The Economic and Business History Research Center (EBHRC) was established in early 2004 with the goal of creating a repository of primary recordings of first hand accounts to Egypt’s contemporary history with special emphasis on economic and business history. In a country rich in events and history and comparably poor in transparency and in accessibility of records, the centre perceived its task as capturing the untold history, the stories and narratives locked up in the memories of people.
By taking the oral narratives of individuals who played various roles in public policy and enterprise and converting these into transcripts with appropriate disclosure rights, EBHRC creates and compiles primary records that do not exist in the public domain.
Oral History is recording interviews with eye-witness participants on events of historical significance to get their personal testimony on these events. While this is the narrow definition of the term, oral history includes the taped recording (whether audio or video), the transcript, in addition to using these in-depth interviews as a research method.
EBHRC has more than 200 hours of oral history recordings with people who played a key role in Egypt’s public policy and enterprise since the 1950’s.
The first group of interviewees was selected to document Egypt’s industrial experience 1956-1991, and covered some ministers of industry during this period, amongst other public officials.
The initial recordings and interviewees triggered widening of the focus of the project to include research and development, planning and general public policy, banking, insurance, finance, microfinance, and businessmen. And other figures who were not necessarily celebrities or heads of organizations but rather people who actually were responsible for enacting change.
Our main priorities remain the collection of primary records through conducting oral history interviews as well as the dissemination of such records through a number of venues most importantly our non-periodic publication, The Chronicles.
"The center’s oral history projects have provided all students of Egyptian history with an invaluable resource.” Prof. Ellis Goldberg, UW, The Chronicles, July 2006.
“Oral history may be richer source material than accessible written documents but its sources are human – and mortal. It is a delicate but unavoidable fact that the guardians of precious accounts of economic and business endeavors are in many cases in the twilight of their lives.” Mostafa Hefny, The Chronicles January 2006.
“People’s memories is the reservoir for our quest to revisit historical incidents and narrate similar historical stories and questions. Some of these memories expose a history on the margin of mainstream literature.” Dina Khalifa, The Chronicles January 2006
EBHRC Founding Team
EBHRC Donors and Funding