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Backgrounder: Cairo University
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16:09, June 04, 2009

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U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech to the Islamic world in the Conference Hall of Cairo University, the following is a brief introduction of the prestigious school in the most populous Arab country.

Cairo University was founded on Dec. 21, 1908, in Giza governorate as a result of the efforts to establish a national center for education.

First it was called Egyptian University then Fuad University and later changed into Cairo University. It has been a prime indigenous model for other state universities in the region.

At first, Cairo University includes a School of Law and a School of Medicine. The Medical School, also known as Kasr Alaini (Qasr-ul-'Ayni), was one of the first medical schools in Africa and the Arab world. Its first building was donated by Alaini Pasha.Since then it has undergone extensive expansion.

According to the 2008 Webometrics World Universities rankings, Cairo University is ranked second in Egypt and tenth in Africa.

According to the 2007 Academic Ranking for World Universities (ARWU), published by the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Cairo University is ranked as one of the Top500 World universities.

There was no fixed headquarters for the university when it was inaugurated. The dates and places of lectures were once published in daily newspapers until it got its first campus where the American University in Cairo (AUC) is located now.

Cairo University suffered from the shortage of money during World War I, but it managed to overcome it. After the war, some of its teachers were sent to European universities for training and a modern library was established.

In 1928, a new campus was established in Giza, it included four schools -- Arts, Medicine, Sciences and Law.

On May 23, 1940, the school changed its name from Egyptian University to Fuad University.

On Dec. 28, 1953, a law was issued to change its name into the current one.

The 40-meter-high clock tower at the University, which was built in 1937, is a landmark of Cairo, as famous as the Big Ben in London.


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