S. and Egyptian governments.[43] In the United States, AUC is licensed to grant degrees and is incorporated by the State of Delaware.[43] In addition, many of AUC's academic programs have received specialized accreditation.

Faculty at AUC are frequently harassed by senior administration, led by Abdelrahman. In 2019, Adam Duker [44] was subjected to so-called investigations in an attempt to force him to resign. In 2022, Abdelrahman terminated a popular professor's contract because he spoke out against corrupt policies and contract violations while advocating for a faculty union. Students were abruptly informed that the professor is "not available" and cancelled their classes with him.

Enrollment in academic programs includes over 5,474 undergraduates with an additional 979 graduate students (2017 - 2018).[45] Simultaneously, adult education has also expanded and now serves more than 22,000 students each year in non-credit courses and contracted training programs offered through the School of Continuing Education.[38] 94% of AUC students are Egyptian, with the remaining 6% from around the world.


  • AUC is ranked 411th university globally and 9th in the "Arab Region" by QS World University Rankings in their 2021 rankings[46]
  • Ten AUC graduate programs were ranked among the top in Africa and best 200 worldwide in Eduniversal's Best Master's Rankings for 2015 - 2016[47]
  • AUC placed 81 out of 407 institutions worldwide in the Universitas Indonesia (UI) GreenMetric World University Ranking for 2015 - 2016[48]

Student lifeEdit

Student activitiesEdit

AUC has 70 student organizations.[49] Most of the student activities at AUC are organized by students in areas of community service, student government, culture and special interests, academics, and student conferences.

AUC New Campus

Organizations include, but are not limited to:

Dormitories and student housingEdit

Dormitories and student housing are located on AUC's New Cairo campus. Housing is organized by the AUC's Office of Residential Life, helping students transition to living independently and adjusting to university life as well as organizing social events. The residence is composed of 12 units, divided into five male and seven female cottages.[55]

Notable alumniEdit

Notable facultyEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2018 to FY 2019". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  2. ^ "Egypt's AUC welcomes students from over 50 countries". Bikya Masr. 2010-09-06. Archived from the original on 2011-10-09. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
  3. ^ "Accreditation". Archived from the original on 11 June 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  4. ^ Murphy, Lawrence R. (1987). The American University in Cairo, 1919-1987. Cairo, Egypt: American University in Cairo Press. p. 1. ISBN 977-424-156-8.
  5. ^ Lawrence R. Murphy, The American University in Cairo: 1919 - 1987, (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1987), 5-6
  6. ^ "AUC History". Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  7. ^ "AUC Board of Trustees minutes". Retrieved 7 Jun 2017.
  8. ^ Heather J. Sharkey, American Evangelicals in Egypt, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), 154-67
  9. ^ "Eva Habib El Masri Oral History :: AUC Oral Histories and Reminiscences".
  10. ^ "AUC during 1967". American University in Cairo. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  11. ^ "About the American University in Cairo Press". American University in Cairo Press. Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  12. ^ News@AUC. "Desert Development Center Leaves a Legacy at AUC". Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  13. ^ News@AUC, News@AUC. "New Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment Promotes Service". Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  14. ^ Walsh, Declan (February 6, 2019). "Revolt at American University Where Pompeo Addressed Middle East". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  15. ^ "AUC's Board of Trustees Votes Unanimously to Renew President Ricciardone". May 29, 2019.
  16. ^ "The Retirement of President Francis J. Ricciardone | The American University in Cairo". Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  17. ^ "Ahmad Dallal Named President Of The American University In Cairo". Al Bawaba. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  18. ^ a b Downtown Cultural Center brochure
  19. ^ The American University in Cairo: 1919-1987, p 37
  20. ^ The American University in Cairo: 1919-1987, p 85
  21. ^ a b c Sophia Jones, "Cairo's Tahrir Square to Get a New neighbor: A Mini Silicon Valley", Huffington Post, 15 November 2013, accessed 28 January 2016
  22. ^ "Preserving Mohamed Mahmoud Murals; See Photo Gallery". Archived from the original on 2012-12-10.
  23. ^ "جداريات محمد محمود تجذب المترددين علي الميدان لالتقاط الصور". مصرس.
  24. ^ "الجرافيتي "فن الغضب والشوارع"".
  25. ^ The Daily News (Egypt), 8 February 2009
  26. ^ a b c "The University - The American University in Cairo - acalog ACMS™".
  27. ^ A City for Learning: AUC’s Campus in New Cairo, 2004, page 20
  28. ^ a b A City for Learning: AUC’s Campus in New Cairo, 2004, page 14
  29. ^ a b "Background". Archived from the original on 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  30. ^ a b USAID Frontlines, March 2009
  31. ^ "A Grand Opening". Archived from the original on 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  32. ^ "AUC'S GREEK CAMPUS TO BE TRANSFORMED INTO EGYPT'S FIRST TECHNOLOGY PARK". November 14, 2013. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  33. ^ "American University in Cairo bags special award from ULI". Education Design Network. Archived from the original on 2010-02-21.
  34. ^ "Board of Trustees". Archived from the original on 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  35. ^ "Francis J. Ricciardone Named President of the American University in Cairo". American University in Cairo. March 2, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  36. ^ a b Walsh, Declan (February 6, 2019). "Revolt at American University Where Pompeo Addressed Middle East". The New York Times.
  37. ^ "Meet AUC's newly-appointed president Ahmad Dallal". Egypt Independent. June 23, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  38. ^ a b "The American University in Cairo Factbook, 2016-2017" (PDF).
  39. ^ Slackman, Michael (May 5, 2010). "A Campus Where Unlearning Is First". The New York Times.
  40. ^ {{The Caravan|
  41. ^ Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU)
  42. ^ "Welcome to - Search Results for """. March 10, 2016. Archived from the original on March 10, 2016.
  43. ^ a b "AUC's Accreditation". Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  44. ^ Professor at American university in Cairo says he was fired for not favoring Islam
  45. ^ "Facts and Figures | The American University in Cairo".
  46. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2021". Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  47. ^ "Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking in Egypt". Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  48. ^ "Overall Ranking 2015 | Greenmetric UI". Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  49. ^ "Student Organizations and Clubs". The American University in Cairo. 2015-03-31. Archived from the original on 2016-05-13. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  50. ^ "AUC Developers Inc". Archived from the original on 2015-10-18.
  51. ^ "Astronomy Club". Facebook.
  52. ^ "国民娱乐". Archived from the original on December 6, 2014.
  53. ^ "Home".
  54. ^ "TEDxAUC Official Website".
  55. ^ "Housing". The American University in Cairo. 2015-03-31. Archived from the original on 2016-05-14. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  56. ^ Bloomberg’s latest primetime show from the Dubai International Financial Centre (15 June 2016). "Yousef Gamal El-Din Joins Bloomberg Television As New Anchor Of 'Bloomberg Markets: Middle East'". Bloomberg L.P.

External linksEdit