CAIRO: The American University in Cairo (AUC) has called a report implying that a hidden agenda exits between the university and the American government “misleading.
In its Monday edition, independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm published a federal contract between the US government and AUC along with a story by the America in Arabic news agency, implying that the university has been accepting funding from the US Department of Defense in secrecy and hinting at a hidden agenda.
“This account is misleading, AUC said in an official statement to the press.
“Since 2006, AUC has had a contract with the US Naval Medical Research Unit in Egypt (NAMRU – 3) to recruit and provide scientific staff in support of infectious disease research throughout the region, specifically relating to Avian Flu. The total value of this contract since 2006 is $1,964,035, i.e. $600,000 per year for the basic award, plus an additional $164,035 for travel expenses in the 2008 renewal, the statement explained.
Margaret White, spokesperson of the US embassy in Cairo, confirmed AUC’s statement.
“The contracts between the US Naval Medical Research Unit in Egypt (NAMRU-3) and AUC have been a matter of public record since 2006. NAMRU-3 is a unit of the US Navy, which is in turn part of the US Department of Defense, headquartered at the Pentagon building in Washington, DC, she told Daily News Egypt.
“NAMRU-3 has collaborated scientifically with AUC for many years, and the relationship is completely academic in nature. Any allegations that imply a secret or improper relationship are false, she said.
NAMRU-3, which was established in 1946, works closely with Egypt’s Ministry of Health, conducting research and surveillance to support military personnel deployed to Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia, according to its official website.
A copy of the federal contract was provided to Daily News Egypt by America in Arabic, an independent Arabic news agency in the US. According to White, “Information on US government contracts worldwide is available on the website www.usaspending.gov to everyone free of charge.
Regarding the “purchaser information in the contract, the “major agency is the Department of Defense and the “contracting agency is the Department of Navy.
The award type between the two is a definitive contract, which is “a written or oral contract reflecting the last thing two parties have agreed on, explained corporate lawyer Abdel Aziz Aidaros.
Under “contract description, it said that it is a “non-personal service contract for infectious disease research in Cairo, Egypt. The “product or service information states that it is “research and development in the social sciences and humanities.
The contract was signed on August 22, 2007, its effective date is September 26, 2007 and the ultimate completion date for the project is September 21, 2011.
Samer Suleiman, political economy professor at AUC, resented the fact that the news piece published in Al-Masry Al-Youm is implying that AUC is a spying/espionage agency in Egypt. “It is inappropriate [.] AUC is an established educational institution and has been serving the country for decades, he said.
“AUC’s relationship with NAMRU is in keeping with the university’s long-standing commitment to teaching, research and service to Egypt, stated AUC.