‘Partner in Our Evolution’: Dartmouth and AUK Reaffirm Commitment


Leaders from Dartmouth and the American University of Kuwait (AUK) met April 25 to reaffirm their partnership, which deepens and expands the liberal arts experience on both campuses, by signing a third memorandum of understanding between the institutions.

Interim President Carol Folt signs the third agreement between Dartmouth and the American University of Kuwait (AUK). At right is Sheikha Dana Nasser Al-Sabah, chair of AUK’s board of trustees. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Saying she was delighted to be “continuing this pioneering partnership of 10 years,” Interim President Carol Folt welcomed back Sheikha Dana Nasser Al-Sabah; chair of AUK’s board of trustees; Amal Binali, vice president of admissions and public affairs at AUK; and Earl Sullivan, a member of AUK’s board of trustees.

“Global partnerships are critically important to Dartmouth in an increasingly connected world. We are so proud to partner and collaborate with an institution like AUK that values the kind of strong liberal arts education Dartmouth has been committed to for nearly 250 years,” Folt said.

Since the first agreement was signed a decade ago, Dartmouth has offered valuable support, providing advice on curriculum planning, faculty hiring, and research collaboration, Al-Sabah said.

The man who helped initiate the partnership, Dale Eickelman ’64, the Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professor of Anthropology and Human Relations and department chair, also attended the April 25 meeting. Eickelman remains involved in the project, serving as the relationship coordinator, a position he has held since the program’s start in 2003.

Each memorandum of understanding reaffirms the partnership for five years; the most recent agreement was signed in 2008 in Kuwait. AUK, which has graduated more than 1,000 students, was founded in 2003. That same year, Dartmouth began advisory, consulting, and cooperative projects with the university.

In the last decade, Dartmouth and AUK faculty and students have traveled between campuses to participate in cross-cultural internships, fellowships, and research. AUK students can earn a dual-degree in engineering, in which they study at AUK and at Thayer School of Engineering.

“Dartmouth has been on our side from day one,” Al-Sabah said. “We do recognize the important role that Dartmouth is playing in AUK’s success. Dartmouth is a model to which we aspire in developing our own programs and curriculum, and creating the intellectual infrastructure of what we believe a liberal arts academic community should be.”

From left: Earl Sullivan (from AUK), Amal Binali (from AUK), Dale Eickelman (from Dartmouth), Sheikha Dana Nasser Al-Sabah (from AUK), and Dartmouth’s Carol L. Folt, Lindsay Whaley, and Beth Hindmarsh. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Al-Sabah said there have been challenges in positioning AUK, the first private liberal arts university in Kuwait. However, she said, Dartmouth, as “the partner in our evolution,” has been pivotal to AUK’s success. “As we prepare to celebrate AUK’s 10-year anniversary, we look forward to continuing this relationship as we seek to imbed a liberal arts culture into the Kuwaiti higher education system.”

Earlier in the day, Al-Sabah visited Dale Eickelman’s anthropology class “Thought and Change in the Middle East and Central Asia.”

“Dartmouth’s entire community has benefited from the deep, symmetrical alliance that our two institutions share,” Folt said. “The breadth and depth of partnerships between the faculty, students, and staff at both schools serve as a powerful cross-cultural model for liberal arts education in the 21st century.”

The AUK leaders also met with students at a reception at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, and attended a dinner at the president’s house.


Keith Chapman