Monday,16 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1269, (5 - 11 November 2015)
Monday,16 July, 2018
Issue 1269, (5 - 11 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Ultimate recognition

The American University in Cairo is celebrating the accreditation of two graduate programmes at the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, reports Inas Mazhar

Al-Ahram Weekly

AUC’s Master’s of Public Administration and Master’s of Public Policy are the first two graduate programmes in the Middle East, and the third outside the United States, to receive accreditation from the Network Association of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). AUC is also the first institution outside the US with two accredited programmes from NASPAA.

NASPAA is a US-based association that includes nearly 300 schools of public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public and nonprofit management located in the US and 15 other countries.

NASPAA is recognised as the global accreditor of MA programmes in these fields, and is regarded as the “authoritative accrediting body in the field of public policy, affairs and administration.”

Ambassador Nabil Fahmi, dean of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP), on Sunday spoke of the importance of the recognition for AUC. “NASPAA’s accreditation of both MA programmes offered by the Department of Public Policy and Administration (PPAD), just five years after the founding of the School of GAPP, reflects the highest standards of academic recognition for these programmes.”

He continued, “It is a testimony to the unwavering commitment and professionalism of the faculty and administration at the departmental, school and university levels.”

Said Fahmi, “The Middle East remains at the epicentre of global political, economic and social interests, even as the region itself undergoes many formidable transformations. The region’s importance and the many challenges it faces have greatly increased the demand for well-qualified and highly committed individuals with the skills and determination to build a more promising future.”

Hamid Ali, an associate professor and PPAD chair, said the accreditation has raised the international profile of AUC’s public policy and public administration graduate programmes.

“It is proof of the quality of students the School of GAAP has attracted throughout the years. There are many to credit for this, including Youssef Jameel, whose generous Public Leadership Fellowship Programme targets students who would be able to take on leadership roles in the areas of public policy and administration in Egypt’s government and nonprofit sectors,” Ali told Al-Ahram Weekly.

“The Department of PPAD and the School of GAPP have now joined a diverse global network of more than 190 programmes to advance the agenda of public service and to build a better future for the people of Egypt and the region,” Ali said.

“The coming era of reform in Egypt and the Middle East is going to be an exciting process, but by no means an easy one. Students and policy professionals who are committed to change and can bring the right tools and knowledge to address the region’s challenges will find many doors open to them.

“These individuals may choose to work inside governments that are newly committed to change, as advisers, manager and innovators. Alternatively, they may join the burgeoning community of analysts and activists who are fostering new ideas and holding government responsible for its promises, or they may find that elective office at the local or national level offers them a chance to shape reform from the ground up.

“This means that more than commitment is required to acquire such positions. It requires the analytic and managerial skills that students gain in our programmes and develop by working on real-world problems with our faculty of experienced international professors.

“We are simply telling the world that despite the turbulence in our region, we are working to transform individuals for the common good. We will keep broadening our curricula and introducing a global perspective in order to present the Middle East and Africa’s narrative to the rest of the world.”

Ali told the Weekly how the school of GAPP achieved the accreditation. “NASPAA’s Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation visited AUC in April and held more than 35 meetings with faculty, students and alumni, as well as the dean of GAPP, the AUC president and provost.

“They inspected our records thoroughly to make sure we maintain a mechanism that supports faculty in teaching, research and student engagement. They are strict on the programme’s support and supervision of students.

Accordingly, the commission analysed evidence of student learning on the required competencies and used that evidence to guide programme improvement. It was a very intense institutional process, but was also a good opportunity to evaluate and assess the quality of our academic offerings, as well as improve our mechanics and deliverables.

“What this accreditation shows is that the six-year-old programmes have reached a level of maturity that puts them in a position on par with international, worldwide peer programmes,” Ali said.

“What is important is that the programmes have expanded research activities and outreach, improving the ability to meet the complex needs of Egypt and the region for excellence in public governance. By numbers of enrolled students, the programmes are now two of the largest graduate programmes on campus.”

PPAD alumni were thrilled when Fahmi broke the news of the accreditation. Fahmi, Egypt’s former foreign minister, was keen to address the alumni by sending each an e-mail that read: “I am delighted to report that AUC’s Master of Public Administration and the Master of Public Policy have recently been accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

“This is a real testament to the quality of education we offer at GAPP and the hard work and dedication of our faculty, staff and students. It assures that your degree has met a standard of quality that many employers look for when hiring. Whether you are a fresh graduate or if you graduated five or 10 years ago, this is something that you should definitely highlight in your curriculum vitae and among your colleagues and friends.”

Top state officials and dignitaries will celebrate the news with the school of GAPP’s faculty members, alumni and graduate students at the AUC campus in New Cairo. They will be hosted by AUC President Lisa Anderson and Ambassador Fahmi.

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