Dina SAMY. 'A sailor in the sea of life, knowledge is my lifejacket, insistence is my paddle, and ambition is my net. I enjoy tasting the first caught fish, and have earned high scores during my university studies in Kuwait, where my parents work at a shipping port. After graduation, I began working at the Maaan Foundation as Marketing and Public Relations Specialist advocating on behalf of disadvantaged youth. There, I worked on leadership development for second generation advocates and activists in the Public Relations field. Recently I’ve discovered a passion for entrepreneurship and plan to use my expertise to enhance women’s enlightenment. I joined CILAS to explore further how to create a socially conscious business that propels and supports women in their trajectory towards liberation.'
Jonah STONE. 'I am Sudanese by nationality, born in 1987 in South Kordofan State, Nuba mountain region, Hieban County, in the Locholo area. I was a student at Kauda High School from 2008- 2009, and Juba Union High School in 2010. Because of the war that broke out during 2011 in South Kordofan State, I wasn’t able to enroll at university. Policies applied by the Sudanese government made it nearly impossible for me to access university; by denying my right to participate, I was excluded and made a tool of the state in every aspect. I was accused of being or supporting the rebels, and was confined within the country before the triumph of my departure. When I entered CILAS for the first time I smelled the aroma of knowledge whispering in my ears. I joined CILAS to discover the innermost thoughts and ideas that my heart has been searching for since childhood. Growing up I was considered the zero class, but because of CILAS I may one day engage with profound ideas and, if we still exist in this world, may one day even challenge them. I gain understanding at CILAS from the diverse student community made up of different levels of experience and knowledge, all learning actively through imagination, normalizing the idea of a community where each person contributes his or her own perspective and point of view. CILAS has inspired me with big ideas. I used to think of these ideas as remote and extraordinary, but through CILAS the connection between these ideas and the world seems to be coming closer. At CILAS, the drivers and articulators of learning possess the expert capability of existing within the complex conjunction of fragility and concreteness. With them I am confidently serving my community by offering myself as a teacher.'
Nariman MOUSTAFA. 'When not grappling with questions about life and a higher sense of being or looking for new adventures, I help build a global network of leading social entrepreneurs and young changemakers. I am a Change Manager at Ashoka Arab World organization. I have pursued my passion for the social service sector since high school despite the absence of a formal educational path for this work in the Egyptian university system. In 2011 I earned a Bachelor of Dental Sciences, but behind the scenes I continued to do community development work. During university, I co-founded and led the Ain Shams University chapter for the international organization Enactus, formerly known as SIFE, to respond positively to local community challenges with a free enterprise, self-organizing mindset. Witnessing first-hand, bottom-top change happening on a mass scale during the 2011 Egyptian revolution, I felt the urgent need to permanently shift career paths and devote my full self to enacting social change in Egypt. I have worked across different fields like income generation, youth empowerment, education and inter-cultural dialogue. CILAS is a step in my journey of self-discovery and development of a mindset that enables me to meaningfully contribute to the change needed in my community. I am passionate about education and diversity issues – an area where I aspire to leave my own footprint. CILAS offers me a diverse community of students and teaching fellow peers to engage with in critical thinking and a discussion-based framework of learning where I feel like an active participant in the co-creation of knowledge. I am nourished by societies and individuals that embody values of empathy, team work, collaboration and devotion. When not at CILAS or at work, you can find me engaging with Egypt's art scene especially the independent theater movement where I direct plays!'
Nazih HALLOUDA. 'I am a basketball player, knowledge seeker and future permaculturist. Basketball has taught me to work within a team and contribute to a collective effort. Off the court, my teammates and I have discovered different parts of Egypt and played cards long into the night. Bike rides through a vibrant, chaotic yet polluted Cairo on the way to study statistics at Cairo University have left me searching for alternative experiences that enable me to learn, thrive, and contribute meaningfully to this this city. I joined CILAS to access new ideas and participate in a flow of discussion that touches upon my most pressing concerns. In a time where the air, water, and food are contaminated, we must step back and reflect on our way of coexisting with the world around us. In 2014, I completed a permaculture design course in Laos. The healthy and holistic approach to life expressed through the permaculture movement has planted in me the seeds of a new career path.'
Olfat SAKR. 'In my second year of college I realized that a degree in Computer and Information Sciences was not for me; I graduated anyway and after several years of working a boring desk job, I decided to explore where my interests actually lie. I am passionate about building bridges between people from different cultures and faiths. I completed the World Youth Alliance’s training and became a certified member. To facilitate cross-cultural dialogue for their Connect Program I attended Soliya facilitation trainings. In addition, I volunteer online with an educational interfaith organization based in the US called MyJihad Campaign. Moreover, in order to inspire women to lead healthier lifestyles, I took a Group Fitness Instructor course. Last summer, after handing in my resignation from work in order to pursue my interests and possibly apply for a Master’s degree, I stumbled upon CILAS and found it the perfect fit for my transitional phase. At CILAS, I seek knowledge, learn more about myself, and learn more about how the world works. I also hope that I am helping others on their journey as well. It is the perfect place for self-reflection, challenging myself, and meeting people from different backgrounds.'
Sohila MOHAMED. 'The personal is political. Born in 1992 I was raised in Egypt where girls' and women’s rights have been gradually taken away; this is where my character and interests have been formulated. Freshly after graduating from five years of medical study in the faculty of clinical pharmacy, I decided to shift careers. I have been interested in feminism related issues since I was 11 years old and am a believer that concrete life choices are best made after exploring many options. To this end, I was selected as a Lazord Fellow at the John Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the AUC; I spent a year writing Harmonia Novel, a project dear to my heart, that received the Sawiris Cultural Award. Currently I work at the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW). CILAS is a place where I find myself. Participating in animated discussions among the diverse voices at CILAS makes me understand better how healthy, vibrant communities operate and their power in making the world a less miserable place. Words of wisdom that I live by say that the real change that you can spark in this world is finding your passion—the thing that's burning inside of you—and consistently following it, instead of pursuing the change that is only immediate.'
Ayesha MUALLA obtained a Master's degree in Media and Cultural Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai after graduating from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Ayesha has worked as a Research Fellow at TISS, Hyderabad. She also had a short stint with journalism contributing to Deccan Chronicle and Tehelka magazine. Ayesha joins CILAS with three years of experience with the Ministry of Higher Education in Oman serving as faculty member at the College of Applied Sciences, Nizwa. Her research areas include Art, Popular Culture, Identity and Social Media. A keen photographer, she tries to capture the unexplored in her frames and discover spaces through photo walks. As a fellow at CILAS she coordinates the field of study Arts and directs CILAS' Media Lab.
Karim-Yassin GOESSINGER studied political philosophy and urban governance in the Netherlands, Brazil and France. He has worked with a range of development agencies in Latin America and the Middle East in fields including micro-finance, informal housing and local governance. In addition to his strong interest in social and political theory, Karim-Yassin is passionate about designing educational experiences. A Dalai Lama Fellow, he enjoys martial arts, language, world music and tea. After his graduate studies at Sciences Po Paris, he set out to create the Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CILAS). As a fellow at CILAS, he coordinates the field of study Social Sciences and co-directs the yearlong study programme in the liberal arts.
Pam LABIB completed graduate studies in environmental science at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Her mind has boggled with questions about who we are in relation to the world around us - questions that are contextualised in the worlds we imagine of birds, dolphins, coral reefs and sea turtles. Pam has employed both experiential and inquiry based methodologies in her teaching. At CILAS she will adopt phenomenological and relevance approach to education incorporating reflexive ethnographic approaches to uncover nuances of power relations when it comes to the worlds we inhabit and imagine. As a fellow at CILAS, Pam coordinates coursework in the field of study Natural Sciences and serves as Space Director.
Alia MOSSALAM has two passions. One is working with children using colors and the other is listening to people tell stories. Alia has recently completed a PhD that explores a popular history of Nasserist Egypt, through the stories told, and songs sung by the people behind the 1952 revolution, namely the workers who built the Aswan High Dam, the Nubians displaced by it, and the members of the resistance in Port Said and Suez, in 1956 and 1967 respectively. This is part of her continued research and interest in the stories behind the popular movements and revolutions that make Egyptian history but are seldom told. She is now engaged in a number of projects teaching youth inside and outside of academic institutions all over Egypt - and occasionally beyond - to dig deeper into their own personal and communal histories and explore ways to re-tell them creatively. She continues to look for these stories, and songs, in an attempt to recover a lost history of popular movements; and in hopes that one day, we may write our own.
Farida MAKAR obtained a graduate degree in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford. In her Master's thesis she looked at teacher training in Egypt at the turn of the 20th century. As an undergraduate at AUC, she double-majored in political science and history focusing primarily on the history of formal education in Egypt. Farida has conducted research on nationalism in Egyptian textbooks throughout the twentieth century. She is interested in the interplay between nationalism and education, methods of self-organisation, alternative education, music and socio-economic rights. She is naturally drawn to anything remotely related to modern Egyptian history or earrings. Farida returns to CILAS as visiting fellow in the field of study Culture to coordinate the thematic course History of Education.
Nayera ABDEL RAHMAN studied in the French section of the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences at Cairo University. She pursued further study in Political Sociology at the Sorbonne in Paris where she obtained a Master's degree in 2013. In her thesis she looked at the 'associative actions' taken to promote education in Egypt between 2000 and 2011. Nayera co-founded of Education Square - a social initiative aiming at providing space for education practitioners in Egypt to network, share knowledge, collaborate and promote creative solutions to educational problems. She is a firm believer in bottom-up approaches to development. Her research interests are alternative education, social activism, youth and historical approaches. Nayera is joining CILAS as visiting fellow in the field of study Culture to coordinate the thematic course History of Education.
Nermine WALLY holds a BA in Political Economy from the American University in Cairo and a MA in Public Affairs from the Sciences Po Paris. She is a policy professional with more than a decade of experience in gender issues, poverty mitigation and participatory initiatives. As Programme Officer with the UN in Egypt her portfolio focuses on reporting, monitoring and evaluating key initiatives linked to the World Food Progra. Nermine has also served as President for the African Evaluation Association, a pan-African organisation dedicated to strengthening evaluation theory and practice in Africa. From 2010 to 2013 she served as Secretary for the International Organisation on Cooperation for Evaluation (IOCE) and is a founding member of both the Egyptian Evaluation Network and the Middle East and North Africa Evaluation Network. Nermine joins CILAS as visiting fellow offering a course on evaluation theory and practice.
Anne MISHKIND is passionate about education as a holistic transformative process, and as a means to increase opportunity, economic mobility, and meaningful participation in the political process. As an undergraduate at NYU's Gallatin School she concentrated in philosophy; a graduate student at the University of Cambridge she studied political thought and intellectual history. Anne is interested in the role of education in shaping shared social and cultural values, political identity, and a common sense of political purpose. Her past experience includes education policy analysis, working with at-risk middle and high school students, and teaching basic education courses for adults. In addition to her role as visiting fellow at CILAS, she works as an education policy analyst at the American Institutes for Research, focusing on issues of equity and access for low-income, minority, and first-generation college students in the US.
René BOER holds a Master's degree in Urban Studies from University College London's Urban Laboratory. He works as an urban and architectural researcher in Cairo and is affiliated with the Amsterdam-based research foundation Failed Architecture; and various urban social movements. His work focuses on grass root urban practices, architecture's urban afterlife and artistic representations of the built environment. In the past, he has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of media outlets in Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories. He has also been associated with the urban research collectives Citymine(d) in Barcelona, ICAHD in Ramallah/Jerusalem and Archis/Volume in Amsterdam. René joins CILAS as visiting fellow in the fields of study Arts and Natural Sciences, and will coordinate the thematic courses Art and the City, and Urban Resilience.
Shaimaa MAGUED is lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University. Previously she served as Research Fellow at the Center of Migrations and Refugees Studies at the American University of Cairo (AUC) in 2012. Shaimaa obtained a PhD degree from SciencesPo Aix in France in International Relations after pursuing post-graduate studies at Sciences Po Paris. She was awarded a 'Building Next Scholars’ Fulbright scholarship as well as a French Government Scholarship to pursue her studies. Her research interests and publications look at Middle East politics, Political Islam, Egyptian Foreign Policy, Turkish politics, Turkish-Arab relations and the Arab Uprising. Shimaa has been affiliated with the French Institute of Anatolian Studies (IFEA) in Istanbul, the CEDEJ in Cairo and the National Security Department at the Arab League in Cairo. A visiting fellow at CILAS in the Social Sciences, Shaimaa will be coordinating the thematic course Rethinking Morality in International Relations.