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Msh Zanbik Anti-Sexual Harassment Arts Project Awarded by Times Higher Education

Local to Global
Dalia Al Nimr
November 19, 2023
Dina Amin and Jilliam Campana, principal investigators of the award-winning Msh Zanbik anti-harassment research project

Photo caption (Banner): Dina Amin and Jillian Campana, principal investigators of the award-winning Msh Zanbik anti-sexual harassment research project

AUC’s Msh Zanbik (It’s Not Your Fault) initiative to combat and raise awareness of sexual harassment received the Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences award from Times Higher Education

“This is an inspiring demonstration of the agency of a university to contribute to such an important social topic; produce new, high-quality research and disseminate it to achieve strong impact,” commented the judges. “It also highlights the unique value of the arts as a framework to address a complex issue and make it accessible and understandable to many.”

Msh Zanbik is a collaborative research project whereby a series of original plays about sexual harassment and assault in Egypt were created in order to understand the issue from the perspective of Egyptian university students and educate people about it. 

“The ultimate goal is to change behavior, curb incidents of harassment and encourage reporting,” said Jillian Campana, theatre professor; associate dean for undergraduate studies at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and principal investigator of the project along with Dina Amin ’84, associate professor and director of the theatre program.

Both Campana and Amin worked with more than 60 AUC students and alumni to write, perform and publish the plays, which were turned into an AUC Press book, available in both English and Arabic, along with research commentary and resources –– marking the first published plays in Egypt that deal directly with sexual harassment.

Campana continued this work with Reem El Mograby ’09, director of the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) and AUC’s Title IX coordinator.

 “We worked with students to research and develop a series of anti-sexual harassment training videos in Arabic,” said Campana. “These are being used as part of the First-Year Experience program and in other OIE and Title IX workshops. They are the first Arabic videos in the region that educate university students about sexual harassment.”

The team’s ethnographic Participatory Action Research model relied on playwriting as the means of collecting and analyzing data as well as sharing the results of the study. Performances of these plays are royalty-free. 

“This project has been a true integration between performance and social science research,” said Amin. “We are fortunate to have found a forum to articulate creativity and social awareness and to also align with the #AUCSpeakUp initiative.”

As Times Higher Education puts it, “The Msh Zanbik: It’s Not Your Fault” project at The American University in Cairo exemplifies how a university can achieve big impact in a very important area that affects all of society while demonstrating the unique power of the creative arts to reach people.”

Jillian Campana (third from right) with President Ahmad Dallal, Associate Provost Ahmed Abdel-Meguid and Sustainability DirectorYasmine Mansour at the awards ceremony



'Say More with Threads': What's Next?

Local to Global
Honey ElMoghazi and Dalia Al Nimr
August 8, 2023
Threads: New social media app launched

Threads, Meta’s newest addition to the social media platform, has received both praise and criticism since its launch a few weeks ago. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Threads post following the launch: “The vision for Threads is to create an option and friendly public space for conversation. We hope to take what Instagram does best and create a new experience around text, ideas and discussing what’s on your mind.” 

Naila Hamdy, associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication and associate dean of graduate studies and research at the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and Rasha Abdulla ’92, ’96, professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, examine what Threads has to offer. 

Why has Threads been launched now?

Abdulla: Threads is a new social media application that allows threads of microblogging or tweet-like conversations. It is owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Its launch comes at a time when the use of X [formerly Twitter] is declining, as increasing numbers of users are not happy with the way Elon Musk is running that app. 

Hamdy: Threads was created with a purpose, which is to compete with X. With Threads, Meta is reviving a text-based platform vs. the visual-based Instagram. 

How is Threads different from other social media platforms? 

Abdulla: Threads is linked to the user's Instagram account, so users must have an Instagram account to use Threads, and they cannot delete their Threads account without deleting Instagram. Meta intends to position Threads as sort of a text extension to Instagram. Compared with X, Threads allows for longer messages of 500 characters, as opposed to X's 280 characters. Threads can also feature longer videos of up to five minutes, while X videos can only be  2 minutes and 20 seconds. So far, Threads is free from advertising, although I expect this will change once the app reaches certain benchmarks.

Some have called Threads the “X killer.” What is your take on that? 

Hamdy: It’s too early to tell. X has been changing a lot over the last few weeks and has its own fans. It's sort of a legacy social media, much like Facebook is. We need to let things settle and see. We can probably assess in a year's time. Both X and Threads may not take off, and maybe something else will come along, like the way TikTok did. Who would've thought that TikTok would get to the point where it's at today? We must remember that the old school has its followers. Not everybody will jump onto something new.

Abdulla: Threads is considered a major challenger to X mainly because it's backed by Meta and because so many X users are dissatisfied with the service and already looking for an alternative. So Threads is in a prime position to take over as the number-one microblogging app. 

Threads users totaled around 70 million one day after the app's launch. Why do you think it has reached such a high number in a short period of time?

Hamdy: This initial hike doesn’t indicate where it will be in the future; users have actually gone down afterward. This always happens: The social media arena becomes crowded, things pop up and some go down, like what happened with Clubhouse. We will see more of this as we progress. Competition is there. 

We also don’t have information on user age groups and where they’re from. Are we looking at North America, Europe or the Global South? We’ve seen so many ups and downs with social media, which is used by young and old people, different layers and generations. Will X users jump off-board and go to Threads? Not necessarily, especially since younger people are much more likely to go to visual-based social media. It’s too early to tell. We need to give it time to settle then we could look back and evaluate. 

What’s your advice to users?

Hamdy: As social media develops, everybody is looking for safety online, how to keep people safe in that environment with these conversations, who to encourage and who to remove. We must have regulations and community guidelines to protect youth, children and vulnerable groups. That's the most important thing to consider when a new medium is launched.

Abdulla: My advice to users is to just be aware of the amount of data that Threads and other social media apps and platforms collect about them. Most of us click "I agree" or "I accept" on the terms and conditions of any app without paying much attention to them. Other than the usual access to app content, phone contacts, photos, location, etc., the Threads policy also states that the app will have access to information that is not directly related to app usage, such as information on the user's health and fitness, finances, purchases and what they call "sensitive information" and "other data," so pretty much everything on the user's phone. Users should just be aware of the amount of data being collected about them and make their choices of social media apps accordingly. 


Georgetown Students Investigate Cultural Heritage at AUC, Cairo

Local to Global
Devon Murray
August 6, 2023

Students from AUC and Georgetown University collaborated on a joint course last spring exploring Egyptian cultural heritage and the role that organizations and governments play in protecting and preserving history. 

“Egypt has such a long history, and it is a country at the forefront of showcasing its history and heritage to its own people and tourists,” stated Rochelle Davis (YAB ‘88, ‘89, CASA ‘92), associate professor at Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. “As a former year-abroad student and Center for Arabic Study Abroad fellow at AUC, I knew the caliber of teaching here, and it seemed like an exciting connection to make with Georgetown students.” 

Egypt is a natural choice for exploring cultural heritage. The country has seven properties inscribed on UNESCO’s world heritage list, from Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula to Abu Simbel in the south near Sudan’s border. Additionally, there are 34 sites on the organization’s tentative list.  a group of people stand on the street in downtown Cairo, with a woman pointing at a building

But what constitutes cultural heritage?

Culture and heritage are abstract concepts, which makes the process of defining a specific property as “cultural heritage” difficult. This course aimed to understand who gets to decide what is cultural heritage and what social and political implications these decisions have. 

“Cultural heritage doesn’t just exist as such — It exists, but has to acquire the label of ‘“cultural heritage’” — part of what we will investigate is how the cultural heritage categorization goes through processes of codification and adoption,” reads the course description. “Global, national, and local agendas and efforts are part of these processes, as are international bodies and law, as well as state and civil society agendas.”

By providing an academic framework to this abstract question, the class asked students to address the roles of tourism and museums, changing environments and climate change, political forces, wars, ideologies and how people advocate for or against defining specific places as cultural heritage.two women stand in a gallery looking at a display of Arabic calligraphy

Bahia Shehab (MA ’09), professor of practice in AUC’s Department of the Arts and course leader, emphasized the courses experiential learning opportunities, such as museum visits, concerts and lectures from Egyptian visionaries — like architect May Al-Ibrahsy and Professor Hoda Elsadda, co-founder of the Women and Memory forum. “We wanted to expose students to culture in Egypt and the Arab world from different perspectives,” she said, “in hopes that they would understand how rich and multifaceted Arab culture is.”

For the students, “The course provided a platform for comparing cultures on a more comprehensive and relevant level,” reflected Nour Hassan ‘23, a graphic design major. “With the Georgetown students, we were able to delve further into our culture and see it from the perspective of an outsider.” 

The course culminated in a two-part final project. Georgetown students produced a grant proposal asking for funding to protect a certain cultural heritage project. AUC students then turned the proposal into a visual pitch booklet that aims to entice an external organization to invest in the project. 

In addition to a written project, Georgetown students also visited Egypt to see these cultural heritage properties in person. “The trip was fantastic,” stated Davis. “Egyptians are legendary for their warmth and generosity and it was so wonderful for my students to experience that.” 

Photos courtesy of Rochelle Davis


PhD Students from St. Thomas University Explore AUC, Egypt: 'The Hospitality Was Phenomenal'

Local to Global
Dalia Al Nimr
July 30, 2023

PhD students from St. Thomas University visited AUC for two weeks during the summer as part of the University's faculty-led program. Touring campus, attending classes and visiting sites around Cairo — including the pyramids, Islamic and Coptic Cairo, traditional craft markets such as Khan El Khalili and the Children’s Cancer Hospital 57357 — the students carried with them invaluable life lessons on culture and humanity.


Eight people stand next to the Nile smiling


“The hospitality has been phenomenal. Everyone’s been so welcoming. We went to a koshari restaurant, and the server showed us how to make it and was very hospitable. I’ve studied abroad before in India, so I had that kind of connection. I think the welcoming culture here has been something that I was very pleasantly surprised by. I am studying student affairs and work in career services, and here in Egypt, I'm specifically looking at the unemployment of young people. So I'm really excited to bring back what I've learned to support students who might face similar struggles in the U.S.”

Anna Smith 


“The campus is so beautiful. I love being here and walking around. Egypt feels like a very faraway place from my home in Minnesota, so being here and seeing how Egyptians live alongside what we studied about Pharaonic history when we were little kids is really valuable. Coming to have an experience like this and be able to stay for two weeks not just as a tourist but interacting with people is very important so that when we go back home, we can remind each other that the world is much bigger than what we see every day and that people are people wherever you go — to really remember the humanity in all of us.”

Courtney Cavalier

Find out more about AUC's study-abroad programs here


Sudan Split: Faculty Weight In On Conflict, Humanitarian Crisis

Local to Global
Abigail Flynn
May 16, 2023
Sudan flag with cracks depicting conflict in the country

Violence has erupted in Sudan as the two major militarized groups, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), have gone head-to-head in civilian-populated areas. With casualties rising and no resolution in sight, News@AUC interviewed two faculty members from the Department of Sociology, Egyptology and Anthropology, Assistant Professor and Associate Researcher Amira Ahmed and Assistant Professor Manuel Schwab, to explain the conflict, its impact on Sudanese citizens and what the international community can do to help.

 Causes of Conflict

The current fighting is the culmination of decades of turmoil in Sudan, but its most recent causes can be traced to Sudan’s 2019 revolution, which toppled former President Omar al-Bashir and briefly replaced him with a civilian government.

 “The Sudanese people were aspiring to remove a military fascist regime that had governed the country for 30 years,” explains Ahmed, who is a daughter of Sudanese immigrants living in Egypt. “Al-Bashir originally legally recognized the RSF to suppress rebellions on his behalf, but the leader of the RSF turned against al-Bashir when the revolution began.”

The 2019 revolution was successful in deposing al-Bashir but left a power vacuum in its wake. A civilian government ruled briefly but was quickly sidelined by the RSF and the SAF. While the two groups had collaborated to bring down the former regime, governing the country afterward proved controversial.

“The RSF was supposed to be integrated into the SAF, which would have created a unified army. That was Omar al Bashir’s plan to maintain power,” says Schwab. “But the integration was not completed by the time he was removed, leaving two groups competing for control who eventually turned on one another.

This scramble for power has proven catastrophic for Sudan as violence rules in the capital, Khartoum, and fighting is spreading throughout the country. The death toll on May 9 had risen to 604  according to the UN health agency. However, an accurate number of casualties may be higher due to complications with reporting. The severity of the conflict reminds some of the  genocide in Darfur in 2003, during which the RSF killed between 80,000 and 400,000 people and displaced nearly 3 million at the orders of al-Bashir.

Power of the People

This echo of history raises the question: After the successful, civilian-led revolution in 2019, how has the country descended into levels of chaos that have not been witnessed since 2003?

“The revolution in 2019 showed the incredible organizing capacity, tenacity, commitment and grassroots solidarity of Sudan,” states Schwab. “I believe Sudan is a place where the power has always been with the people. Unfortunately, the force has always been with the militaries and these groups took over the revolution for their own goals.”

The citizens of Sudan are keenly aware of the role of these armed forces in destabilizing their country. “The Sudanese people are calling for the SAF to go back to the barracks and the RSF to be dissolved,” Ahmed explains. “The people want a democratic civilian government, but first they need the violence to stop.”

 Human Impact

According to the United Nations, there are currently 4.3 million people in South Sudan who need humanitarian assistance, but the raging violence is making it difficult for supplies to be distributed. Additionally, nearly 2.3 million refugees from South Sudan are currently displaced and 63% of these refugees are children.

“People are dying from more than just bullets and bombs,” says Ahmed. “They are dying from a lack of food, medicine and water. They are dying from preventable diseases or injuries because their hospitals have been destroyed or occupied by armed forces.”

Egypt is a major location for Sudanese refugees to flee to, but supporting them is a difficult task. Ahmed and Schwab attempted to create a GoFundMe campaign to generate funds for arriving refugees, but the campaign was suspended within 72 hours. According to Ahmed and Schwab, this Is symptomatic of the financial distrust that is directed at Sudan.

Sanctions Are Not a Solution

“I will never understand why the international community does not pay attention to the terrible effects of financial and goods-based sanctioning on the Sudanese people,” says Schwab. “There is no evidence that sanctions have any influence on the decisions of these gold-rich governing elites, but there is plenty of evidence that they do real harm to civilians.”

According to Schwab, there is a contradiction between two cornerstones of international relationships with Sudan since it gained independence. The international community executes harsh sanctions to pressure the regime by squeezing its citizens while simultaneously providing humanitarian aid that is meant to offer relief. Together, the two produce a situation in which scarcity and need can be manipulated by various actors, international or domestic, leaving the people of Sudan to pay the price.

This allows the international community to appear invested in solving the problem, without addressing the core issue: International policy regards Sudan as a security problem, not a human catastrophe.

“International powers all see Sudan as a security threat, so they are more interested in ensuring stability than creating long-lasting peace. They want to back the right warlord who will keep Sudan managed, not help the Sudanese people build a civilian democracy,” he says.

The Way Forward

“We have to rethink the way the international community treats Sudan and must listen to the voices of Sudanese people,” says Ahmed. “We need to find a way to stop the violence, but allowing either the SAF or the RSF to rule the country will only lead to a military dictatorship. That may answer the security problem, but it won’t help bring peace to the people.”

Additionally, humanitarian aid needs to be expanded and sanctions rescinded, Schwab recommends. “We need to open up more channels for humanitarian aid alongside corridors of mobility for people to escape. We also need to communicate to our home governments that we do not support sanctions as a solution,” he says.

“Don’t forget Sudan,” Ahmed concludes. “Sudanese people are some of the most politically engaged in the world, but they need the safety and opportunity to build a peaceful future."


AUC Students Craft Sustainable Fishing Nets to Revive Local Village Economy

Local to Global
Devon Murray
March 28, 2023
four women in the AUC gardens

Armed with fruit and a desire to help the small Egyptian village of El Bahtiny in Ismailia, seniors Yara Yousry, Heidi Mahmoud, Aliaa Moussa and Mariam El-Halabi are working to fashion biodegradable fishing nets out of locally sourced, cost-effective banana fibers in order to revive the village’s ailing economy.

The four AUC students will be setting sail in Norway this fall after being selected among 15 teams for the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) program, Under the Starry Sky. The project also placed second in this year’s Student Union Real Life Competition at AUC.

The nine-month WFUNA program aims to empower young people who want to help promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by helping them implement an innovative and impactful project. 

“El Bahtiny village is beautiful but underprivileged. Our project aims to revive the village’s fishing community,” Mahmoud said.

Traditionally, fishing nets are made from nylon and silk — costly materials that recently, due in large part to the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, have become too expensive for the local community to purchase and use. “Sixty percent of the biomass of a banana tree goes to waste. It's locally available and a great solution to Egypt’s import and export issue,” said Moussa. 

Transforming a Village

Beyond developing the nets, the quartet is handling the logistics of sourcing banana fibers from the city of Sohag in Upper Egypt, as well as providing training for men and women alike in weaving the nets. “We especially want to incorporate women into our project,” Moussa said. “The village is very conservative, so teaching women how to make the nets at home will allow them to join the economy without breaking social norms.”

Down the road, the women hope that El Bahtiny will become an eco-tourism hotspot, similar to Fayoum’s Tunis Village. “We want it to become a place where people can spend the day fishing and getting to know the hospitable local community,” Moussa said.

With Mahmoud, Moussa and El-Halabi representing AUC’s mechanical engineering program and Yousry hailing from architecture, the group has received support from AUC faculty from both disciplines on the project, including Sherif Goubran, Momen El-Husseiny, Salah El Haggar and Hanadi Salem. Additionally, the program itself held an intensive four-day training in January to boost the team’s project management skills. 

“When I found out that we were selected, it felt like my future had just started – like this is what I'm gonna be doing for the rest of my life,” Moussa said.

Currently in the design and testing phase, the team will present the project at sea in Norway this September, with plans to create different types of nets for different fish down the line. 

“Working on this project has made me feel more ambitious in enacting change and impact within my community as an Egyptian,” Mahmoud added. “I am eager to seek more opportunities."



Women at AUC: Celebrating 95 Years

Local to Global
Abigail Flynn
March 2, 2023
Light brown box and black text at the top left hand side: “95 Years of Women at AUC.” On the right, a photo of Eva Habib El Masri ‘31, with the date 1928. Next, a black and white photo of two AUC women wearing black caps and gowns with the date 1953. Next, a black and white photo of a female student receiving an award, with the date 1978. Next,   a color photo of a woman graduating and wearing a cap and gown receiving her degree on stage with the date 2003. Last, a color photo of three women grads in 2023

AUC's first female student, Eva Habib El Masri '31, joined the University in 1928. 95 years later, AUC women have continued to raise the bar of excellence, from innovations in science and technology to shining successes in business and entrepreneurship. See the history of women at AUC, read about how women have #MadeAUCProud and learn more about the way AUC continues to encourage women's success. 


Infographic with a light brown box and black text at the top right hand side: “95 Years of Women at AUC.” On the top left, a photo of Eva Habib El Masri ‘31, with a light brown text box below it and the words “1 Female Student, 0 Female Faculty, 2 Female Staff.” Below on the right, a black and white photo of two AUC women wearing black caps and gowns, graduating in 1953,  with a light brown text box below it and the words, “147 Female Students, 1 Female Faculty, 11 Female Staff.” Below on the left, a black and white photo of a female student in 1978 receiving an award, with a light brown text box below it and the words “2,608 Female Students, 139 Female Faculty, 375 Female Staff.” Below it on the right, a color photo of a woman graduating and wearing a cap and gown receiving her degree on stage in 2003, with a light brown text box below it and the words “1,057 Female Students, 71 Female Faculty, 204 Female Staff.” Below it on the right, a color photo of three young women sitting at a graduation ceremony wearing caps and gowns in 2023,  with a light brown text box below it and the words “4,254 Female Students, 228 Female Faculty.”




Sara Sabry ‘16 became the first Egyptian Astronaut after flying to space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket in August 2022.

Sara Sabry '16 pictured smiling at the camera











Zainab Mahmoud ‘22, Fatma Elnefaly ‘22, Mayar Khairy ‘22 and Menna Soliman ‘22 were awarded the ministry shield by the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research for their work on developing self-luminous concrete for their graduation theses. 

Four AUC students stand with the Minister of Higher Education, holding ministry of shield awards and smiling at the camera











Multiple AUC alumnae were honored on Forbes Middle East’s 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen for 2023, inlduing Elham Mahfouz '84, Nadia Al Saeed (MBA '92), Abir Leheta '94, Dalia El Baz '95, Abeer Saleh '96, Omnia Kelig '99, Yasmine Khamis '99 and Farida Khamis '00.

Eight AUC alumnae are pictured smiling at the camera, with the Forbes Middle East logo in the bottom right corner










Two alumnae, Dina Aly '04 and Fatma El Shenawy ‘14, were honored for their innovation, risk-taking and business savvy at the 2022 Egypt Entrepreneur Awards. 

On the left, a picture of Dina Aly '04 crossing her legs while sitting on a chair and smiling at the camera; on the right, Fatma El Shenawy ‘14 stands on a stage and looks away from the camera while smiling and holding an award
Dina Aly '04 (left) and Fatma El Shenawy ‘14 (right)











Student athlete Aya Abbas '23 set a new African record and won a bronze medal at the 100m freestyle event at the World Para Swimming Championship in Portugal.

Aya Abbas '23 sits in a wheel chair wearing a swimsuit, swim cap and goggles in front of the AUC pool with her arms crossed, looking determined








Student athlete and squash player, Hania El Hammamy, won the CIB Egyptian Open and won the Everbright Securities International Hong Kong Squash Open title in 2022.

Hania El Hammamy stands smiling on a court while holding a squash trophy


Anne Aly ‘90 became Australia’s first Muslim Woman minister.

Photo of Anne Aly smiling at the camera










Noor Naga’s dark romance novel about the gaps in American identity politics, If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist



Noor Naga smiles at the cameraCover of the novel "If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English," a shirtless man holding a shield and dagger on the front cover










May El-Ibrashy, Egyptian architectural historian and adjunct professor in the Department of Architecture, won the Prince Claus Fund’s Impact Award. 

May El-Ibrashy smiles at the camera









Media and the Arts

Marianne Khoury ‘80, producer, director, writer and mentor, was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French head of state for her position as a bridge between artists and industry in Egypt and Europe. 

Marianne Khoury '80 smiles at the camera













Eight AUC women took home 13 awards at the 2022 Broadcast Education Association (BEA)’s Festival of Media Arts.

BEA Award Winners, eight photos of AUCian women











Board of Trustees Meets on Campus - Discusses Strategy, Community Initiatives

Local to Global
March 1, 2023
The Board of Trustees, faculty and staff visit Eltoukhy Learning Factory, pose in a line in front of lab equipment
Board members and guests, men and women wearing suits and white hard hats visit construction site
Board members, man in suit cuts red ribbon at opening ceremony of Eltoukhy Learning Factory, with other men and women in suits behind him
Board members, faculty and staff pose in a line in the desert in Faiyum

Board of Trustees Meets on Campus 

At its February Cairo meeting last week, AUC’s Board of Trustees engaged in a wide range of discussions including the impact of the most recent devaluation on the University, AUC’s strategic priorities, and updates on academic and student affairs, admissions, institutional advancement, finance, IT and campus facilities. The trustees also attended presentations on the reintegration of the Tahrir Square campus into the life of the University and the Mental Health and Well-Being Initiative, which was launched last summer to create a healthier campus environment for the AUC community.

Making use of their time on campus to connect with members of the community, the trustees sat in on several undergraduate classes, had lunch with students, continued a long-running tradition of dinners with faculty members in their homes and attended an alumni and donor event. They also met with the University Senate and faculty working on climate action. 

The trustees visited the newly launched Eltoukhy Learning Factory for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the School of Sciences and Engineering, an Open Studio Exhibition by graphic design and visual arts students and the opening of Piece of Mind, five original plays on mental health and well-being by AUC students and alumni. During their visit, the University launched the AUC Road to College program, the first-of-its-kind in Egypt providing free online English-language courses to prepare middle and high school students for university.

AUC’s Board of Trustees are volunteers from the United States, Egypt and around the world who contribute their time, expertise and financial resources to support the University, in addition to their fiduciary responsibilities. The trustees do not receive any compensation and come from a range of backgrounds. Meet members of AUC’s Board of Trustees.


Faculty Film 'The Wedding' Looks Beyond the Altar

Local to Global
March 1, 2023
Emiko stock

What's in a wedding? Emiko Stock, assistant professor of anthropology, explores this question and more in her film, The Wedding, which is being screened at the UK Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival and Conference this month. She will also be chairing and presenting at the festival a roundtable titled "Shadowing Meanings: the things we do (or not) with subtitles."

The festival can be attended online throughout March.

News@AUC caught up with Stock to learn more about the film and her research.

1. Tell us about your film, The Wedding.

The Wedding follows a day in a Cham Cambodian Muslim wedding. The film pays particular attention to the mundane gesturesThe wedding film poster

of turning a wedding into a "picture perfect" moment: a good prayer, a well-crafted meal, the well put together makeup-outfit-nails combo, the casual hanging outs, the laughs (or the boredom) and finally the ideal couple photograph.

2. What impact do you hope the film will have on viewers?

By layering gendered perspectives and breaking down the conventions of stability and singularity in camera movement and editing, the film aims to transcribe a partial experience: I hope viewers will leave the film thinking about how we all shape the peculiarity of any wedding, but also reflect on how all ethnographic and filmic endeavors are situated and textured.

3. Tell us about your research.

I work as a visual and historical anthropologist among Chams (a Muslim minority in Cambodia, which is a vastly Buddhist country). On one hand, I focus on how people think, use, and live with visual media (family photo albums, selfies, analog DIY practices, wedding videography...) but also how I, as an anthropologist doubling as photographer/filmmaker, can use the visual medium to tell alternative stories.

On the other hand, I also document Cham perspectives on a difficult history: one that requires silences, erasures and the refusal of archives. This is where visuals come to make even more sense: sometimes, when history is too hard to talk about, let alone inscribe, we need more than words. Images then, especially images considered as mundane, open a path through a history that can only be seen in its very absence.

4. What drew you to this topic?

My work in this community started very informally: I was first taken-in as a relative of sorts, but because I was always an amateur photographer/videographer, people would always ask me to come take pictures of their weddings. And since I always had an interest in history that was shared by many in the community, the two sides of the project sort of naturally merged together. 

The Wedding is an example of how this relationship materializes: it was first shot, edited and distributed for the families themselves. It's only later on that I started to look at the film in a different way, one that might be of interest to anthropologists and documentary filmmakers. For me this is an essential lesson of ethical grounding that anthropology brings to the world: how can we be with each other, in resonance and reciprocity, so that we can live a little better with ourselves?

5. Is your research related to the roundtable you are chairing? Can you talk a bit about this?

The roundtable that I am organizing and chairing titled "Shadowing Meanings: the things we do (or not) with subtitles" looks at how subtitles are used (and misused) in documentary filmmaking. We take a feminist and counter-colonial stand in our rationale: if subtitles often aim for accessibility, transparency and information, they also carry a certain violence. When we choose what to inscribe, we invariably also produce erasures. The roundtable aims to explore the various shapes and contexts of such erasures. 

What we ask ourselves is: what are the limits of subtitling? How can we embed documentary and ethnographic filmmaking in an opacity that is generative: one that relies on an active engagement with the medium rather than a passive consumption of clear-to-go meaning? The roundtable brings a wide range of case studies into discussion: from an analysis of classical Western ethnographic movies focusing on the audiences excluded by the subtitling process, to an examination of experimental media produced with refugee youth in Iran. Instead of aiming to produce content and information, we wonder if documentary could strive to bring viewers in the kind of attention and intentionality that brings us closer to life, and life's very own signature lack of clarity.

6. What are you teaching at AUC?

Next semester I will be teaching Film and Anthropology: Off-Screen Creativity in Cairo. The course aims to bring students of anthropology and film studies together to think through the idea of creation in the fields of film, video, and media making. I love teaching this course! For me it brings the best of both worlds: for students who have never taken a film class in their lives, it's a way to think about the medium and how it constructs our envisioning of the world. For students new to anthropology, it's a way to think about ethical avenues to document the world with constant wonder and generosity.


Sherif Kamel Talks Egypt's Top 3 Economic Challenges for 2023

Local to Global
February 28, 2023
A single Egyptian pound coin rolls on its side with the text "Where are headed" in the bottom left

With three currency devaluations in the last year and rising inflation, Egypt’s economic outlook for 2023 is riddled with uncertainty. News@AUC reached out to Sherif Kamel, dean of AUC’s School of Business, to identify the top three obstacles facing the economy at this time.

Here’s what he had to say:

  1. Global Recession, Rising Inflation

In 2023, Egypt’s economy will be challenging, given the expected repercussions of the global recession and the rising inflation, which has already crept in over the last several weeks. This will add more pressure on the government to take some structural reform actions and provide a more conducive environment for business and investments. Businesses will need to adapt to navigate these difficult times, while individuals must adjust and prioritize to absorb the impact on their lives and livelihoods.

  1. Currency Uncertainty

Today, the U.S. dollar is valued at 30.68 Egyptian pounds compared to 15.71 on the same day last year, losing 50 percent of its value in one year. This value is one of many indicators of the economy, but the question is––is the pound still overvalued? Does the current value reflect a complete float? Or is there more to come? It is worth noting that the Central Bank’s objective is not devaluation itself but rather reaching the actual value of the Egyptian pound, which would have multiple implications on several other economic elements. 

  1. Towards Transformation

The overall economic indicators have put more pressure on society. Therefore, in 2023 and beyond, the government is expected to make some timely decisions, including:

  • Transforming its role in the economy into an enabler, regulator and supporter of the private sector, helping it to grow and become more competitive.
  • Expediting structural reform and optimizing efficiency levels across the board through multiple approaches, including but not limited to digital transformation.
  • Making the country more inviting as a business destination for international investors, which can yield foreign direct investments across different economic sectors — not only in oil and gas.
  • Rationalizing public spending and focusing on sectors such as education and health.
  • Transforming export revenues by investing in critical sectors and industries where Egypt has a competitive edge, such as tourism. 
  • Leveraging cross-border trade in addition to working on reducing national debt.

In Conclusion

The list is long, but it is doable, and it could be a game-changer for a large and growing society with limited purchasing power yet enormous potential that is mostly untapped. The government is already discussing these issues. It is time to take action supported by economic policies and an empowered private sector that will act as a catalyst for foreign direct investments and create a wide range of economic opportunities for different segments of society.

Read more from Kamel on Egypt’s economic outlook in the Nile View