Who we are

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, corporate social responsibility, and civic responsibility. In addition to disseminating research and policy papers, the center strives to build capacity for leadership among Arab youth and to enhance their ability to become more civically engaged, and positively impact society through social entrepreneurship, mentorship, and creativity. These goals are pursued with an array of national, regional and international partners in the academic, civil society and corporate sectors. Through fellowships, seminars, conferences, publications and digital platforms, the center is filling important information gaps and providing analysis of trends and critical issues in the field. The Center also seeks to develop the pool of next-generation scholars and to link them with social activists, donors, and philanthropy professionals.

The center was named after John D. Gerhart, the late president of AUC, whose career provided a model of public service. Established in 2006, the center aims to further The American University in Cairo's mission to advance social responsibility and active citizenship. The center prides itself on having a significant footprint in the region by introducing the field of ‘Philanthropy’ thus gradually building an academic discourse on philanthropy related research and unveiling opportunities for foundations and civil society to tap into philanthropy as a platform to instigate social impact and change. In tandem with, the center published its flagship book titled ‘From Charity to Social Change: Trends in Arab Philanthropy’ further anchoring its role as a driver of philanthropy in the region. The center has also introduced the concept of ‘community-based learning’ as a methodology that couples learning with serving the community.

To further capitalize on its social added value to AUC and the community at large, in 2014 the AUC business school became the umbrella under which the center is currently operating. With this strategic move the center has been provided with a supplementary gateway to an invaluable business knowledge base, and human capital. Once again, leading a new trend, the center is advocating to link philanthropy, civic engagement and responsible business practices through community initiatives, research and directly engaging the private sector. As such the Gerhart Center is now perceived as the developmental arm of the business school.


Our Vision and Mission


    A leading platform of interdisciplinary comparative research, youth leadership programs, and capacity building to enhance the culture & effectiveness of philanthropy, civic engagement & responsible business practices in the Arab region and Africa.


    Serve as a regional incubator for knowledge, responsible business practices, civic leadership, and capacity building to promote effective social responsibility.

    Aim of the Gerhart Center

    The center operates under its three themes of Philanthropy, Civic Engagement and Responsible Business in an effort to effectively serve and engage the society.

    We’re here to make an impact.

    We’re here to:

    • Build leadership capacity among Arab youth and enhance their abilities to advance social responsibility and active citizenship

    • Positively impact society through social entrepreneurship, mentorship and creativity by developing the pool of next-generation scholars

    • Link next-generation scholars to a network of social activists, donors and philanthropy professionals

    We know that to truly achieve these goals, we must extend our reach far beyond the resources, knowledge and technology within our immediate surroundings

    We reached far to be able to pursue our goals braced by the support of:

    • An array of national, regional and international partners in the academic, civil society and corporate sectors

    • A rich network of local communities, policy-makers, start-ups, foundations, enterprises and NGOs which integrate youth into a larger social fabric

    Thematic Areas

    • Philanthropy
    • Civic Engagement
    • Responsible Business


    • Linking between responsible citizens, civil society, as well as the private and public sector
    • ​​​​​​​Creating a collaborative platform for programs and research that promote civic engagement, philanthropy and responsible business


    • Respect
    • ​​​​​​​Transparency
    • Proactivity
    • ​​​​​​​Compassion, empathy and giving
    • Inclusion and participatory engagement