The Berlin State Secretary for Science and Research visiting the Cairo FU Berlin office

Dec 21, 2019

The State Secretary for Science and Research in Berlin, Mr. Steffen Krach, visited together with Dr. Kerstin Rothe - Advisor for Science and Research at the Berlin Senate Chancellery - the Cairo Liaison Office of Freie Universität Berlin.

On October 13, 2019, the State Secretary for Science and Research in Berlin, Mr. Steffen Krach, visited together with Dr. Kerstin Rothe - Advisor for Science and Research at the Berlin Senate Chancellery - the Cairo Liaison Office of Freie Universität Berlin. After a brief tour of the office and an exchange on the activities of the office, Mr. Krach together with Dr. Rothe and Hoda El Mahgoub, Head of the FU Berlin Cairo Office headed to a visit of the Cairo University.   

Freie Universität Berlin sealed its in-depth cooperation with the Cairo University already in 2009 with a Memorandum of Understanding. The Cairo University has more than 250 000 students and is considered one of the largest and most renowned universities of Egypt and the region. Since 2016 an Erasmus+ agreement has been set up between both universities to strengthen the student, teaching and training mobility between both institutions. After discussing the similarities and differences between the Egyptian and German Higher Education landscape, Prof. Zekri and Mr. Krach both agreed that the cooperation between the Cairo University and the Berlin universities should be intensified, especially as the Cairo University covers all disciplines and could be very interesting for the different Berlin universities.

There, the Vice President for Research of the Cairo University, Prof. Abdelrahman Zekri, and Dr. Heidi Bayoumi, Executive Director of international agreements at the international relations office warmly welcomed Mr. Krach and together they discussed the ongoing and successful cooperation with Freie Universität Berlin. 

The visit of the Cairo University was followed by a visit of the American University in Cairo. The American University in Cairo is the first university in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) to have established a direct student exchange program with Freie Universität Berlin. This agreement allows FU students to study at AUC (and vice versa) for one or two semesters.   

 Furthermore, over the years both universities have been cooperating in teaching and research. During their meeting, the President of the AUC, Mr. Francis J. Ricciardone, explained to Mr. Krach the values upon which the AUC was built upon as well as the plans of the university in regards to international students, specifically for those coming from Germany.

Since 2010 more than 40 students have benefitted from the student exchange program or the Erasmus mobility program and participated in this life changing experience. This feedback was also confirmed by the group of students that Mr. Krach met during his visit to the AUC: This group consisted of FU Berlin students that are currently attending a semester at the AUC as well as Egyptian students that have been attending a semester recently at FU Berlin. In an interesting discussion with the students state secretary Krach was informed about the parallels and differences between the German and American higher education system. Both student groups agreed on one thing: the stay abroad does not only include academic advantages but it also helps to overcome certain prejudices against the country through direct contact with the local students.

As a conclusion to the visit in Cairo, the state secretary confirmed that the level of cooperation with Egyptian universities shall be discussed among the Berlin universities to see to what extent the cooperation can intensified on the various possible levels.

Photocredit: Hoda El Mahgoub

 

 

 

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