Tuesday, 13 October 2020

AUC COLLABORATES ON INTERNATIONAL DEVILAG PROJECT TO SUPPORT EGYPT'S RURAL COMMUNITY




October 13, 2020, Cairo – The Center for Applied Research on the Environment and Sustainability (CARES) at The American University in Cairo (AUC), in collaboration with Egyptian and European universities, as well as local public and private entities — is working on a three-year project, DeVilag, to support the Egyptian rural community. The project is co-funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union and includes introducing new courses in diverse topics such as sustainable agriculture and migration and development as part of
AUC’s graduate program in sustainable development. This semester, AUC offers a new course, Sustainable Agriculture, where students will learn how to efficiently increase food production, and a modified course, Global Changes and Sustainable Development.


Supporting Egypt in applying its Vision 2030 for sustainable development, the project focuses on the most vulnerable groups in underprivileged villages to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed for communities to move toward sustainable agriculture and reduce migration from rural areas. 


“Providing the Egyptian rural community with qualified graduates, university expertise, and training and consultation service offices improves agricultural productivity, enables more sustainable food production, develops poor villages and enhances farmers’ income and living conditions to limit mass migration to the cities,” said Hani Sewilam, professor at AUC’s Institute of Global Health and Human Ecology and founding director of CARES and the Graduate Program for Sustainable Development.


DeVilag includes the “modification and reorientation” of current postgraduate and undergraduate curricula at participating universities to ensure the implementation of sustainable rural development. In that context, AUC is introducing new courses on sustainable agriculture and migration patterns into its sustainable development graduate program during the 2020-2021 academic year. The new courses will also include Integrated Water Resources Management, where students will learn how to tackle water scarcity issues and address economic and social welfare with regard to water resources; Water-Energy-Food Nexus, where students will learn how to connect sustainable development with the concept of a water-energy-food nexus; and International Migration and Development, offered in collaboration with AUC’s Center for Migration and Refugee Studies, where students will delve into the relationship between migration and development.


“The newly added courses will train graduates in land management practices relevant to Egypt, giving them an edge and providing them with the opportunity to better serve their communities through sustainable rural development –– a first-of-its-kind initiative in the region,” said Sewilam.

The project also includes Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), capacity-building programs to train faculty members in Egyptian universities in addressing the different facets of sustainable agriculture and rural development, and the establishment of a DeVilag service office at four Egyptian universities to provide technical support and information sessions for farmers and the public and private sectors.


Ranked by Eduniversal in 2019 as the top master’s program in Africa (green technologies concentration), the Master of Science in sustainable development is an interdisciplinary program combining the expertise of different academic schools at AUC: School of Business, School of Sciences and Engineering, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and School of Humanities and Social Sciences. It covers four tracks of study: Green Technologies, Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Cities and Sustainable Communities. 


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