New initiative promoting excellence

AO College 2021 is open for applications

31 May 2021

AO College CMF
The AO is excited to launch a new cross-divisional program for highly enthusiastic and motivated young surgeons based in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region. If you are a trauma, spine, or craniomaxillofacial (CMF) surgeon, who has graduated from medical/dental school, currently within 2–5 years of your residency/training program and seeking to further enhance your career by developing globally recognized excellence in surgical, research, teaching, and leadership skills, this intensive, six-month program is for you.

How to apply

To apply, send the following to Sanaya Dhir at by Sunday, June 20, 2021:

  • A Zoom recording (three minutes max) introducing yourself and why you are interested in this program
  • A letter of motivation (up to 500 words maximum, PDF or Microsoft Word format)
  • Your curriculum vitae (PDF or Word format) including your full name and the country in which you are based
  • Written proof that you are a surgeon still within your residency training
  • Clarification of the clinical division you work in: trauma, spine, or CMF

Please note: Applications that do not meet all of the above criteria cannot be accepted.

The AO College team will review the applications and final decisions will be communicated at the end of June 2021.

Program dates: Monday, July 5, 2021–December 10, 2021

Fee:  Donation-based, CHF 20.00–CHF 50.00, or free if you are a member of AO Trauma, AO Spine, or AO CMF.

The new AO College initiative aims to equip successful applicants with the knowledge to better serve their patients and become distinguished ambassadors and members of the AO. Participants must be eager to engage with surgeons in MENA and across the world, and enthusiastic about integrating into and participating in the AO community.

Eligibility criteria

  • You are currently a surgeon within 2–5 years of your residency/training program following graduating your medical/dental school.
  • You are from a LMIC in MENA: check your country is eligible.
  • You are practicing in one of the following clinical fields: trauma, spine, CMF.
  • You are an enthusiastic and motivated individual.
  • You have excellent communication skills.
  • You possess great teamwork skills and an ability to connect in a multicultural environment.
  • You have a good command of English.
  • You have a stable internet connection.


What is in it for you?

In this fully immersive online program, within an intimate group of 20 participants per specialty (trauma, spine, CMF), you will have personal access to some of the top surgeons in the MENA region and the world, the AO’s renowned faculty, and your peers. You will gain insight into the exclusive educational and training offerings of the AO.

A certification of recognition for all participants and several awards are available upon completion of the program.

You will complete activities in the five following areas:

  • Become an active junior member in an AO Study Club in MENA with top international speakers.
  • Complete an AO basic research training program.
  • Complete a personal development program including communication, leadership, and teaching skills.
  • Become involved in our exclusive AO On Call program and be mentored by our leading regional faculty.
  • Complete an online seminar within your clinical division. 

Learning objectives

Participants in this program will be mentored and supported by expert international and regional faculty in this highly interactive program in achieving the following objectives and develop the basis for a globally connected, successful career as a surgeon:

  • Deliver the highest standard of surgical care in your specialty.
  • Develop personal skills to be a successful leader.
  • Deliver an engaging presentation as a faculty teacher.
  • Know how to conduct and publish clinical research.
  • Connect with peers and global experts in your specialty—the AO family.


Within the program there are numerous awards available: 

  • Each of the top ten participants per clinical division (30 in total) will receive a one-year membership (AO Trauma, AO Spine, or AO CMF).
  • The top three participants per clinical division (nine in total), will receive in addition to membership, a voucher valued at up to CHF 300 toward the AO course(s) of your choosing.


The project team

Sabine Girod


AO CMF Community Development Commission

Amir Elbarbary


AO CMF Middle East and Northern Africa Board

Mohammad El-Sharkawi


AO Spine Middle East and Northern Africa Board

El-Zaher Hassan


AO Trauma Middle East and Northern Africa Community Development Committee 

Sanaya Dhir

Project manager

AO Foundation

AO diversity statement

The AO is deeply committed to advancing diversity and inclusion, ensuring that the experiences and contributions of all members of our community are valued, and they have equal opportunity to advance their careers. We therefore strongly encourage women and individuals from diverse backgrounds to apply to this program.

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