Monday, October 24, 2011

An Inspiring Meeting with the Organizers of the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt

With so many writing tasks and project management responsibilities from afar (in Singapore) it would be easy to lose connection with the communities at American University that have been so central in my life over the years. Sustaining ties to those communities, however, is one of the reasons I purchased a condo close to American University when I gave up my apartment in Anderson Hall.

Last Friday, afternoon, I took time off from proposal writing for a late-night conference call meeting with Singapore colleagues, to attend the International Development Program Student Association Friday Forum Series. The speakers were the Ahmed Maher, co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement (in Egypt) and Waleed Rashed, spokesperson for the movement. They mostly answered questions from an overflow crowd of about 400 in the School of International Service Founders Room. It was an inspiring event, I thought. Questions from audience members, many of them young-women SIS students with ties to the Middle East, were thoughtful and evocative. Both Waleed and Ahmed had spent time in jail, been subjected to beatings and torture by the Egyptian security forces, and lost relatives and friends. However they were upbeat about their experiences, viewing the the future with a mix of realism and good humored optimism.

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