New Egypt 101

AUC has adjusted and introduced courses to educate students about the revolution

Marie-Pascale Ghazaleh, assistant professor of history, is part of the faculty team teaching Isqat Al-Nizam: Egypt's January 25 Uprising in Comparative Historical Perspective

Seeing the political reform movement and events leading to the collapse of the Mubarak government as unprecedented learning opportunities, departments across AUC have announced new educational initiatives for Spring 2011 that explore the series of events that began in Tahrir Square in January. These initiatives include the creation of new courses focusing on the Egyptian Revolution, adjustment of current courses to address events from January 25 to February 11, and the introduction of a number of seminars and panels that discuss Egyptian society before, during and after the fall of the Mubarak regime.

"This series of new academic and community-outreach programs demonstrate AUC's responsiveness to the educational opportunities presented by social and political events in Egypt," said AUC Provost Medhat Haroun. "In only two days, 40 of our faculty members have created new programs, workshops and panel discussions, and augmented courses that we are offering this semester. We also want our students to study the revolution closely and to be aware of its privileges. They are learning how they can help in developing Egypt in the coming period."

Two of the courses that have been created in response to historic events are: Isqat Al Nizam: Egypt's January 25 Uprising in Comparative Historical Perspective and Cairo: The Present and Future Megalopolis. The former addresses the events of the revolution and places them within the broader context of Egypt's history, as well as the history of political revolutions in the modern world. The second course, taught by John Swanson, associate provost and director of the Core Curriculum, examines the development of the modern megalopolis of Cairo: its geographic, historical and cultural context; and the several ways in which the city struggles to meet the challenges of the present while preparing for a complex and uncertain future. "Course lectures address the significance of cities and also examine the ways in which modern Cairo strives to deal with the demands of commerce, food distribution, education, transport, sanitation and sewage, with an analysis of the future of Cairo in light of the events," said Swanson.

Many students, inspired by their experiences in the revolution, have opted to take the new courses. "Before the January 25th Revolution, I was not very politically active. Since then I have wanted to learn more about this city its past and its future," said Aya Helmy, an architectural engineering major.

In addition to the two new courses, 24 existing courses have been adjusted to include discussion and analysis of recent events in Egypt, as well as ways in which students can contribute to the emergence of a new socio-political system. In addition, a number of workshops and lecture series discussing several aspects of the revolution have been introduced, including the Tahrir Dialogue panel discussion series by the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, Meet the Media series by the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism Training and Research, and Transforming Egypt seminar series by the School of Business.

By Madeline Welsh