The Summer School, held at Cairo University September 6-12, has provided its participants with a unique joint teaching and learning experience, bringing together excellent students from Egypt, Jordan, Libya and Germany. We tried to condense the curiosity of students and the experience of instructors from four countries in a joint seminar on “Transformations in the Euro-Mediterranean Region after 2011”.
The Transformations in the Euro-Mediterranean Region after 2011 summer school was organized at Cairo University in September 2014. The summer school comprised of introductory sessions on the critical and deconstructivist approaches to the social sciences, perceptions of ‘Self and Other’, constitutional politics and transformations in light of Arab uprisings, civil society activities, economic challenges, and migration issues in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
In addition to instruction, students and lecturers engaged in four working-group sessions where they developed and produced poster presentations emphasizing students interactions aimed at problematizing stereotypes and common wisdoms. In addition, students engaged with the constitutions of Germany, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, and Tunisia in group work analysing differences, transformations, and shortcomings of constitutional frameworks in these respective countries. The summer school also included keynote speeches and discussion sessions with a group of Egyptian activists, officials, and academics as well as a visit to and meetings with officials and political and media practitioners at the League of Arab States in Cairo. A didactically innovative “Dialogue Café” was organized with a group of Egyptian activists where students discussed freely and in a loosely-organized manner with labour unionists, human rights defenders, and civil society activists.
The summer school was concluded with a public event held at the DAAD country office in Cairo featuring an open debate on the state of the social sciences and institutions of higher education in light of the popular uprisings in the Arab world. The event, which attracted journalists, Egyptian academics, and stakeholders in higher education, was held under the theme Transformations of Social Sciences after the Arab Uprisings. With the help of students from Cairo University, summer school participants benefited from peer-to-peer guided trips to cultural institutions, events, and various quarters of the city.
The Summer School encompassed, among others, the following activities and opportunities:
• introductory sessions to the main topics of the Summer School (Perception of the Self and Other, Constitutional Changes, Civil Society Activities, Economic Challenges, Migration);
• group work sessions with poster creation, interaction to break up stereotypes, reading and joint analysis of constitutions, consultation teams on current affairs of the respective countries;
• lectures and discussions on Egyptian and international politics with high ranking officials of the Egyptian government and the Arab League (Ambassador Nehad Abdel Latif and His Excellency Omnia Taha);
• lectures and discussions with Egyptian academics on the topics of migration and transformation (Dr. Ibrahim ‘Auwad and Prof. Bahgat Korany);
• Dialogue Café and exchange with Egyptian activists (Heba Khalil, Wael Eskander, Dr. Sally Toma, Naiera Magdy);
• City Tour with Egyptian activists and students (i.e. Khaled Fahmi);
• Visit to the Arab League;
• Invitation to the DAAD roundtable on “The Transformation of Social Sciences after the Arab Uprisings”;
• Cultural events (Dervish Show, trip on the Nile, trip to the Pyramids, visit to Khan Khalili).