German University in Cairo: 20th anniversary ceremony
Continuing the German-Egyptian success story

Ulm University

The German University in Cairo (GUC) is considered the most successful German transnational educational institution. Now the GUC celebrates a double anniversary: 20 years ago, the university was established in Cairo following the example of the educational institutions in Baden-Württemberg. In addition, this year is the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin GUC Campus. The partner universities in Ulm, Stuttgart, and Tübingen and other high-ranking well-wishers celebrated this success at a festive event in Berlin on September 7.

The German University in Cairo turns 20! During this time, the binational university has developed excellently: Today, the GUC is the largest German transnational educational institution worldwide. There are now more than 12,000 students enrolled in over 100 study programs. The relationship with partner universities in Baden-Württemberg, such as those in Ulm, Stuttgart and Tübingen, is close: Collaborations range from joint academic projects to the exchange of students and young researchers to joint online courses. With the support of the medical faculty of Ulm University, a Faculty of Medicine is currently being established in Cairo.

This 20-year success story has now been celebrated with a ceremony on the Berlin GUC Campus. “With the foundation of the German University in Cairo I realized a vision: An outstanding center of research and teaching was to be established in Cairo following the example of the German model. Fortunately, this daring idea found supporters – with the universities in Ulm and Stuttgart leading the way. The German-Egyptian partners put their heart and soul into building the GUC. After 20 years, it is now time to look proudly at what has been achieved and plan for the future,” said Professor Ashraf Mansour on the occasion of the anniversary. The founder and chairman of the GUC board of trustees completed his doctoral degree and his habilitation at Ulm University as a holder of a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). It was a special concern of Prof. Mansour to transfer the unity of research and teaching practiced in Ulm to the newly founded university in Cairo.

“On behalf of the entire Ulm University, I extend my heartfelt congratulations on the 20th anniversary. Through trusting cooperation, courage, respect, and a willingness to take risks, we have succeeded in establishing the German University in Cairo: A university that has committed itself to the Humboldtian model of higher education, which promotes freedom in research and teaching. Ulm University wants to continue the partnership with the GUC in the future and contribute to the solution of global challenges in joint research projects – in line with the university’s mission statement: ‘Crossing Borders’,” emphasized Professor Michael Weber, President of Ulm University. The German partner universities benefit, in particular, from outstanding Egyptian students and young researchers in the STEM subjects, who write their Bachelor’s or Master’s thesis in Baden-Württemberg or undertake doctoral degree studies there.

Welcome addresses were also given by the Rector of the University of Stuttgart, Professor Wolfram Ressel, the DAAD Secretary General, Dr. Kai Sicks, and Vito Cecere from the Federal Foreign Office.

“20 years of the German University in Cairo, 10 years of the GUC Campus in Berlin, and 70 years of German-Egyptian relations: Actually, we are celebrating three anniversaries today. By now, the GUC has become a driving force of the binational partnership: The transnational educational institution contributes significantly to the visibility of Germany as a research location in Egypt and beyond. For this, I thank Professor Ashraf Mansour and all those who helped write this success story,” said Dr. Jens Brandenburg, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), at the anniversary ceremony. Earlier, the Egyptian Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Hala El-Said, addressed the festive community with an online message. Other speakers included the Egyptian ambassador to Germany, Khaled Galal Abdelhamid, and Uwe Brockhausen, who is the mayor of Berlin-Reinickendorf. In this district, the GUC opened its campus 10 years ago: More than 7000 Egyptian students have already spent time abroad here.

The program was complemented by several award ceremonies as well as a panel discussion (“Science as Diplomacy of Trust”). Panelists included the Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Dr. Enno Aufderheide, the German ambassador to Egypt, Frank Hartmann, representatives of the Federal Foreign Office and the German Research Foundation (DFG), the President of Ulm University, and the Rector of the University of Stuttgart. The panelists quickly agreed that the close partnership with the GUC is to be continued and expanded in the future on an equal footing, and that digitalization and interdisciplinary research offer new opportunities. The next German-Egyptian anniversary will be celebrated as early as October: 70 years ago, bilateral relations between the two countries were established.

About the German University in Cairo

The German University in Cairo was established in 2002 on the initiative of the physics professor Ashraf Mansour. Today, more than 12600 young people are studying at 8 faculties – ranging from the engineering sciences to technically oriented management to pharmacy. Thus, 40 percent of all students at a German educational institution abroad are enrolled at the GUC.

The admission process for prospective students is highly selective. In return, up to 85 percent of enrollees receive a GUC scholarship. So far, more than 22,600 graduates have successfully completed their studies – almost half of them are women. The industrial park on the GUC campus in Cairo, where German companies such as Trumpf, Zeiss, or FESTO are located, guarantees accessibility to industry and business.

Study programs at the GUC are taught in English. To facilitate the exchange, however, students take mandatory German courses. During the past 20 years, more than 12,300 Egyptian students had the opportunity to visit Germany – almost 4000 of them even wrote their Bachelor’s thesis at a German partner university. Besides the GUC campus in Berlin, there have been the GUC Office in Ulm as well as DAAD project coordinators in Ulm, Tübingen, and Stuttgart since 2007. In addition, there is a GUC guest house in Ulm. The establishment of the German University in Cairo was funded, in particular, by the BMBF, the Ministry for Science, Research and Art in Baden-Württemberg (MWK), Ulm University and the University of Stuttgart as well as the Egyptian Ministry of Education. The German embassy in Cairo and the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce were also involved.

Text and mediacontact: Annika Bingmann
Translation: University of Stuttgart

Friends and associates of the German University in Cairo were honored on the occasions of the 20th GUC anniversary and the 10th anniversary of the Berlin GUC campus (photo: Christian Linck,
Prof. Ashraf Mansour (1st row, 2nd from left) founded the GUC 20 years ago. At the anniversary ceremony, congratulators included Dr. Jens Brandenburg, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the President of Ulm University, Prof. Michael Weber (1st row, 3rd and 4th from left) (photo: Christian Linck)
Former and current supporters of the GUC (from left): Prof. Karl Joachim Ebeling, Former President of Ulm University, Prof. Dieter Fritsch (Former Rector of the University of Stuttgart), Prof. Michael Weber, President of Ulm University, GUC founder Prof. Ashraf Mansour as well as Prof. Wolfram Ressel, Rector of the University of Stuttgart (photo: Ulm University)