Prof. Ibrahim Abouleish (1937 – 2017) founded SEKEM in 1977, an initiative which fosters sustainable development towards a future where every human being can unfold their individual potential, where mankind lives together in social forms reflecting human dignity, and where all economic activities are conducted in accordance with ecological and ethical principles. As part of his vision, Prof. Abouleish established Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development in 2009; the first university in the Middle East declaring sustainable development as its main guiding principal.
Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development was inaugurated in 2012 with the aim to pioneer the introduction of the concepts and principles of sustainable development to its students and to the Egyptian community at large. The non-profit oriented university includes the faculties of Engineering, Pharmacy , Business and Economics, Physical Therapy, and Organic Agriculture. The degree programs offered at Heliopolis University address the concepts and theories of sustainable development through a multi-disciplinary holistic approach that integrates teaching, learning, research, and practice.