Dubai: The American University in Cairo (AUC) has awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the Abdullah Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) and CEO of Mashreq Bank.
The degree is in recognition of “his dedication to transforming the educational landscape and providing learning opportunities for deserving students throughout the Arab world”.
Al Ghurair received the honorary degree during the commencement ceremony of AUC undergraduate students, in the presence of 4,000 people, including 634 graduates and their families, the AUC board of trustees, president, cabinet and faculty, as well as representatives from government, the private sector and philanthropy.
In his commencement address, Al Ghurair expressed his gratitude to AUC for rewarding him the degree. He also congratulated the students for earning a high-quality undergraduate degree.
He said: “Each and every one of the students we are celebrating today is now our region’s most important resource, our strongest defence and, ultimately, our future’s greatest hope.”
Al Ghurair shared his personal and professional experience with the graduating class and urged them to challenge the status quo and embrace change in the world of work.
Commenting on the partnership between AGFE and AUC, he thanked the AUC president and board for opening the university’s doors to welcome AGFE students from Egypt and other Arab countries. “We share the same vision that philanthropic foundations, education institutions and others can and must come together to open access to education to those who need it the most.”
Al Ghurair’s visit to AUC included a private meeting with Dr Tarek Galal Shawki, Egypt’s Minister of Education and Technical Education. They discussed key topics on the agenda of higher education.
Maysa Jalbout, CEO of AGFE, said: “We are committed to helping governments and academic institutions in the Arab region by investing in innovation and capacity development. This is why we are exploring the potential role of technology and working with some of the best universities in the world. For example, we are working with MIT, a global leader in online learning, to make high-quality education accessible to as many Arab students as possible. Together, we developed a capacity building programme for universities in online learning, which is currently being implemented at the American University in Cairo and the American University of Beirut — two leading universities in the Arab world.”
During his visit to AUC, Al Ghurair met with 40 students from the first and second cohort of Al Ghurair STEM scholars who are currently studying at AUC or will start soon. AUC is on track to have 100 Al Ghurair STEM scholars from Egypt and countries across the Arab world by September 2017.