by URSULA LINDSEY for CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION on OCTOBER 20, 2014:
Mahmoud A. El-Gamal, an economist who hadn’t lived in Egypt for almost 30 years, says his interest in becoming provost of the American University in Cairo surprised even himself. But “if I’m going to contribute to any improvement in Egypt, it will be within that little crucible of AUC,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to give back to my alma mater and my homeland.”
Mr. El-Gamal, who is 51, left his native country for the United States in 1985 to study at Stanford University and then Northwestern. Since 1998 he has been a professor of economics and statistics at Rice University, and he chaired its department of economics from 2008 to 2011. He has also worked at the California Institute of Technology, the International Monetary Fund, and the U.S. Treasury Department. He is an expert in Islamic finance, the growing field of banking and financial instruments that accommodate Islamic law’s ban on charging interest.