New Faculty Look Forward to Teaching, Research Opportunities

More than 30 new faculty members joined AUC this semester. Coming from a variety of disciplines, this “impressive class of new faculty members,” as President Lisa Anderson described them, were drawn to AUC for a variety of reasons, from exploring research opportunities to experiencing Egypt’s rich history and culture.

Ananya Chakravarti, assistant professor of history and the Abdulhadi H. Taher Professor in Comparative Religion, has traveled to England, India, Italy, Portugal and Brazil for her research on religion and history. Her research has now taken her to AUC. “The collegiality and dynamism of the history department, the opportunity to live in the wonderful city of Cairo, and to teach and do research in both history and religious studies made this the perfect position for me,” she said. Chakravarti is studying the intersection between religion and empire in the early modern Portuguese world; South Asian religious cultures; and the religious and cultural life of colonial Brazil. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2012 and was a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence.

Other faculty members have chosen to work at AUC because of its strong legacy. “I came to AUC because it is, by all standards, the best academic institution in Egypt and the Middle East,” said Ahmed Abdellatif, visiting assistant professor of biology. “I want to be part of this University, which has served Egypt for many years.”

Abdellatif, whose research focuses on how to best prepare students for medical education, has high expectations from his students. “I expect AUC students to work hard and do their best to be good representatives and ambassadors for the University and Egypt,” he said.

Some professors are already impressed by the students in their classes. “The caliber of students in the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy has exceeded my expectations,” said Aisha Saad, assistant professor at the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and the Center for Sustainable Development. Saad obtained her PhD in political geography from Oxford University.

Saad chose to come to AUC because of the opportunity to be in Cairo during such a politically significant time. “I think Egypt is in a tremendous state of transition and being at a public policy school is a great place to hear discussions,” said Saad, whose research focuses on the role of corporations in development and the regulation of foreign corporations operating in Egypt.

Many faculty members are also looking forward to implementing new projects at AUC. Michail Kontominas, a chemistry professor who previously taught food chemistry at the University of Ioannina in Greece, hopes to set up a food studies laboratory at AUC.

Whether it is searching for new research opportunities or learning more about the history and culture of Egypt and the region, incoming faculty members are looking forward to their first year at the University. “AUC has an outstanding reputation, not just on a local and regional level, but on a global level as well,” said Michael Ryan, visiting assistant professor of sociology. “And the more I find out about it, the more excited I am to be a part of it.”