Professor Brigitta Schütt, a vice president of Freie Universität Berlin, and Professor Lisa Anderson, provost of the American University in Cairo, signed an agreement to expand cooperation between the two universities in all subject areas. Freie Universität and the American University in Cairo are already partners in the EU Tempus project “Enterprise University Partnership” (EUPART) that provides for the establishment of technology centers at four Egyptian universities. In addition, a jointly organized summer school on gender studies and sociology was already held in Cairo. Currently, until December 16, 2010, professors and doctoral students from Freie Universität are in Cairo attending a winter school “Zukunftsphilologie: Revisiting the Canons of Textual Scholarship” that was jointly organized by the Berlin-based Forum Transregional Studies and AUC.
Founded in 1919, American University in Cairo is an important focal point for researchers at Freie Universität dealing with the Middle East region, such as in the subjects of Arabic studies, Islamic studies, political science, or archaeology. AUC has research-based teaching staff and a well-equipped library. It also plays an important part in the training of leaders in politics and society in Egypt and the Middle East. For a long time, AUC was the only private university in Egypt. Its teaching takes place following the example of liberal arts colleges in the United States, though most of its professors are from Egypt, the Middle East, and Europe.
Students from both universities will benefit from the agreement. Beginning with the fall/winter semester 2011/2012, up to four students who are accepted in each discipline will be able to participate in a direct exchange for up to two semesters. In addition to taking classes in their subject areas, the exchange students are permitted to take language courses without having to pay tuition fees in the host country.
Freie Universität is planning other partnerships in the region, in order to be part of the rapid transformation of higher education systems while simultaneously strengthening the university’s regional focus on the Middle East.