Special Advisor to the Provost
Department of History


Brief Biography

John T. Swanson is currently Special Advisor to the Provost at The American University in Cairo (AUC), a position that he has held since 2019. At various times over the past two decades he has served as director of AUC’s Core Curriculum (2004 - 2009), Director of International Programs (2006 - 2009), and Associate Provost (2004-2019). His duties are primarily administrative in character, but he is particularly interested in late Roman and early Islamic Egypt and he regularly teaches courses in AUC’s Egyptology program and in AUC’s Core Curriculum.

Swanson joined AUC in 1978 after completing a PhD in African History at Indiana University. He earned a BA in history and Latin at Butler University (Indianapolis, Indiana) in 1972. From 1978 to 1989 he served as an administrator and occasional teacher in AUC’s programs of intensive Arabic language instruction. For most of this period he was the director of AUC’s Arabic Language Unit and Cairo Co-Director of the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA)  - a U.S. government-sponsored program dedicated to providing advanced instruction in Arabic language to outstanding American students of Arabic. Thereafter, he moved to the Provost ‘s Office, first as assistant provost and then as associate provost. From 1989 to 2009 was responsible for one of AUC’s major outreach efforts, organizing programs of lectures for visiting college and university groups from the United States and Europe. He also served as lecturer and study leader for many Smithsonian Institution travel programs in Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and the Arabian Peninsula..