Tag Archives: The American University in Cairo

Barack Obama brings a new era in US politics, AUC professor says

By Safaa Ali

With Barack Obama’s election a new era in American politics is about to unfold, but he may be just a one-term president, said Patrick Mason, assistant professor of history at The American University in Cairo.

The next four years will be a chance to forge a real peace process between nations, Mason told an audience at Moataz Al Alfy Hall, during his lecture on “Analyzing Obama’s election and its impact on the Middle East.” 

“We have to get the most out of this,” said Mason, who is also acting director of the American studies center.

The professor called the recent elections the most significant in the history of the United States. “Finally the dream of Dr. Luther King came true,” he said. “The election gave hope for a whole generation.”

Obama is being guided by five priorities as he enters the Oval Office, Mason said-fixing the U.S., economy, finding alternative energy resources, health care reform, tax reform and education.

Obama is influenced by two political legacies, the Clinton administration and the Kennedy administration.

“Obama wants to use diplomacy instead of cowboy policies used by Bush,” he said.

Mason said that Obama is concerned of the Middle Eastern issues as well as fighting terrorism. He intends to pursue negotiations with other nations including Iran and Syria, and adopting new techniques in fighting terrorism like in Afghanistan, for instance, building schools and cities rather than killing people.

Above all, the President elect is committed to withdraw U.S troops from Iraq within 16 months. “He does not want to be involved in a new war,” said Mason.

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To our loyal readers, a public service announcement

Dear Caravan readers,

If you picked up a copy of the Caravan this week, we hope you understood, it was all a joke. Following the tradition of all college newspapers, this was an end-of-the-semester parody issue.

Why? First, it was an exercise in satire, something that isn’t done much in this part of the world. Maybe if we learned to laugh at our problems more, they wouldn’t seem so insurmountable.

Secondly, it was commentary on some of the more ridiculous things we’ve observed this semester — pandemonium breaking out because of a fox on campus, the never-ending exodus of dorm students, the food situation on campus, and all the perceptions and rumors about AUC that never seem to die.

So, really, AUC isn’t moving back to Tahrir, dorm students will not have to beg, a certain spy agency won’t be operating on the old campus, djinns aren’t stealing stuff on campus, La-Z boy isn’t installing moving sidewalks on campus, Delicious Inc isn’t employing secret police … you get the picture.

Of course, if you were offended by the issue’s dark brand of humor, we apologize for hurting your feelings. Thanks for being such good sport, and such dedicated readers. It really is a pleasure to report about the things that matter to you, and we’re lucky to have you as readers. We’re all hoping for a better (happier) semester in the new year. Good luck on your exams!

The Staff.

P.S. ‘Bigfoot’ is a mythical creature said to roam the forests of North America. Please Google him to see the infamous picture we used. So no, a gorilla did not run wild on campus. No need to be scared.

P.P.S. A ‘label whore’ is not a prostitute. A label whore is someone “who only wears brand name clothes, with the name of the brand usually placed somewhere for all to see. A walking advertisement for a clothing store or brand.”

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=label%20whore

http://www.racialicious.com/2008/01/16/label-makers-the-stereotype-of-the-middle-eastern-label-whore/

P.P.P. S. Stop trying to solve the crossword. Hint: Only two answers work. Down 1, 7.

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Playing with your veil is sexy

By Menna Taher

“How many of you flirted to get your way?” Anne Justus, an AUC psychology professor, asked a room-full of students. Hesitant looks exchanged about the room. “C’mon, I’m sure you flirted to get a better price or avoid standing in a cue before,” she pressed. Slowly hands were raised.

According to Justus, different cultures have different ways of flirting. Tossing the hair is a classic way of flirting and since in Egypt, many women are veiled, constant fiddling with the veil indicates flirtation.

“Flirting is harmless fun,” Justus said, during a lecture held by the Psychology Club on the art of flirting.

Justus is an assistant professor of psychology at AUC, and has introduced several hit classes, including the Psychology of Love.

Justus explained the purpose of flirtation varies. One wouldn’t approach a summer fling the way they would a potential partner, she said.

She introduced seven steps to the art of flirting. “Meet my boyfriend Bill,” Justus joked as former US President Bill Clinton appeared on her slide show. “Bill Clinton is one of the best flirts.”

The first rule of flirting is confidence; the way someone walks indicates their level of confidence. “By walking confidently you will actually feel confident,” she said.

Another important technique is zooming in, which involves concentrating on one person through a crowd. “Clinton was very good at that,” Justus commented.

Different smiles also give away signals; a pleasant smile makes you more attractive. “But don’t give out a creepy smile,” Justus said, explaining what a creepy smile is by baring her teeth.

Telling jokes, asking for favors, and giving compliments were all listed as ways of making the target of your flirtation feel good about themselves. “But they have to be true,” Justus said. “You can’t tell a short person that he’s the manliest and tallest guy you’ve ever met.”

Justus also pointed out ways of knowing if someone is flirting with you; a man lending a woman his jacket is a sure sign whilst women will show their wrists to increase the attention and show they’re interested back.

“That’s why when you see a couple holding hands in a restaurant the girl’s hand would be facing upward,” Justus said. The cowpoke stance is one to show that a man is interested. A man stands with his thumbs in his pockets and his fingers pointing at his genitals. “It’s subconscious of course.”

Students laughed and related the techniques to their own flirting ways.

“Flirting makes you feel better,” said Nada El Araby, a psychology major. “The lecture was a lot of fun.”

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Model United Nations attracts less because of AUC move

By Menna Taher

Despite its popularity among student organizations, the Model United Nations is having difficulty in recruiting members for its spring conference.  

Though the last day to sign up for MUN is on Thursday, conference secretariats say recruitment has been lower than in previous semesters. 

“Until now, there are 267 applicants,” said Sally Sabbahy, a secretariat in The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. “We barely meet the minimum, which is usually 600 applicants.” 

MUN has seven different councils; The European Union-African Union Summit, The Human Rights Council, The International Court of Justice, The Peace Building Commission, The Security Council, The United National Office on Drugs and Crime and The World Economic Forum.  

“Each of the councils recruits at least 50 people,” Sabbahy said. “We also have to take into consideration that many of the participants will drop out in the first weeks. That’s why we recruit many people.” 

The schedule is pre-arranged and is connected, so any delay would affect the planned dates for the conference. 

“It would be ridiculous to hold a conference with this amount of people,” Sabbahy said. “We can’t have a Security Council of nine countries.” 

However, Kismet El Husseiny, MUN Secretary General, believes that there’s always a drop in the applicants at a certain phase during the semester. “It’s not uncommon,” he said. “People start to flood in during the last 10 days of recruitment.”  

Secretariats and the Organizing Committee prepare for the event a year in advance and put a lot of effort in holding a conference.  

“We have to prepare a background paper, which has the main topics we’re intending to discuss and we also attend trainings to practice communication and presentation skills by former Secretariats,” said Hend El Zawahry, a secretariat in The Security Council.  

“We work for eight months,” said Sara Negm, the head of the OC. “But those participating know they will work beforehand. However, the load of work decreases at the peak of exams.”  

Negm said that two committees were established this semester. The Environmental Program and the Awareness Program, which held the Peace For One Day campaign. 

MUN members said The American University in Cairo’s move had a significant impact on the club.  Due to the distance of the campus, applicants from Cairo and Ain Shams Universities decreased from previous years.  

According to Shireen Wissa, a member of the External Public Relations Committee, said another reason for the decrease was that Cairo University and Misr International University have their own MUN now and professors are not as lenient with giving out absence and exams excuses as before.  

Arranging buses on Saturday to attend sessions also poses a budget problem.

“AUC has offered to compensate for the costs of the buses for the Junior CIMUN, [which was held in October],” El Husseiny said. “But we still didn’t receive anything”  

CIMUN members are trying to get around limitations on sponsorship, which have changed since recent years due to a contract signed between The American University in Cairo and Delicious Inc., the food consortium currently running campus outlets.

“Instead of getting the sponsor on campus, we take their products and sell them ourselves. We got tickets for the Arabs Gone Wild comedy show and had the fundraising committee sell them,” El Husseiny said.

Nevertheless, some active participants still sign up despite transportation hardships.  

Sharmake Mohamed is a Somali student and an active participant in MUN conferences.  

“I come from a country that has witnessed a two-decade civil war,” Mohamed said. “I want to learn more about foreign policies to help out my country.” 

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AUC girls in the city

Marley Gibbons

Choice Middleton and her friends found a place to live in Zamalek. Photo: Marley Gibbons

By Marley Gibbons

At night, the view from Choice Middleton’s penthouse apartment is panoramic, as Cairo spreads out below in a neon glow.

She and five other girls lounge in their living room. They have just moved into the four-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment in Zamalek. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling and a twister mat is on the floor.

Only last month, all six roommates were living in the engineering hotel in Heliopolis. They had grown frustrated with the inability of The American University in Cairo to provide housing for its foreign students.

“It came to be that they couldn’t tell us where we were going to live in the next three weeks, they couldn’t give us a straight answer,” said Middleton, a 19-year-old biomedical engineering major.

At the start of the semester, there were more than 400 students signed up for on-campus housing, but they have been staying at military-operated hotels and the Maadi hotel since the university announced student housing would not be complete this semester.

Officials promised first that dormitories would be done by October. But they now say on-campus housing will not be complete by the spring semester.

Middleton and her roommates decided they could do better.

“We made our own answer,” said Mel Hendrik, an international studies major. After some hunting with a real estate broker, they came upon this marble-covered apartment.

The girls came together, having met on the way to Egypt, or ended up as roommates in the military hotel. Uniting them was a feeling of isolation in Heliopolis.

“The hotel was fine, (but) I would not want to have lived there for the whole time,” said 20-year-old Brittney Parsells. “It was more the area than the hotel.”

Each now pays 1500 LE a month for their share of the Zamalek apartment, which fits into the 1770 LE housing budget they get.

They enjoy being in a bustling neighborhood of the island section.

“Zamalek is where the party is at,” Middleton said. In Heliopolis, they spent more than 150 LE on cab rides in one weekend riding to and from downtown.

“I like being able to have anyone over that I want,” Hendriks said. There is already a steady stream of friends coming through the apartment.

The apartment’s washer machine and four hundred satellite channels don’t hurt, either.

“I finally feel like I’m in Egypt,” Parsells said. “There’s so much to do in Zamalek. It’s further from campus, but it’s closer to everything else we want.”

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Nine injured in third accident involving AUC bus service

familybusBy Caravan Staff

The American University in Cairo reported that a Family Transport bus was involved in an accident on Saturday, the third such incident since the school semester began.

The minibus was carrying 22 AUC custodial staff when it hit a large truck on the Ring Road at 4 p.m., about 23 kilometers from the campus near of the JW Marriott, according to an AUC release.

Twelve passengers were taken to a hospital, nine were treated for minor injuries, the release said. 

This is the third accident involving a Family Transport bus, which has been hired by AUC for transport services on a $2 million contract.

Last week, a bus coming from Heliopolis collided with the rear end of a black Pajero on the Suez Desert Road.

The first incident was on Oct. 20, when a bus collided with a construction tractor on the Kattameya Road. No one was injured in that accident.

University officials said in their contract with Family Transport, the bus service provides for liability in the case of a serious accident. However, some legal experts say AUC is not indemnified if a passenger were to sue them for injuries sustained in an accident.

For more on AUC’s possible legal liability with Family Transport, read this week’s Caravan, out now.

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Atta released with an order from Interior Minister

By Asmaa El Gammal

Ihab Atta, the detained fellow from The American University in Cairo, was released from prison last night upon an order from the Egyptian Interior Minister.

Atta was received by family members and AUC professor Saeed El Wakeel, one of Atta’s colleagues at the Arabic Language Insittute.

Atta’s colleagues were ecstatic about his release.

“This is a dream I’ve had for several years to come and it came true very early,” El Wakeel said.

Atta will be going to a hospital tomorrow to get a physical check-up, his colleagues said. Those who visited him during his detainment reported he had been suffering from health problems.

The Committee for the Defense of Ehab Atta was planning a march on Dec. 1 to demand his release or fair trial. The group had previously organized a sit-in on Oct. 27 with the same demands.

El Wakeel believes the sit-in caused the authorities to look into Atta’s case and discover his innocence.

Committee members say the Dec. 1 march will likely be replaced by a celebration of Atta’s release.

Atta was arrested by Egyptian National Security in January 2007 for unknown reasons and had been detained ever since.

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