Prof. Dr. Ashraf Mansour
Polymer physicist, founder of the German University in Cairo (GUC)
DAAD Scholarship 1988–1992
The founder of the German University in Cairo (GUC), Professor Ashraf Mansour, is absolutely clear about what the university, set up in line with the German model in 2003, aims to achieve: "Research and teaching go hand in hand here. Students learn analytical thinking and problem solving. We need people like these so that we can drive forward the development process in our country." The Egyptian DAAD scholarship holder completed his doctorate in polymer physics in 1992 at the University of Ulm, where he later also received his habilitation, his postdoctoral professorial qualification. "On my return to Cairo, I would ideally have liked to have taken the University of Ulm with me," says the scientist. The atmosphere in his doctoral supervisor's research group was extraordinarily inspiring. "The intensive exchange of information between the 40 scientists and the way in which research methods and experiments were very closely linked with theoretical models really impressed me."
When I returned to Cairo, I would ideally have liked to have taken the University of Ulm with me.
The GUC was opened outside the gates of Cairo in 2003. In order to transform his idea into reality, Mansour had not only ensured the construction of an entirely new technological university in New Cairo and raised around 15 million euros from Egyptian sponsors, but also enlisted the academic support of the universities of Stuttgart and Ulm. They brought along their German curricula and provided technical assistance in building and setting up the labs. The DAAD funded the project with around 600,000 euros as part of its Export of German Degree Courses programme. The DAAD and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation are also supporting numerous study and research stays by students, scholars and researchers from the GUC.
Today the GUC has roughly 10,000 students in the fields of engineering, applied natural sciences and technologically oriented management. In 2011 the GUC opened an office in Berlin, and since 2012 it has maintained a Berlin campus to promote academic exchange. In 2008 Ashraf Mansour received the Federal Cross of Merit. He is now responsible for the future course of the GUC as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and is honorary senator of the University of Ulm.