Transforming Higher Education

We are committed to providing quality, student-centered education that produces graduates with the knowledge and skills to become ethical leaders who contribute to our global society by building a sustainable planet with peace, dignity, justice, and opportunity for all.


In the 21st century, society continues to face ever more challenging problems; widening disparity in development, environmental contamination, climate change, deforestation, water scarcity, ethical issues, among many others. For hundreds of years, universities have done an excellent job advancing science, technological innovation and dispersing knowledge, graduating highly capable professionals to contribute to development and improved well-being.

However, higher education has unintentionally erected barriers for educating the most vulnerable, and graduates often lack value based decision-making skills and a global vision of the world. Because of passive learning systems, graduates are often times unprepared to be proactive leaders, able to contribute to the challenges of the 21st century upon leaving the university. Young persons around the world face extraordinary barriers to development as they prepare for an uncertain future. It not only takes a college education to succeed personally, but it takes engaged universities to prepare graduates to work directly as agents of change focused on solving the challenges of sustainability and quality-of-life issues. Universities must transform their educational systems putting more attention on the characteristics that their graduates require to become agents of change and the learning processes that will enhance those characteristics.

The American University of Beirut (AUB), in partnership with the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA), EARTH University and the W.K. Kellogg foundation has launched a project on “Transforming Higher Education”. This project seeks to share five Key Elements of Success practiced by EARTH University and others with universities in Mexico and Haiti, and across GCHERA’s global university network over a period of three years between July, 2018 and June, 2021.

The goal of the project is to advocate for the education of future leaders with the commitment to serve society– leaders capable of positively affecting changes in their environment, promoting peace and understanding, and respecting diversity while contributing solutions for the major challenges of the 21st Century. The project´s purpose is to encourage and facilitate change processes within the university as well as to promote greater university engagement with the larger community to achieve the twin goals of producing future leaders and change-agents, as well as fostering greater prosperity and equity in society.

About the Founding Partners

American University of Beirut

The American University of Beirut(AUB) is a prominent university in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and a member of the GCHERA (Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences) network. AUB plays a leading role in societal advancement through development projects, knowledge creation, and education that serves to empower marginalized communities and address crucial environmental challenges in MENA and globally. AUB addresses issues such as citizenship, policy making, climate change, civil society, entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainable development to provide its students with the knowledge, skills, and ethical foundation to become successful leaders and agents of change locally, nationally and globally. Chartered in New York State in 1863, AUB bases its educational philosophy, standards, and practices on the American liberal arts model of higher education. AUB was recently awarded the MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship in recognition of developing a culture of service and civic leadership at AUB and was named the Most Civically Engaged University in the MENA region.

EARTH University

EARTH Universityuses an innovative educational approach to prepare young people from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and other regions to contribute to the sustainable development of their home communities while constructing a prosperous and just global society. EARTH University offers a world-class scientific and technological education emphasizing ethical entrepreneurship and strong socio-environmental commitment. Shepherded by a prestigious international faculty, an EARTH education culminates in a four-year undergraduate degree in Agricultural Sciences. EARTH was established by Costa Rican law in 1986 as a private, non-profit, international university, created with the support of the Costa Rican government, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


GCHERA (Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences), founded in 1998 with assistance from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is a global consortium of universities dedicated to collaboratively addressing global food and sustainability issues. GCHERA was reconstituted in 2011 as the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences. Each higher education association represents its member universities on a regional or a national basis. GCHERA currently has fourteen member associations that represent over 900 universities worldwide, including EARTH University and AUB

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions to help vulnerable children realize their full potentials in school, work, and life. The Kellogg Foundation based in Battle Creek, Michigan, works in the United States, internationally, and with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to locations with high concentrations of poverty and in which children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority locations in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; internationally, they are in Mexico and Haiti.

The Project Advisory Board

Dr. Fadlo Kuhri

President of AUB

Dr. Ian Maw

Ex-Vice President, Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU)

Dr. John Kennelly

President of GCHERA

Dr. Jose Zaglul

President Emeritus of EARTH University

Dr. Daniel Sherrard

Professor and Ex-Provost at EARTH University

The Project Team

Dr. Rabi Mohtar

Project Leader, Dean of Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, AUB

Dr Jim French

Project Director, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, AUB

Dr. Roula Bachour

Project Manager, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, AUB