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A premier university for the nation’s future

Article - June 5, 2015

Outstanding facilities and top-flight faculty characterize Future University, Egypt, owned by the Azazy Group, who also has plans for Egypt’s first Knowledge City

As the Arab World’s most populous country and an important contributor to the foundation of modern civilization, Egypt has always played a special role in leading the Middle East and spreading its values across the world, with its educational and cultural institutions showing the way forward. In recent years however, the country’s educational institutions have struggled to meet the country’s needs. More than 80% of Egyptian males can read and write, according to official statistics, in contrast to the more than one-third of the country’s females who do not share this same level of attainment.

Recent statistics show that the problem may be growing worse. Illiteracy rates in some schools are as high as 80%, according to a recent survey by CARE Egypt, an NGO that works closely with the federal Ministry of Education. Though it has a population of more than 82 million with a median age of just 25, Egypt spends under 4% of its GDP on education, compared to more than 6% in the UK and 5.4% in the United States, according to official statistics. More than one-quarter of youths under 25 in Egypt are unemployed, a figure distorted by the more than 54% of women in this age group who do not work.

Future University, Egypt (FUE)

Established in 2006 by the Azazy Group, Future University, Egypt (FUE) has taken on the task of reinvigorating the country’s higher educational system with an innovative approach that incorporates the best practices and standards from leading institutions from around the world. Located in Cairo, FUE provides a unique learning environment and utilizes cutting-edge technology to provide students with a modern learning experience and English language instruction. The university is the brainchild of the late Dr. Hassan Azazy, an educational pioneer who devoted his career to bringing reform to Egypt’s educational system.

A recognized figure in Europe, Dr. Azazy’s educational enterprises began with the establishment of a local school in 1960 followed by several other schools in 1967. He went on to found a total of seven private schools of various specialties throughout Egypt. While establishing and managing schools, Dr. Azazy also served as a member of the Supreme Council of High Institutes and of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. In addition, he served as chairman of Private School Industries and the Educational Centres Society’s Owners in Egypt.

In the private sector, he represented the interests of private school owners in the Central Committee of Private Education at the Ministry of Education and the Cairo Private Education Committee, as well as serving on the Private Education Committee of the Ministry of Education. In recognition of his long body of work dedicated to improving education in Egypt, Dr. Azazy was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2008.

These experiences ultimately led Dr. Azazy to create an entirely new kind of educational institution in Egypt. A powerful advocate for excellence in teaching and research, Dr. Azazy founded Future University and served as its first Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He helped instill in the university the spirit of free exchange of ideas and the constant struggle for the improvement of the individual and society that it embodies today.

“Azazy Group has been a leader in education since 1958 when my father started a private school,” explains current Future University Chairman & CEO Khaled Azazy. “Since then, 14 primary and secondary schools have been built with the Azazy name. The university was founded in 2006 and experienced unprecedented growth, even through the revolution. FUE targets partnerships with international universities, especially in the USA. We are approved as an institution with a quality of education similar to the United States and United Kingdom. If a local or an international student here in Egypt is looking for education with these standards, it is available through Azazy Group’s various institutions.” Under the umbrella of the Azazy Group, Future University, Egypt is clearly on the path to creating the highest international standards for its students.

“The facilities are actually outstanding, both in terms of the building and the equipment, supplies and everything you need to provide a first-class education,” says a professor and dean at Case Western Reserve University.

“They brought great faculty here and on top of that they put labs and training areas that are as good as anywhere in the world,” says the President of the University of New Mexico.

“I can tell you FUE is an exceptional institution. It has high quality facilities and a good administration. I’ve been very impressed with the quality of students that are attending as well as the quality of the faculty that are giving instruction,” emphasizes a professor from the Faculty of Environmental Engineering, Missouri University.

“[There’s a] commitment to excellence here that you don’t see at a lot of universities,” says the president of Wright State University. “It’s a commitment to be the very best in every aspect they can be.”

Its success in bringing international standards into the Egyptian system has garnered attention not only inside the country, but has also attracted students from around the globe. “The Azazy Group has over 20,000 students. Almost 20% of our students are foreign or international students from countries like the U.S., Canada, Nigeria and other Arab states,” Mr. Azazy points out. To help further this mission, he is planning an ambitious expansion. “It is my dream to build a Knowledge City in Egypt,” he adds. “The project will be around the Suez corridor. The future of Egypt is moving in that direction. We are developing new areas and this is one of them.”

Egypt’s education sector creates and serves the largest workforce in the Middle East and North Africa and is ripe with investment opportunities, according to a government assessment. Its leaders are looking to institutions from abroad and the private sector to help the country build up its capacity, from private education to public-private partnerships for K-12 schooling, private university and technical/vocational education and corporate training programs. As part of this effort, Egypt launched the Egyptian Education Initiative (EEI) in concert with the World Economic Fund. The EEI has brought together educators with leaders of some of the world’s leading IT firms, including HP, Cisco, Oracle, IBM and Siemens, to support education reform through the innovative use of communication and information technology tools.

Azazy Group building a Knowledge City

In line with this effort, the Azazy Group’s Knowledge City will occupy approximately 200 acres on the outskirts of Cairo near Badr City and will be a modern educational establishment catering to Egypt’s ever-increasing need for a higher education system that meets top international standards. Located in close proximity to Cairo International Airport, the Suez Canal as well as the Red Sea, its planners envisage the creation of up to four universities, each comprising four colleges, in order to meet the educational demand in this heavily populated and underserved area. Based on studies of the population’s needs, Knowledge City will focus on information technology, engineering, science, finance, medicine, economics, environmental studies, political science and law as well as the tourism and hospitality industries.

The Azazy Group plans to build a centralized library and research center as well as specialized individual research labs, student and faculty accommodations and services including food courts, banks, post offices, a gymnasium, a theater and an opera house, as well as consultancy offices and conference rooms for private sector partners. “Knowledge City is currently in negotiation with our partners and will be fully operational in four to five years. Definitely by 2020,” Mr. Azazy assures.