June 12, 2018, Cairo – The American University in Cairo (AUC) held its first community sohour , “Ramadan Nights” last Friday. Nearly 300 AUCians, alumni and community members from New Cairo gathered in the University Garden behind the AUC Library for the event, the first of what will be a spate of arts and culture events led by AUC. Ramadan Nights, organized by Haynes Mahoney, special adviser for arts and community engagement at AUC, featured music from Ayamna El Helwa, an open art exhibit in the Sharjah Art Gallery, performance by two AUC community members and sohour.
Mahoney, whose focus is on opening AUC’s art scene up to the rest of Cairo, said the night was a success in terms of showcasing what the campus is capable of. Mahony explained that people in the entertainment and public relations business are very interested in AUC as a place to bring their events in the future.
The night’s MC was AUC alumnus, director, actor and producer Rami Imam, ‘98. “I’m happy to be back," Imam said... “It’s an honor.”
He added, “Before I came here, I was just at the art gallery and saw that it isn’t just about drawing or painting. It's about the concept of the art. And that’s what AUC has always focused on: creating young men and women who have more to offer beyond their majors.”
Mervat Abou-Oaf, professor of practice in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, said reaching out to the New Cairo community for events like these is integral as the area grows. “It was much more difficult before, but now New Cairo has become a massive residential area,” she said. “We have a lot of potential. We have a lot of room, a lot of events, a lot of topics. We are big enough, and so, of course, AUC can be a hub of cultural events for New Cairo.”
Guests enjoyed their sohour before leaving, many of them reflecting on more than just the night’s entertainment. Guest Sara El Lamoony said that AUC is not just academia and not just an academic institution: “Here, there is culture; there are parties, with alumni, people from AUC and different types of people… with all different themes. So, it’s really, really great.”