Public school scholarship donors get together with AUC students
CAIRO: On Tuesday, for the first time in its history, the American University in Cairo (AUC) hosted a gathering to allow scholarship students to meet with their generous benefactors and donors.
“The aim of this event is to congratulate the students who received the Public School Scholarship Fund (PSSF) for their academic achievements and to thank the donors for their contribution to the education investment in Egypt, AUC president David Arnold told The Daily Star Egypt.
He said the event is an attempt to recognize the support of the donors, give them the chance to meet their students and realize how much of a difference the program has made in their lives.
Currently 74 AUC students are receiving the PSSF. The scholarship started with only 10 students and was implemented in the 1980s by former AUC President John Gerhart. Scholarship recipients must be graduates of Egyptian public schools with significant academic records as well as being from underprivileged families.
Asmaa El-Zohairy, a mass communications freshman and a (PSSF) recipient funded by Piraues Bank, says her colleagues discouraged her from applying for the scholarship, but her family pushed her to try.
“My sister encouraged me and I was very happy when I learned that I had been granted the PSSF. Although I applied to another Egyptian university before receiving the scholarship, I was sure AUC was the better chance that I’ve always dreamt of, says El-Zohairy, who achieved a perfect grade point average (GPA) of 4.0 in her third semester at AUC.
Rana Fikry, a business administration junior with a GPA of 3.8/4.0, says her years at AUC have greatly influenced her personality and ideology towards other people.
“The PSSF motivated me to gain the utmost experience from the chance of being at AUC. I learned how to express my ideas and acquire the skill of teamwork. My exposure to diverse nationalities and cultures taught me the uniqueness of each individual, says Fikry, the PSSF recipient sponsored by Crédit Agricole Egypt.
Barbara Ibrahim, director of the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civil Engagement, says three groups of donors contribute to the PSSF by financially supporting the finest groups of students.
“To volunteer to raise money is a mixed blessing. The first group of donors are corporations, which demonstrate their beliefs in the contribution to education and the future of Egypt . the second group is the individuals, who enable the students to have an impact on the community . the third group is the dedicated AUC faculty and staff, says Ibrahim.
According to Karima Ammar, associate director of the development office, Xerox, British Petroleum Egypt, Vodafone, Crédit Agricole, and Citibank are examples of corporations sharing in the PSSF.
She says, “Individuals and businessmen from Egypt, the Arab region and the United States also contribute to the program. They want to serve the country by helping those students to get an education at AUC, especially those having potential and of high academic standings.
Scheherasad Siepa, assistant to the CEO and head of external affairs at Piraeus bank, says the bank sponsors two encouraging and promising students at AUC.
“We got a four-year contract and we will want to meet our student on a regular basis. Continuing to encourage programs like this will set the platform and help the country, says Siepa.
Noha Sameh, the social management and relationship management coordinator of British Petroleum Egypt, says the company is sponsoring three AUC students, adding that it has been sharing in the scholarship program since 2003.
“Our social development program focuses on education. It is one of the most important areas where you can invest. It is a very good opportunity for the students to get exposed. It allows them the chance to develop their skills and abilities, says Sameh.
She says the funded students can be the company’s potential employees, adding that they are offered training opportunities in the summer recess.
The company funds the students in their postgraduate studies. She says, “We are helping one of the AUC funded graduates to study for her master’s degree at Cambridge University.
Moataz Al-Alfi, chairman of the Americana Group and a member of AUC’s board of trustees, is one of the individual donors sharing in PSSF.
“AUC graduates have been proven to be the best to work in Americana. This group of young best school graduates will have a very good future and change the face of the whole country, supporting it to the maximum, says Al-Alfi.