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USAID and Cairo University Establish Center of Excellence for Agriculture with UC Davis, and Purdue, Cornell and Michigan State Universities

Guided by the ambitious goals of Egypt’s strategic plan for development, Egypt Vision 2030, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on April 2 launched a five-year, $30 million cooperative project with Cairo University and four U.S. land-grant universities to create a Center of Excellence for Agriculture in the Faculty of Agriculture at Cairo University.

The Center of Excellence for Agriculture (COEA) will work in concert with two additional recently launched Centers of Excellence focused on water and energy.

The COEA aims to work with Egyptian universities to build higher education program that will equip Egyptian agriculture faculty and students with the tools to make an immediate impact in Egyptian agriculture as research scientists, employees, policy-makers or innovators. 

The new center is led by Cornell University and Cairo University with three U.S. land-grant universities spearheading different COEA initiatives. Purdue University will lead programs in instructional innovation and curriculum development, University of California, Davis will lead programs in high quality, applied research, and Michigan State University will lead efforts in human capital development. Sathguru Management Consultants will work with Egyptian universities to facilitate technology transfer and commercialization of university research products.

“Purdue Agriculture is honored to collaborate with our colleague colleges of agriculture to contribute to this important project. Purdue Agriculture conducts research and extension outreach programs throughout the world as part of our commitment to build a robust international agricultural economy and to work together to feed the world,” said Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture at Purdue.

“We are pleased to be the lead institution in Egypt. These initiatives will prepare our faculty and students to thrive in Egypt’s growing economy,” said Mohamed Othman El-Khosht, president of Cairo University. “This center of excellence will develop innovative, transformative, and industry-validated curricula, and will also enhance our students’ approach to research, their opportunities to develop partnerships with private industry and how they can innovate and stimulate the Egyptian agricultural sector.”

Amr Ahmed Moustafa, dean of Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University, said: “Our agricultural education system will benefit greatly from this collaboration with USAID and American land-grant universities.”

Paul Ebner, professor of animal sciences in Purdue’s College of Agriculture, is leading Purdue’s involvement in the partnership.

Ebner explains Purdue’s involvement and motivation: “Like all countries, Egypt faces numerous current and emerging challenges in agriculture. Purdue is building on their experience both in the U.S. and abroad, to work with Egyptian faculty to develop higher education curricula that directly respond to those challenges. The project is highly integrated across its initiatives, which will allow us to facilitate the types education and student experiences that ensure what students learn is highly applicable and extends well beyond the classroom. Our goal is to work with our Egyptian counterparts to develop workforce-ready and innovative students who can make an immediate impact on Egyptian agriculture upon graduation.”