Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group received an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from the American University in Cairo (AUC) on Saturday June 14, 2014. AUC is a premier English-language institution of higher learning based in the Egyptian capital. The ‘Commencement Ceremony’ was held at the ‘Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Football and Track Stadium’– a facility financed by the Al Habtoor Group Chairman in 2010.
Al Habtoor, who is a well-known philanthropist, supports many educational facilities around the world including AUC and Illinois College in Jacksonville, USA.
Amr Shaarawi, the Provost and Conferral of Honorary Degree, praised Al Habtoor telling graduating students he was honoured with the Doctorate of Philosophy “In recognition for his continued efforts in fostering cross cultural understanding, supporting humanitarian causes, and advancing academic inquiry.”
Al Habtoor attended the Commencement Ceremony at the respected American university where there were 193 masters and 561 bachelor’s degree candidates graduating. In his key note speech he urged them to aspire to greatness, “Your education has not finished, it just started and it will carry through your life. You have a long way to go. I advise you to keep a positive outlook on things, start your day full of energy ready to conquer the world.”
He added, “Your generation has learned a lot from the turbulences that stormed Egypt in the past three years and now the earth has settled. Let us put our hands together and build this country.”
His words were echoed by Sherif Kamel, dean of the University’s School of Business, who emphasised the importance in contributing to the community and embracing challenges and failures on the road to success. “Egypt and the world badly need your brains, your energy and your passion, give them freely, but try to stay conscious of what it is you're giving of yourself and why.”
Lisa Anderson, President of the American University in Cairo (AUC)  said, “This class has seen more change in their short time as university students than most of us see in a lifetime… They are ready to dream of things that never were and to ask why not?”
Al Habtoor urged the graduates to take an active role in their country’s future, telling them they are “partners” in Egypt’s destiny, “The success of your country depends on you as much as it does on your government. Each and every one of you has to play a role, otherwise we won’t achieve the end goal. It is your duty and your privilege to play a key role in your country’s future and help its economy thrive.”
He added, “Ask yourself what role you can take for your country’s future success and what you can do to make it better. Then go out and do it. You are the leaders of tomorrow. Be brave and own your future, and I am confident that Egypt and our Arab nation will be fine.”