The American University in Cairo (AUC) today announced the launch of educational initiatives for the Spring 2011 semester that provide the University community with opportunities to explore the historical events that took place in Egypt in January and February. The initiatives include the creation of new courses focusing on the Egyptian revolution, the adjustment of current courses to address the events of January 25 to February 11, seminars and panels to discuss various aspects of the revolution and the future of Egypt, as well as the documentation of the revolution through the project “The University on The Square: Documenting History in Real Time.”
"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. In only two days, 40 of our faculty members have created new programs, new workshops and panels, and adjusted courses to take place this semester,” said AUC Provost Medhat Haroun. “We also want our students to study the revolution closely and to be aware of its privileges. They will study how they can help in developing Egypt in the coming period.”
Two new courses created are, “Isqat Al Nizam: Egypt’s January 25 Uprising in Comparative Historical Perspective,” and “Cairo: The Present and Future Megalopolis.” The first course will address the events of the revolution and place them within the broader context of Egypt’s history, as well as the history of political revolutions in the modern world. “The course will compare and contrast the Egyptian uprising with other special episodes in modern history, not only in Egypt and the Middle East, but also in Eastern Europe and Latin America,” Haroun explained. The second course will focus on 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 will address the significance of cities and will 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 to the future of Cairo in the light of the events.
In addition to the new courses, several existing courses have been adjusted to address the events of the last few weeks. Each have incorporated curricula to discuss the challenges that lie ahead as well as ways in which students can contribute positively and constructively to the emergence of a new system. Topics of adjusted courses include the effect of Information Technology on the revolution, Middle East transformation, social changes, translating the revolution where selected revolution materials including chants, slogans, jokes, poems and speeches, will be translated, and others.
Programs introduced in the wake of the revolution target both the AUC community and the local community. According to Haroun, workshops, panels and public lectures will be held discussing several aspects of the revolution. School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP) will organize a series of “teach-in” events on the general topic of “Law and Revolution,” where leading experts and public figures will be invited to debate on pressing concerns of legal reform in Egypt. GAPP will also hold seminars, and research activities focusing on the needs of Egyptian youth. In addition, the School of Business will hold series of panels and workshops to discuss economic, technological and ethical aspects of the revolution and the prospects for future change. “I believe that these panels will open a dialogue to come up with unconventional ideas that would help in rebuilding Egypt,” Haroun noted.
A university-wide project, “The University on the Square: Documenting History in Real Time” is another part of the AUC post-revolution series of initiatives. The project will document the revolution by collecting testimonies, photographs, audio recordings, artifacts, memorabilia and other documentary evidence of the events across Egypt that led to the ouster of the Mubarak government. The goal of this project is to capture the experience of these transformative times through the eyes of the AUC community and to showcase the result through the Web, exhibitions, publications, seminars and presentations.