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Alumni Council: ‘Let’s All Put Our Hands Together’

The American University in Cairo's first Alumni Council will connect graduates worldwide.

By Aliah Salih, photos by Mohamed Fahmy | This story appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of AUCToday.

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Photo by Mohamed Fahmy.

AUC’s more than 38,000 alumni worldwide have always been a pillar of its global character and intellectual identity. To further strengthen this ever-expanding network, the University and a group of dedicated alumni have come together to establish AUC’s first Alumni Council.

A 15-member volunteer service body representing alumni worldwide, the Alumni Council will help foster communication between the University and its graduates, increase AUC’s global visibility and promote its strategic goals, as well as play a key role in the University’s yearlong centennial celebrations beginning in 2019. Mirroring the effectiveness of Ivy League alumni bodies, the Alumni Council will also build connections between well-established alumni, young graduates and students.

AUC’s alumni engagement team has selected nine founding members, serving two-year terms, based on their active record of volunteer participation in alumni activities and philanthropic support of the University. Founding members will begin their official term in Fall 2018. The remaining six council members will be elected next year, with their official term beginning in Fall 2019, also serving for two years.

Mohammed Ismail ’87, the Alumni Council’s first president, shares his goals and aspirations to connect AUC graduates in different parts of the world.

Ismail ‘87 is general manager and CEO of the Egyptian German Automotive Company and managing director and CEO of the Egyptian Kuwaiti Foundry. At AUC, he studied mechanical engineering and was president of the Student Judicial Board. After graduation, he headed the 1987 Class Chapter and founded the Facebook group “We of AUC Forever” since 2008. Using his vast network of friends, Ismail hosts events throughout the year — not only for his classmates, but for all AUC graduates. He received the Distinguished Alumni Volunteer Award in 2012 for his longstanding dedication and commitment to AUC. Ismail also served as a member of the AUC Parents Association board.

What is the Alumni Council? How did the idea start?

Mohammed Ismail: The Alumni Council is a small volunteer service body that represents AUC alumni worldwide. Its main objective is strengthening ties between AUC alumni, increasing awareness and participation, as well as preserving and promoting AUC’s rich heritage. The idea was initiated by some alumni and AUC’s alumni engagement team in order to give AUC graduates the chance to own their programs and increase networking to mutually benefit the University and its alumni.

Why is the council an important step for alumni worldwide?

Alumni are stakeholders of the University. The council will play a crucial role in impacting AUC’s future development. The Alumni Council will foster the educational, professional and social interests of our alumni by forming unbreakable ties that will be passed down to all future generations of AUC graduates. Our plan is to bring together and represent alumni’s wide-ranging and diverse views and contribute to building an engaged, interactive and supportive community suited to a world-class University like AUC.

What kind of model will this council set for other higher education institutions in the region?

The council will definitely give a strong message to higher education institutions in the region regarding the value and importance of their graduates because alumni involvement is a vote of confidence in any university’s mission. Alumni returning to support their alma mater bring with them credibility and justification — two crucial pillars for the success of universities in all parts of the world.

As president, what are your goals and aspirations for the first year?

I want to bring thousands of alumni volunteers together to work on various committees and engage as many of them as possible in the life of the University. I want to serve fellow alumni across the country and around the world in mutually beneficial ways.
I want to support all alumni initiatives, not just the council’s.

Ultimately, our aim is to further promote the goals of AUC — the University we all cherish.

What priorities will you focus on?

There seems to be a misconception, especially among younger alumni, that life at AUC ends after graduation. So one of our main focuses is to change this perception. We want to establish a two-way communication channel with alumni in order to guarantee a high level of engagement and support. We already held several meetings as a council, where we discussed a number of projects in the pipeline. All our projects will center on increasing alumni engagement and involvement with AUC, particularly among younger graduates.

What are you hoping to accomplish during your two-year term?

We as a council, specifically the founding members, hope to be able to leave a long-lasting mark through the projects we are currently working on. These ongoing projects will continue to serve the AUC community and all its future generations for years to come.

How can alumni connect with you and other members of the council?

There will be a direct channel through which alumni can communicate, connect and reach out. We are currently working with AUC’s alumni engagement team on several social media communication channels that will be announced shortly.

What will be the council’s role in AUC’s centennial celebrations?

We will be working closely with the alumni engagement team and the Alumni Engagement and Fundraising Task Force in organizing the festivities and events taking place to celebrate this joyous and memorable occasion. We’re calling on you — AUC alumni — to participate and volunteer. We need your ideas and efforts. We need you to preserve and promote the rich heritage and values of our alma mater.

What message do you want to convey to all alumni through the council?

We should all work together to benefit from the power of the AUC alumni network and, in turn, benefit the University. We want to build lifelong relationships that not only bring the alumni community together, but foster meaningful connections with AUC to share and learn from each other. Let’s all put our hands together — for AUC.

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