Frequently Asked Questions

On this page you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about two of the institutions featured on this blog – American University and the PIFSS (Public Institute for Social Security).


How old is American University?

American University was established more than a century ago in 1893, chartered in a bill approved by then president Benjamin Harrison.


How large is American University?

American University is comprised of six unique schools plus the Washington College of Law, with an 84-acre campus. There are currently more than 5,000 graduate students and more than 7,000 undergraduate students enrolled.


What social and political organisations can be found on campus?

There are more than 240 separate social and political organisations on campus providing opportunities for a fully-rounded education and social life at AU. The Student Union Board (SUB) arranges entertainment through the year, including live music and concerts featuring big names; the Grateful Dead, Blackalicious, Bob Dylan and Jimmy Eat World are just a few artists and bands that have played at AU over the years. There are media, journalistic and radio organisations, student governments, religious and spiritual groups, environmental activist groups and much more.


When was the PIFSS established and for what purpose?

The PIFSS was initially established by Emir Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in the early 1970s in order to institutionalise the distribution of the large oil revenues of Kuwait to the people. It operates as an autonomous government institution managing some $30 billion in funds for the people of Kuwait.


What types of investment does PIFSS make?

To mitigate risk PIFSS invests across numerous industries and investment vehicles around the world. These include hedge funds, real estate and private equity investments. Approximately 20% of all PIFSS investment is in Kuwaiti companies and 80% abroad, with the US and Japan being of high investment priority.


What services in Kuwait are subsidised by the government?

The social welfare system in Kuwait is founded on the principle of sharing fairly the vast revenues from the oil industry among all citizens. As such households can expect their fixed-line telephones, water and electricity bills to be subsidised, as well as food from local cooperative societies. Healthcare and education in Kuwait is free to the individual. Kuwait boasts one of the richest and most comprehensive welfare systems in the world today, resulting in a nation where 90% of the population are firmly in the middle class and individuals are able to expect a home, a job and a generous pension as part of their constitutional rights.