The American University in Cairo (AUC) and the University of Seoul (UOS) in South Korea recently signed a partnership agreement, mutually expanding their group of international partner universities.
AUC President Francis Ricciardone welcomed University of Seoul President Yun-hi Won, accompanied by senior staff and researchers.
Ricciardone highlighted the commonalities between both institutions, noting that the University of Seoul celebrates its centennial this year, one year ahead of the AUC's own.
“The University of Seoul is a global university and has an active and advanced international partners program,” Ricciardone said.
“What we’re doing today fits right in, precisely, with who we are and what we’re trying to do," he said.
Echoing Ricciardone’s sentiments, Won asserted the need for global educational expansion through learning, with students at the center of that objective.
“In this globalized and interconnected world, it’s important to give such opportunities to our students, to host international students and allow them to experience other cultures,” the UOS president said. “This cooperation will enhance both universities and give them a chance to develop.”
The University of Seoul is the only public university in Korea.
It boasts eight undergraduate colleges and nine graduate schools, and is chiefly funded by the Seoul City Government.
Both universities, Won mentioned, are situated in capital cities, and face similar obstacles as up-and-coming centers.
“We have been recently focusing on issues of transportation, public health and the environment,” Won noted, adding “I hope we can share our experiences and find solutions together."
Both universities have also gone through major economic and political changes at different times, using their campuses to their advantage by offering studies and promoting research in relation to industrial and social development.
Jean Song, senior programme coordinator at UOS, presented on one of the institution's strongest schools and areas.
“UOS specializes in urban sciences, particularly through the graduate school, which was established in 2014 by the [Korean] Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport,” she said. “After the Korean war in the 1950s, the city of Seoul changed dramatically."
"Many of the students who come here for a master’s program or other specialized studies in urban studies get the firsthand experience and research of seeing how the city developed and continues to develop," she explained.
On the other hand, AUC’s Associate Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management Ahmed Tolba highlighted the consistent prestigious accreditations earned by various schools and programs, such as the core curriculum, the Center for Learning and Teaching, the career center and Arabic language centers.
He also stressed that the location of the AUC's campus is one of its strengths, offering a one-of-a-kind experience of witnessing urban development.
“Our curriculum here loves having Cairo as an extension of the classroom, where all students can study the city’s social and cultural changes in many disciplines," he added.
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