Gerhart Center Brings Community-based Learning Programs to Public Universities


With the aim of promoting community-based learning and civic participation in Egyptian universities, Gerhart Center plans to conduct a series of CBL workshops for faculty members in Assiut University, Minia University and South Valley University. The first of these workshops took place in July at Minia, while the second targeted staff at Assiut University.

The workshops were aimed at clarifying basic concepts and terms, highlighting the importance of integrating community-learning into curriculums, identifying different community-learning strategies, developing the capacity for design of community-based learning programs, providing strategies for partnerships to activate community learning and developing assessment methods for each and every student that it’s provided to.

This initiative comes within the framework of the Ma'an Arab University Alliance for Civic Engagement. Established in 2008 in collaboration with the global Talloires Network, the alliance aims to bring together universities in Arab countries under the collective goal of encouraging and enhancing civic engagement implementation in higher education and supporting the exchange of best practices. Gerhart Center is currently hosting the secretariat of Ma’an Alliance.

It bears mentioning that Ma’an — in partnership with Hemma, Assiut University’s technology-based incubator — also designed workshops for students during July 2017. Ma’an and Hemma are supporting students in applying what they learn in classes to establish technology-based social and environmental enterprises that solve real problems in Assiut and Upper Egypt on the whole. Through this initiative, students interacted with local communities to understand needs, opportunities and resources, as well as develop participative business models and community-funding mechanisms for the sustainability of their projects.

The John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy, Civic Engagement and Responsible Business promotes social change in the Arab region through building a culture of effective giving and civic responsibility. In addition to disseminating research and policy papers, the center strives to build capacity for leadership among Arab youth through enhancing their ability to become more civically engaged. These goals are pursued with an array of partners in the academic, civic and corporate sectors, both within the region and internationally. Established in 2006, the center aims to further the American University in Cairo's (AUC) mission to advance social responsibility and active citizenship.