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TU Berlin in El Gouna: Opening Ceremony of the First Academic Year

Friday, 26. October 2012

Matriculation certificates presented to first students

Technische Universität Berlin's new campus was officially inaugurated in El Gouna, Egypt on October 28, 2012. It took only six short years to complete this transnational project, from its inception to the inauguration of a brand-new campus. TU Berlin is now the first German university to operate a campus in Egypt wholly on the basis of the quality criteria of the Federal Republic of Germany. This was made possible by choosing the requisite legal form for the campus as a Central Institute of TU Berlin. Three advanced TU Berlin Master programmes are now offered in El Gouna: "Energy Engineering", "Water Engineering" and "Urban Development". The entire project has been realised with monies donated by the benefactor, co-initiator and TU graduate Samih Sawiris. The property and infrastructure were made available by Orascom Development Holding AG (ODH), which was established by Samih Sawiris.

Participants in the opening ceremonies from the German delegation included the German Ambassador to Egypt Michael Bock, Vice President of the Berlin House of Representatives Anja Schillhaneck, and Berlin's State Secretary for Science and Research Nicolas Zimmer, and the President of TU Berlin. Klaus Wowereit, Berlin's Governing Mayor, has sent a message of greeting. The Egyptian delegation included high-level government officials such as Foreign Minister of Egypt Mohamed Kamel Amr, the Secretary General of the Arab League Al-Arabi, the Minister of Scientific Research Dr. Nadia Zakhary, and governor of the Red See Region General Mohamed Mohamed Kamel, who all voiced unreserved praise for the new TU Campus.

During the opening ceremonies TU Berlin President Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Steinbach and Mr. Samih Sawiris personally presented the first 30 students with their matriculation certificates.

For further information, videos and photo gallery of the TU Campus in El Gouna see: http://www.campus-elgouna.tu-berlin.de/ and www.tu-berlin.de/?id=126306

Quotes

Michael Bock, German Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt:
"The commencement of studies at the TU Campus El Gouna is a further important step in the long tradition of close cooperation between Egypt and Germany in the areas of science and education. Our partnership dating back more than a century has now brought about a forward-looking project that can contribute to the development of a "new Egypt". Graduates of the offered degree programmes will be able to actively address the future challenges facing both our countries and beyond, and thereby strengthen Egypt as a location for important research.“

Klaus Wowereit, Governing Mayor of Berlin
“The official opening of the TU campus in El Gouna, Egypt, is a world premiere: TU Berlin is the first German university to establish a campus abroad that meets all of the technical and legal requirements of universities in Germany. On behalf of the Berlin Senate, I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to all of the people and institutions involved in this remarkable achievement. This landmark event is clear evidence of the power of education and educational transfer to unite people across borders; it also underscores Berlin’s internationality as a city of science and learning. Berlin is very proud of this ambitious project.”

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Steinbach, President of TU Berlin:
"The new TU Campus El Gouna is contributing greatly to the internationalisation and educational strategies of TU Berlin. Thanks to the tremendous and far-sighted commitment of our graduate Samih Sawiris, we have been able to build an exemplary bridge between Germany and Egypt – indeed one that spans both countries and cultures. We are proud of this achievement and we are happy that − through our combined efforts − we were able to successfully complete this project. The official opening ceremony to be held on October 28 represents a milestone and is indeed a special occasion, both for our university, for our first class of students, and for the involved researchers. I envision a lively campus, where contented students and faculty work together in conducting valuable research."

Samih Sawiris, Member of the Board of Trustees, Sawiris Foundation
Samih Sawiris underscored the significance of the fact that Egyptian students now have access to the same high quality education as their counterparts in Germany: "German engineers enjoy excellent reputations around the world, and Egyptian students will now also be able to profit from such high-quality education standards."


Prof. Dr. Rudolf Schäfer, TU Berlin, Founding Director of the Central Institute TU Campus El Gouna:
"Students now have access to excellent study conditions in El Gouna: beautiful new buildings, modern laboratories, intensive support from, and communication with their teachers. The thematic spectrum of the three Master programmes Water, Energy and Urban Development also reflect the key future-oriented tasks facing Egypt and the MENA region. We will continue to dedicate our efforts to quickly developing the TU Campus El Gouna into an important location for research, and to contribute to the sustainable development of our regional and local neighbourhoods."

Impetus for exemplary "Education transfer"

The realisation of such exemplary education transfer to the Red Sea is primarily due to the vision of TU graduate and entrepreneur Samih Sawiris. Samih Sawiris studied Industrial Engineering at TU Berlin from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s. The original idea was developed in 2006 by the Egyptian entrepreneur and then TU President Prof. Dr. Kurt Kutzler. Samih Sawiris' unflagging commitment and generous contributions to the overall financing was the main feature of this project. In El Gouna, in close cooperation with the university he put together a non-profit public private partnership (PPP) in order to establish a 10,000-square meter branch of the TU. Facilities include laboratories, lecture halls and main auditorium. ODH is responsible for maintaining and operating the building infrastructures.

Legal frameworks

As a branch of TU Berlin, the TU Campus El Gouna is wholly subject to German University Law. An accord reached between the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education, the Academic Administration of the Berlin Senate and TU Berlin made it possible to apply Berlin University Law in Egypt and to adopt the privileges and goals of the German-Egyptian Cultural Agreement of 1960, and ancillary agreement of 1984 and Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement between Germany and Egypt since 1981. The academic bases of the three degree programmes were modelled on the standards developed for university education and adopted by the European education ministers in 1999 in Bologna, and also approved by Berlin Senator for Education. Students are enrolled at TU Berlin according to German law, and as such have full TU student status. Teachers and researchers are subject to German work and salary laws, in addition to TU Berlin collective agreements. A corresponding cooperation agreement between TU Berlin and the Egyptian firm Orascom guarantees TU Berlin the university's academic and administrative independence.

The TU Campus El Gouna is administered by the Central Institute El Gouna of TU Berlin. It enjoys all the functions of a university faculty, and as such has jurisdiction over the most important academic decisions. Initially, the campus will create 30 new jobs.

Three advanced Master programmes

These four-semester advanced Master courses are fee-based engineering science degree programmes leading to a Master of Science. The first 30 students have already enrolled at TU Berlin for the winter term 2012/13. They come from Egypt, South Africa, India, China and Bangladesh. A total of 20 scholarships have been awarded. Thirty on-campus apartments are available for TU Berlin students.

The main emphasis of the degree programmes and the planned research priorities of the Central Institute focus on the specific challenges facing the Near/Middle East and North Africa region. The rapid growth of the Egyptian population (1.3 million people each year) requires that new geographical areas be developed to house the country's people. The essential prerequisites here are sustainable water and energy supplies. Graduates of the three degree programmes will be particularly well qualified to actively shape approaches to generating energy from renewable sources such as the sun and wind, in addition to securing water supplies through desalinisation and recycling schemes. Key issues such as how to design rural and urban infrastructures will be addressed in context of urban development and planning endeavours.

Academic deans have already been designated for the degree programmes: for "Energy Engineering“ Prof. Dr. Felix Ziegler (area of expertise: Machine and Plant Engineering); for "Urban Development" Prof. Dr. Rudolf Schäfer (area of expertise: Building Law and Real Estate Management); and for "Water Engineering" Prof. Dr. Uwe Troeger (area of expertise: hydrogeology). In addition to acquiring professional skills, overarching academic goals are also pursued in all three Master degrees: interdisciplinarity, sustainability and resource conservation, team skills, in addition to intercultural management competencies. Seventy-five percent of study courses are taken in Egypt and all students will spend their second semester at the "mother university" in Berlin. Tuition fees amounting to 5000 Euro per semester will be levied. Scholarships are available for students. Beyond the three Master programmes, future plans call for additional Master degrees, Doctoral programmes, regional research and continuing education programmes for managers from the region, in addition to conferences.

In keeping with the ongoing transformation process in Egypt and the region, and in line with the goals of the German-Egyptian Cultural Agreement, TU Berlin is purposely underscoring the importance of this location as its permanent representation in the promotion of cultural dialogue between the Arab world and Germany.

El Gouna - Centre of learning excellence

The new branch of TU Berlin was established as a private institution by Samih Sawiris, an Egyptian TU alumnus and is located in the city of El Gouna with its 22,000 inhabitants. The entrepreneur purchased the property situated about 22 kilometres north-west of Hurghada in 1990. He has since developed around 37 square kilometres of desert into a 'lagoon landscape' for tourism (El Gouna). In addition to 15 Hotels and 2500 private buildings, there is now a hotel school, international high school leading to university entrance qualifications, a school of nursing, and branches of the American University Cairo and Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The new TU Campus is located near to these two educational facilities.

For further information, videos and photo gallery of the TU Campus in El Gouna see: http://www.campus-elgouna.tu-berlin.de/ and www.tu-berlin.de/?id=126306

For further information on degree programmes: http://www.campus-elgouna.tu-berlin.de/menue/master_s_degree_programs/parameter/en/

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For further information please contact:

Stefanie Terp
Press Relations
Technische Universität Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0)30 314-23922

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