The American University in Cairo (AUC)


-About this partner

The American University in Cairo (AUC) is the region’s leading English-language University and a center of the social, political and cultural life of the Arab world. AUC is at the crossroads for the world’s cultures and a vibrant forum for reasoned argument, spirited debate and understanding across cultures.

The Middle East Institute for Higher Education (MEIHE) was established in 2010, as a complementary institution to the Graduate School of Education (GSE, est. in 2009), at AUC. MEIHE focuses on the development of teachers as empowered agents of change. It aims to strengthen the organic link between pre-university education and university education. Through its very mandate, MEIHE mediates between school based reform and the reform of faculties of education. It aims to align both strands of educational reform in the region. By focusing on the forward and backward linkages of higher education reform with an emphasis on teachers, the MEIHE aims to address education on many different levels such as research, capacity development, coordination and institutional building.

MEIHE aims at internationalizing higher education, specifically faculties of education through coordinating linkages, twining processes, collaborative research and exchange programs with other faculties of education across the world. MEIHE also aims at building the capacity of other institutions for higher education while supporting the creation of new centers, by using innovative concepts such as outreach, mentorship and the professional development of teachers. The institute places great importance on partnerships, both internal and external with global institutions to develop programs that empower teachers to become agents of change through their continuous professional development.

The Mission of MEIHE is: “To accompany educational reform in the region and render higher education relevant to school and classroom improvement.”

Role in the project

The role of MEIHE will be to design and oversee the implementation of the project while creating adequate management mechanisms. This project is particularly complex with diverse stakeholders in a very large educational system, which is highly centralized and hard to penetrate. Hence, the essential role of MEIHE, given its past track record and experience, is to bridge the gaps between the policy level and the implementation on the ground as well as coordinate and manage the complex relationships between the various stakeholders. This will entail a great deal of labor-intensive activities such as policy dialogue and advocacy at many levels, such as school leadership, local ministerial leadership and central ministerial leadership in addition to high-level cabinet policy makers as well as the Parliament. All these activities will be crucial for the initiative to succeed in a highly centralized system as the Egyptian one and also to make sustainable transformations.

Team members

Prof. Malak Zaalouk

Prof. Malak Zaalouk

PI & Project Coordinator

Professor Malak Zaalouk is the Director of GSE’s Middle East Institute of Higher Education at AUC. Dr. Zaalouk previously was UNICEF Regional Senior Education Adviser for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Her position entailed participation and advising on National Reform Strategies and the establishment of regional frameworks for quality education and teacher professional development. She led the founding of Egyptian community schools and has promoted girls’ education and quality education reform and has been a global leader on issues of human rights and gender equity. She has also been involved globally in Early Childhood Development ECD and has participated in the MENA region and beyond in Education in times of emergencies. Dr. Zaalouk sits on numerous international boards. She is currently the chair of the UNESCO Institute of Life Long Learning governing board. She is also a member of the Presidential National council for Education. Dr. Zaalouk has published widely on issues of development in both English and Arabic. She currently leads a number of international Development Projects. She holds a diploma in educational planning from the International Institute of Educational Planning IIEP in Paris and a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Hull UK.

Dr. Heba EL-Deghaidy

Dr. Heba EL-Deghaidy


Heba EL-Deghaidy is chair of the Department of International and Comparative Education at the Graduate School of Education. EL-Deghaidy is an associate professor of science education and leads the STEAM education initiative as an international approach to an interdisciplinary learning model. Her doctoral degree in science education is from the University of Birmingham, UK. She is the Co-PI for the Erasmus funded project ‘School and University Partnership for Peer Communities of Learners (SUP4PCL)’. Along with her teaching experience, EL-Deghaidy brings a wide range of professional experience, having served on various national and international committees and societies. Of the most prominent international societies in science education is the National Association for Research in Science Education (NARST). She has publications in peer international journals, conferences and book chapters in English Arabic and Greek.
Her latest innovative contribution is the development and presentation of the first Arabic MOOC on STEAM education “STEAM: Linking Education with Life”, in collaboration with Edraak.

EL-Deghaidy’s research interest are in STEM, STEAM, Education for sustainable development, teacher education and continuous professional development.

Dana Sabbah

Dana Sabbah

Dana Sabbah is a Research Associate at the Middle East Institute for Higher Education (MEIHE), Graduate School of Education/The American University in Cairo (AUC), worked on the EU/ TEMPUS project “The Capacity Development of faculties of Education” (CDFE) and is currently working on the EASRMUS+ project “School University partnership for Peer Communities of Learners” (SUP4PCL).
She earned her MA in Gender and women studies from the American University in Cairo. Her thesis title was: “Social Inclusion or Exclusion? Never-Married Singles in West Amman”. Ms. Sabbah followed her interest in research and worked as a research assistant with the Institute for Gender and Women Studies (AUC).The focus of the research was gender and migration highlighting the concepts of human rights, policies and meaning of citizenship. In addition, she worked as a Pedagogy and Assessment officer at the Center of learning and Teaching in the same university. Different research and professional areas are of her interest: Education, gender issues, social anthropology, human rights, culture and meanings of identity and citizenship.

Lujain Ramadan

Lujain Ramadan

Lujain Ramadan is working at Middle East Institute for Higher Education (MEIHE) in the SUP4PCL project.

Prior to joining MEIHE, in June 2013 Lujain worked as a research assistant in the Business Administration department at The American University in Cairo. She was actively involved in the design and editing of research projects on “Female Leadership in Africa” and “The Evolution of Informal Settlements in Egypt.”

Lujain holds a Bachelor degree in Finance from the American University in Cairo. She is an MA candidate in International Development.

Her research interests centre on the evaluation of impact, developmental projects and development of special educational needs (SEN). She volunteers to teach underprivileged children in Cairo.

Our Location

Cairo Governatorate 11835, Egypt