Two prominent leaders with backgrounds in education, international relations and social entrepreneurship have recently joined the Board of Trustees of the American University in Cairo (AUC). The new additions to the board, Nora Abousteit ’00, founder and CEO of social-crafting business CraftJam Inc, and Kristin Lord, president and CEO of the global development and education nonprofit IREX, bring diverse sets of skills to the board.
As an AUC alumna, Abousteit returns to her roots with her new position. German-born, fluent in German, Arabic and English, Abousteit graduated from AUC with a bachelors degree in Middle East studies and a minor in philosophy. She went on to pioneer the idea of “social crafting.” A social entrepreneur, she has previously founded online crafting communities with users numbering in the millions, including the world’s largest sewing network. She is the founder of Kollabora, an online community for DIY [Do It Yourself] projects and makers.
“Nora Abousteit is an enterprising young alumna whose business background and creativity will bring freshness and vitality to her work with the board,” said Richard Bartlett, chairman of AUC’s Board of Trustees.
Abousteit talks frequently about entrepreneurship, and her writing about life as a company founder has been featured in a number of publications. Abousteit is a member of the board of directors of The Door, which provides youth development services.
“My time at AUC was one of the most formative in my life,” said Abousteit. “It nurtured a great love of the institution and the people there, as well as a strong belief in the mission of AUC and my responsibility to help carry it forward.”
Kristin Lord, who received her MA and PhD in government from Georgetown University and her BA in international studies from the American University, Washington DC, previously served as acting president and executive vice president of the United States Institute of Peace, where she headed the launch of an online education platform, the creation of PeaceTech Lab and the expansion of programmes on Africa and South/Central Asia.
In her four-year stint as executive vice president and the director of studies at the Centre for a New American Security (CNAS), Lord served as editor-in-chief of more than 100 CNAS publications and wrote significant studies on topics such as diplomacy and development, cyber security and US global engagement. As a fellow at the Brookings Institution, she directed the science and technology initiative of the Project on US Relations with the Islamic World and authored studies on human development in the Arab world and US public diplomacy.
“Kristin Lord’s extensive experience working in development, with young people and directly with governmental leaders, makes her an excellent addition to the board,” said Bartlett. “Her background in education and her familiarity with the region will provide useful perspectives as the university charts its next 100 years.”
Lord has been in higher education before, with two associate dean positions at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. With an international affairs fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations, Lord also served as special adviser to the undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs from 2005 to 2006. She has also served as co-chair of the Alliance for International Youth Development, is a member of the board of directors for the US Global Leadership Coalition and a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
“I am truly honoured to join the Board of Trustees of AUC –– an institution devoted to preparing young people to contribute to an even brighter, more prosperous future for the people of Egypt, the region and the world,” Lord said.