December 23rd, 2009
Editor: Graham Harman,
Associate Vice Provost for Research
Editorial Assistant: Samah Abdel-Geleel,
Graduate Studies and Faculty Research Coordinator
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Several opportunities for faculty to learn about and present on-campus research will soon be announced. An exciting new campus lecture series will be sponsored by the Office of the Provost beginning next semester (details forthcoming). Meanwhile, the Office of the Vice Provost will soon be advertising this year’s version of AUC’s annual Research Conference.
Concerning the Research Conference, we would like to encourage as many faculty members as possible to submit proposals, especially those who have never done so before. The dates for this year’s Conference are April 10-12, 2010. This is a golden opportunity to organize a panel of your colleagues to present work-in-progress to the AUC community. Expect a campus-wide email about the Conference in the coming weeks.
Dr. Ferial Ghazoul has also asked us to share some information about the current and past issues of Alif, one of AUC’s flagship journals:
“In line with the Vice Provost’s idea of a ‘research community’ we would like to emphasize not only individual publications but also teamwork that produces research involving the community (through contributions, refereeing, editing, advising, etc). Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, a refereed journal published annually by the American University in Cairo, is an example of such a spirit. Each issue is devoted to a theme and includes articles in English, Arabic, and occasionally French by leading and emerging scholars from Egypt and the rest of the world. The most recent issue (ALIF 29) published in summer 2009 revolved around the theme of ‘The University and Its Discontents’ and was guest edited by Dr. Robert Switzer (Dept. of Philosophy). Each issue is sold for only 20 LE in Egypt (at AUC Bookstores and at the Department of English and Comparative Literature, AUC), so as to make it tempting for students to buy and for professors to assign to students. The themes are wide-ranging and the articles in each issue cover different disciplines.
Back issues that are still available are:
• ALIF 10 (1990): Marxism and the Critical Discourse
• ALIF 11 (1991): Poetic Experimentation in Egypt since the Seventies
• ALIF 12 (1992): Metaphor and Allegory in the Middle Ages
• ALIF 13 (1993): Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights in the Humanities
• ALIF 14 (1994): Madness and Civilization
• ALIF 15 (1995): Arab Cinematics: Toward the New and the Alternative
• ALIF 16 (1996): Averröes and the Rational Legacy in the East and the West
• ALIF 17 (1997): Literature and Anthropology in Africa
• ALIF 18 (1998): Post-Colonial Discourse in South Asia
• ALIF 19 (1999): Gender and Knowledge: Contribution of Gender Perspectives to Intellectual Formations
• ALIF 20 (2000): The Hybrid Literary Text: Arab Creative Authors Writing in Foreign Languages
• ALIF 21 (2001): The Lyrical Phenomenon
• ALIF 22 (2002): The Language of the Self: Autobiographies and Testimonies
• ALIF 23 (2003): Literature and the Sacred
• ALIF 24 (2004): The Archeology of Literature: Tracing the Old in the New
• ALIF 25 (2005): Edward Said and Critical Decolonization
• ALIF 26 (2006): Wanderlust: Travel Literature of Egypt and the Middle East
• ALIF 27 (2007): Childhood: Creativity and Representation
• ALIF 28 (2008): Artistic Adaptations: Approaches and Positions
The most recent issue include the following articles:
• Bruce Foltz (Eckerd College): One-Dimensional Learning: The Dialectic of Sacred and Secular as the Enduring Possibility of the University
• John Kress (Emory University): University and Stasis: Four Rival Ideas of a University
• Robert Frodeman and Jennifer Rowland (University of North Texas): De-Disciplining the Humanities
• Karyn Ball (University of Alberta): Melancholy in the Humanities: Lamenting the “Ruins” of Time between Bill Readings and Augustine
• Henry A. Giroux (McMaster University): The Politics of Higher Education and the Militarized Academy after 9/11
• Stephen Germic (Rocky Mountain College): The Neoliberal University: Theory and Practice
• Sara Nimis (Georgetown University) and Stephen Nimis (Miami University of Ohio): WANTED: Languages, Dead or Alive
• Barbara Harlow (University of Texas at Austin): Public Spheres, Personal Papers, Pedagogical Practices: Ruth First’s Academic Postings to/from Dar es Salaam and Maputo
• Peter Cook (Anglia Ruskin University): Scholarship and Integrity: Matthew Arnold’s “The Scholar-Gipsy” and Anita Desai’s “Scholar and Gypsy”
• Ali Mabrook (Cairo University): From Hard Force to Soft Force: Nahda Project from Army to University
• Mona Tolba (Ain Shams University): The Metaphor of the University: The University as If …
• Anwar Moghith (Helwan University): Education and Citizenship: A Study of Ahmed Lutfi Al-Sayyid’s Political Ideology
• Kamal Mougheeth (Al Azhar University): University and Politics: Glorious Past, Rich Experiences, Miserable Reality
• Mohamed Aboulghar and Madiha Doss (Cairo University): For a Better University: March 9 Group
• Samy Soliman (Cairo University): Orientalism and the History of Arabic Literature: Carlo Nallino as a Case Study
• Doaa Embabi (Ain Shams University): English Literature in the Egyptian University: A View from Within
• Faten Morsy (Ain Shams University): The University in The Open Door and Atyaf
• Magda Mansour Hasabelnaby (Ain Shams University): The Image of the University and its Implication in Selected Twentieth-Century American Literary Texts
• Muhsin Mahdi (Chicago and Harvard Universities): Years of Chicago: Forming a Soul (translated by Bayoumi Kandil)
• Nasr Abu Zayd (Leiden University): Islamic Studies in the University: An Interview
Forthcoming issues include:
ALIF 30 (2010): Trauma and Memory
ALIF 31 (2011): The Other Americas
For further information contact Mr. Walid El Hamamsy, Editorial Manager of ALIF, tel 27975107 or Omneya Ali (ECLT Dept. Staff) tel 26151628.
(For ALIF Team) ”
This week, the Faculty Profile feature makes its first visit to the new School of Business (SoB). We can think of no one better to start with than Dr. Sherif Kamel, the School’s energetic new Dean. Sherif is certainly no stranger to AUC, having graduated from our University in 1987 with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Economics. Apparently satisfied with his undergraduate education, he stayed on to pursue his M.B.A. here, completing that degree in 1990. After receiving his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, Sherif began teaching at AUC in 1996. Having served capably in a number of administrative roles at AUC, he eventually became Associate Dean of Executive Education, and in September 2009 the founding Dean of the new School of Business. Anyone who has spoken with Sherif knows that he is an excellent conversationalist on a wide variety of topics. Anyone who glances at his c.v. will be struck by his broad range of professional activities and his tireless track record of world travel. But what some members of our community might not know is that our new Dean of Business is also pursuing his M.A. at AUC in Islamic Art and Architecture: a passionate interest he also pursues as Treasurer and Board member of the Association of Friends of the Museum of Islamic Arts. I was expecting a highly informative interview with Sherif, and that is exactly what I got.
Q: The former School of Business, Economics, and Communications (BEC) has just split in half. We now have a new School of Business (SoB) and a new School of Public Affairs (SPA). As the first Dean of the School of Business, could you explain to our readers some of the reasons behind this change?
A: The first department of the school of BEC, the Department of Economics, was established in 1947, management education started in the 1960s as non-degree programs and the Department of Management was established in 1979. During that period, there was a lot achieved and I think we can look at that phase as the building phase with so many contributions to society which is shown in the number of exceptional graduates we had and the contributions to society in different sectors. In 2009, the School of Business is witnessing a new phase in its history. BEC has always produced graduates that successfully took leading roles in different sectors of the economy in Egypt and in different countries. We have had some of the best students and we are proud that they excelled with their careers and achieved in their respective sectors. However, the composition of the school in terms of departments did not help in positioning the school as a school that is dedicated to serve business and industry. The newly reorganized School of Business is focused on offering the community what it needs as a business school with three strong departments of inter-related nature of disciplines: Accounting, Economics and Management offering both degree programs and a large portfolio of non-degree programs through two major executive education operations; the Management Center, established in 1977 and the International Executive Education Institute established in 2008. These activities are strongly supported by a set of specialized programs and centers that address specific needs of the community such as the Citadel Capital Financial Services Center, established in 2006, offering students, researchers and professionals a state-of-the-art instructional facility that integrates hands-on financial services practice with classroom financial concepts such as securities trading, risk management and asset allocation. El-Khazindar Business Research and Case Center, established in 2008, providing case studies and other educational services, offering a platform for student-centered learning tools and a variety of services that aims at developing top caliber students, connecting businesses and students in the region, and ultimately contributing to the betterment of the society. Finally, the 10,000 Goldman Sachs Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership Program, established in 2008 as part of a global initiative, providing underserved women with a business and management education. This program is conducted in collaboration with the Wharton School serving as a regional hub for teaching and research regarding women’s leadership in the Arab Region.
With such a portfolio of degrees, programs and centers, and to be able to compete at a global scale, reorganization and strategic positioning of the school, coupled with investing in community engagement and outreach programs as well as faculty development and attracting top caliber students were of utmost importance. To be able to realize the above, the School of Business needs to operate as one integrated provider of business-related solutions – one body with multiple functions and activities rather than many islands with no bridges. The newly reorganized school of business represents an appropriate platform for the above objectives to be realized with an organized set of measurements that would bring industry and the business sector involved with the school as one of the main constituencies in the market and as the ultimate employer of the school’s graduates. As a School, the departments, programs and centers will be able to serve the community with its different constituencies in three different directions that have been identified as direction and drivers for the school of business; entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership.
Q: Let’s go back in time to your student years at AUC. From 1983-85 you were a Political Science major here. But then you switched to Business Administration. What caused your interests to change?
A: I was an undergraduate student at AUC during the period 1983-1987. I started off as a student in the Department of Economics and parallel to that, I was doing political science at the faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University. So I was doing both degrees at the same time and I strongly believed that economics and political science complement each other. I liked both disciplines. I felt I could do both degrees in parallel. I had a dream of becoming a diplomat just like my father, so from that perspective the combination of the two disciplines seemed appropriate. All was going well until 1985 when Cairo University insisted on their Registrar receiving the original copies of my school papers and certificates. This did not work. It was a purely logistical/administrative hurdle but unfortunately I did not have a choice and I decided to drop Cairo University after successfully passing the first 2 years (1983-1985) and opted to continue with a degree in economics from AUC. In 1986, there was another switch, but rather at the global level, when information technology was booming fast and penetrating many aspects of life and getting into homes and becoming more personalized. I thought at the time that being a business major would link me more to information technology, so I decided to make the move. It was a bit late because I was in my third year, I was about to become senior but I changed my major to business. I never regretted the decision because it allowed me to stay enough as an economics student then as a business student, I learnt a lot about these two very much related disciplines and it helped shape so much of my thinking and decision making process in the following stages of my career. Later on, I realized that we learn from every discipline, inside classrooms, from life experiences and from the situations we encounter. It is the combination of tacit and explicit knowledge that shapes our character, builds our knowledge and decides our next moves.
Q: After then earning your M.B.A. here at AUC, you pursued doctoral work at the London School of Economics, in their Information Systems Program. (It’s a program I know well, and of course we have mutual friends there.) But some readers might not know very much about the field of Information Studies. How would you explain it to someone who has barely heard of it?
A: There is a need to distinguish between information studies and information technology studies. Information is the most invaluable resource, other than people, that organizations of all sorts should have in a timely, current, efficient and relevant manner. Information helps in better allocating resources, managing growth, setting targets and priorities, managing projects, and planning for the future amongst many other decisions we encounter every day. Information is important at the personal, organizational and societal level; it helps in virtually all aspects of life. How we get it, when, how frequently, and from whom? These issues are better handled in today’s global marketplace or rather marketspace using information technology (IT) with its different tools and techniques. IT is just a tool, a means to an end, to help people take different decisions whether personal or professional, and whether these decisions are at the micro and short-term level or at the macro-long term level. IT in itself has changed dramatically over the last decade and it is now known as ICT, which stands for information and communication technology with the evolution of the Internet, networking, mobility and the removal of time and distance barriers. We now live in a world that is information-driven; some people even call it the information society. Information in today’s world comes to us in different forms, such as data, voice, images, video clips and it is dynamic, iterative, interactive and live. The world is also witnessing what is known as information and media convergence which is having multiple and integrated channels for information acquisition and knowledge dissemination whereas in the past we used to get the news from the newspapers, radio or television. Now, besides these traditional channels, there are the social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn, there is also sms and mms (short messages), there is email, YouTube, and many other things. You never know when or how information will be coming, because we are all living in an interconnected and internetworked planet. We are living in an information-push environment, where information is chasing us rather than us pulling information from different sources. The studies related to the issues mentioned above, its effectiveness, usability, usefulness and its improvement are all related to information studies. The tools and platforms that make it easy for us to use the technology reflect the studies that relate to information and communication technology.
Q: A professor in any business-related field will surely have many opportunities for consulting, to sit on corporate boards, or even to work in the private sector. Yet you definitely seem to prefer academic work to working in the corporate sector. You have maintained a very active research profile, for instance. What are some of the reasons for this?
A: Since my LSE days, I learnt to enjoy research and that was in 1991. In fact, long before that, since school days, I very much enjoyed reading and digging up articles and books in bookstores and libraries. Today, in my library at home, I have over 2,500 titles (mainly books and some journals); this is the outcome of admiring reading for almost three decades. I guess that contributed to my bias in favor of research and as I said, the LSE pushed that drive as well. Moreover, working in the government for about 12+ years also helped in developing my admiration to research and development work, because that is what I used to do every day, it was challenging and exciting and I learnt a lot from doing it. This obviously came at the expense of getting engaged in consultancy work. I did work in some consultancy projects but I was very selective over the years in accepting these assignments; I did them from time to time but usually what enticed me to accept these assignments was the embedded research component. It is important to stay in touch with the corporate world and the way I do it is by writing case studies as part of the selected consultancy work I choose to work on, which is usually once every year.
Q: Along with many solo-authored articles, you seem to have a special talent for collaborating with other authors— and it’s a very wide variety, not just the same co-authors every time. This suggests a special ability in co-operation. Tell us if you would, how do you go about “negotiating” co-authored work with colleagues? In my own field (Philosophy) this is both rare and difficult, so I am curious to know how it is done.
A: Going back to the notion of information, and how it develops itself into knowledge, I am a strong believer that knowledge should always be disseminated and shared. Then no wonder that I am a supporter of the access2knowledge movement and actually wrote a chapter in one of the books addressing that issue on ICT and the development of the knowledge society in Egypt. Knowledge should be made public and accessed by everyone because no one owns it. All that we do is just a minor contribution to the knowledge that is being disseminated across time. Moreover, working in academia, I think this is one of the main issues/obligations that professors should be addressing. Sharing knowledge should be done with students, colleagues and the community at large whenever possible. In that respect, classes are typical venues for sharing knowledge with students, but I also use the web through my homepage www.sherifkamel.org, to share stuff with my students. The homepage has been online for over 12 years now since 1997 and soon I will be launching the 3rd edition of my homepage. Moreover, in a typical semester, I exchange no less than 1500 emails with my students in an average class of 30+ students; this is in itself knowledge sharing although the channel selected is different such as email, instant messaging and/or social networks. Moreover, seminars are platforms to share knowledge with the community. I believe that research and publications are mechanisms that can help faculty work together across different fields leading to positive contributions to what I advocate and promote all the time and that is interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches to learning. Some of the faculty I worked with, I wanted to encourage them in the beginning of their careers where I took the lead in the research work addressed, others I wanted to learn from by bringing our expertise and knowledge together. It is not an easy task given the different ways people address research and look at research problems but the learning experience and the resulting outcome is all worth it.
Q: You have done extensive studies of the emergence of new technologies in the Egyptian economy: computers, e-commerce, mobile telephones. What are some of the big technological changes we are likely to see in Egypt over the next decade, and how might they transform traditional society here?
A: Egypt has come a long way over the last 10 years since the establishment of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in 1999. Historically, IT came to Egypt in the early 1960s but the boom started in the early 1980s and then was clearly addressed as part of the national agenda in 1999 becoming an integral part of the cabinet office and a platform for socioeconomic development. The development in the ICT space will witness many changes and transformations in the coming decade. This will relate to the growing positioning of Egypt as one of the top global destinations in outsourcing, coupled with the multiple successful public-private partnership models that involve different constituencies in the community and that address IT projects with socioeconomic and developmental implications. The fact that the population demographics in Egypt are mainly young and fresh and more IT-oriented promises to provide venues for IT growth in different directions. The spread of IT in the community is massive and with the growing accessibility and electronic readiness of the society, ICT will play a major role in rendering the community more competitive, investing in people is crucial in the 21st century where the “intellectual capital” of people represents the next battlefield, as opposed to oil in the 20th century. While people will be the most important building block, ICT will orchestrate the environment where communities will make a difference, prosper and compete. It is important to note that ICT in that context is not the fact of using the tools but rather the optimization and capitalization of its effective and efficient use across different sectors to rationalize resources, innovate processes and penetrate different markets.
Q: In the introduction to this interview I mentioned that you are now pursuing yet another degree: an M.A. in Islamic Art and Architecture right here at AUC. How long have you been interested in this subject?
A: I have been interested in this subject since the early 1980s when I visited for the first time Sultan Hassan Mosque. What a unique place. But it was in 2003 when I decided that I was ready to commit time to read, learn and know more about Islamic Art and Architecture and with an emphasis on architecture and the history-related knowledge associated with it. This also related to my interest in the history of the Middle East. I would like to note that my passion for this subject is endless, therefore in 2004, together with some interested colleagues in the same subject, we established the Association of Friends of the Museum of Islamic Arts where I am currently the treasurer and board member. The MA in Islamic Art and Architecture program at AUC is rich in knowledge and informative about so many aspects related to the society and its culture beyond art and architecture. I am finally doing my last course this semester (fall 2009) and hopefully I will be working on my thesis next semester.
Q: In fact, for a HUSS faculty member like me, one of the remarkable things about speaking with you is your great range of interests in so many different subjects. Presumably some of this is just a matter of your own personality and temperament. But to what extent is a career in business-related fields augmented by interests such as Islamic art and architecture? I can sense that you view your studies in art and architecture as more than just a hobby: but how?
A: You are absolutely right. Subjects and disciplines relate to each other in many ways. They affect each other and benefit from each other. Look at corporate boards today: they opt to have someone with an art background and with innovative senses irrespective of the business of the corporation. This is done because they need to invest in innovation and they need to appear as always coming up with the new ideas and products. Being artistic while having an innovative style is one of the keys to corporate success and growth in today’s global marketplace. It is important to me, beyond being a hobby, to understand how the people used to think, live and address issues across time because the findings are not totally disintegrated from what we see today and interact with. Once again, it is knowledge disseminated across time. The way business was conducted, education was diffused and culture was respected is important to know and understand, because knowing and studying the historical background of society is crucial in planning for the future. Art and architecture is a reflection of the development of societies and knowing more about them helps me understand the culture more— and more importantly, how it developed across different phases and what were the factors that had serious implications and effects during the development process.
Q: In fact, your interests seem broad enough that perhaps this would be a golden moment for new collaboration between SoB and the other Schools. Do you have any specific ideas about this?
A: The way to compete at a global scale is to innovate in how AUC presents its knowledge content through different programs. I am a strong believer in and supporter of joint-School academic offerings because it produces students who are well-rounded and more knowledgeable about their fields and other related fields. Synergies between schools and collaboration in different offerings are an invaluable component in today’s global markets and the education field and lifelong learning is not an exception. There are many opportunities for collaboration across Schools in degree offerings, in conducting research and in blending capstone courses that include different aspects of disciplines and AUC should be moving in that direction because it is important to competing in today’s fierce marketplace.
Q: You were chosen to be Dean at a very young age. I suppose my questions about that are the obvious ones. First, were you completely surprised by this change of jobs? Second, is being Dean different from what you expected? And finally, how is it to work with many of your former professors from the 1980′s?
A: I should say that this has not been the first time I took a position for which I was considered young (in terms of age, not necessarily experience if it can be quantified) for holding the post. This happened to me as early as 1989 when I was a fresh graduate and I was asked to put together and manage a plan for a training department to train government and public sector officials on IT tools, products and applications. This was a real challenge, a massive task. But if you have the passion, one needs to work hard, always try to learn and develop; it is never easy, but nothing is impossible. People appreciate if someone is trying hard, and if there is a vision and a plan to realize it they probably support him. However, as you point out, at this time last year I never saw the position of Dean coming to me. I never even thought about it at the time. I was happy being Associate Dean for Executive Education at the School and we had an ambitious project that is currently being implemented. The Deanship was a nice surprise, which developed smoothly throughout the nomination, interview and selection process. It was like when you take a picture, sometimes it is better to be natural rather than posing for a picture; things are smoother, more real. This is an exciting challenge for me and an interesting one at the same time. I see myself not as the new Dean of the School, but rather as the new Dean of the new School. I mean that literally. I have always seen myself as an agent for change; I have done it in the past in three different organizations and I think there is a good opportunity to achieve a lot with the new School. It is important to have a plan, a vision and a belief. You always get there and achieve your target, maybe over the long haul, but you do eventually get there, but it has to be a team effort with a teamwork approach. No one is good enough alone; working collectively as a team is for me the recipe for success; procedure and logistics are important, technology helps but nothing can equal people’s intellectual contributions and brain powers.
I consider myself a proud product of the School. I now have three Departments as part of the academic portfolio of the school of business: Accounting, Economics, and Management. I am fortunate that I was taught by distinguished professors in these three Departments who are still actively involved in their Departments and contributing to the School, the University and the society. This is very important. I am very proud to be working with my professors; this is a statement of proof for succession planning. Their presence is important to blend knowledge and experience with the new junior faculty. My experience since the first of September is living proof that they are true mentors and they have been extremely supportive in this important junction in the school’s transformation into becoming semi-autonomous and developing its own identity as part of AUC’s ecosystem. More importantly, I am equally proud that some of my own former students are colleagues of mine sitting together and exchanging ideas and plans for the future of the departments and that of the school. This in itself is a powerful statement of pride that many of the products of such an institution come back and contribute in different ways to their communities while fulfilling their career objectives.
Q: Looking over your c.v., I would have to say that you are one of the best-travelled academics in your age group I have ever seen. If you’re not speaking at a conference in Singapore, Poland, Thailand, or Sweden, then you are serving as an external Ph.D. examiner in India or South Africa. I have two questions about this. First, will you have to take a break from traveling while Dean? And second, how has all of this travel affected your view of the world and of your profession more specifically?
A: As Dean, I am taking a break from teaching but keeping my research involvement on course. I have been active in different local and global circles in a number of related aspects to management and IT and I am planning to keep these links because it could be of great help to me as Dean. Traveling and interacting with multiple cultures helps transform people today to become citizens of planet earth, and I will try to do my best to keep the momentum going. However, it is always important to keep the balance between protecting one’s own culture while also being exposed to different cultures, norms and beliefs. There is always something out there to learn and we need to know what that is. Personally, besides research and travel which contributes a lot to how I think of things and perceive issues, I tend to study differences and similarities between communities. This is quite interesting and it helps understanding people and deal with them. In many ways it also relates to information technology and how to adapt to different cultures and settings which helps information technology transfer to different communities to be successful and effective.
Q: We’ve already discussed your change of major, during your student years, from Political Science to Business Administration. But what about the occupation of university professor? Was that your career goal all along? Did you simply change from wanting to be a Professor of Political Science to a Professor of Business? Or was there a key event that made you decide on an academic career?
A: As indicated earlier, my initial dream was to become a diplomat but when that changed, I thought of working in development. And that was going well, until one day in 1988 I was attending a reception on the occasion of the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at the residence of the British Ambassador to Egypt. During the reception I was standing with my former boss and the British Ambassador who actually mentioned that there is an opportunity for a government employee to travel to study in the UK through the Foreign Office Scholarship Scheme. For some reason, I thought this was meant to be. That day, I decided to research universities, of course with no Internet or World Wide Web access at the time. I was looking into how to apply to that scheme, and maybe I would be that one person who would get that unique chance. The rest is history. I worked hard to get to LSE and the topic of my dissertation, although related to IT, still addressed mainly development planning in the context of public administration in developing nations using decision support systems and emerging information technology applications, something I strongly feel Egypt badly needs. From then on, moving from government to academia was the logical step to take and I started teaching at AUC MBA program in selected sessions in 1992 as a guest lecturer in IT courses.
Q: Can you tell us the three or four biggest differences between AUC in 2009 and the AUC you remember as a student? (Other than the new campus itself, which is perhaps too obvious to mention.)
A: Generally speaking, it is always difficult to compare two different situations with over two decades in between because I believe that each period and phase has its own character and should be judged accordingly. On a more personal level, I used to know AUC’s downtown campus as “home,” and more importantly I used to walk for 27 years for about 2 minutes (this is not a typo) to get to campus. Now it is a totally different story, but it is only a matter of time until we not only physically but also psychologically make the move to the new campus— because the new campus is a very nice place worthy to become AUC’s home, an enticing place for lifelong learning and the dissemination of knowledge and well poised to position AUC at the forefront of the education and learning ecosystem in the region and beyond.
However, if we can compare in an abstract way AUC in the 1980s to AUC one decade into the 21st century, I would mention that:
1. AUC became bigger, not in terms of size (though the student body is in fact bigger) but rather in terms of the portfolio of degree and non-degree programs offered to students, services available to the community, diversity of student activities, presence in the local and regional communities amongst many other additions.
2. The percentage of international students grew substantially, and that very much contributes to the cultural diversity of the student body at AUC and contributes to the learning process of different constituencies of the university including faculty, students and staff, becoming more international than before, something we missed in the 1980s.
3. The technology-based services and tools available to different constituencies within AUC is helping to match the developments taking place around the world, in other words, IT is now central to the ecosystem of the university including admissions, library, learning processes, student2student relationships, student2faculty continuous communication, students and faculty services, and more.
4. The environment for students to learn and for faculty to teach and excel has improved given the facilities and infrastructure in place already with more gradually being installed and implemented.
Q: Will Islamic Art and Architecture be your final degree, or can we expect to see you pursue another one? For example, why not go for an extra Ph.D. in Engineering?
A: I doubt it very much, due to time constraints and commitments. But one thing I can assure you is that the passion for learning and reading will still be there, and will always be there, but most probably will be manifested mainly in reading and attending seminars of interest on different topics.
(as reported by the faculty members)
Maki K. Habib, Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been named Associate Editor at three international journals: International Journal of Advanced Mechatronic Systems (IJAMechS); 2. Journal of Mechatronics and Applications; 3. International Journal of Robotics and Automation. He has also been invited by National Instruments to be a member of the board that guides and evaluates proposals and designs for technical competition to develop and implement robots supporting humanitarian de-mining activities. The time frame of this competition is two years starting from Dec. 2009. The completion is mainly sponsored by National Instruments.
Graham Harman, Associate Vice Provost for Research and Associate Professor of Philosophy, will join fellow invited speakers Ian Bogost, Levi Bryant, and Steven Shaviro at the first conference on Object-Oriented Ontology at Georgia Tech, Atlanta. April 23, 2009. Harman was also among the authors discussed in Jennifer Howard’s article “Creature Consciousness” in The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 18, 2009. http://chronicle.com/article/Creature-Consciousness/48804/
Ahmed Rafea, Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, has accepted an invitation to serve as the Chairman of the IASTED International Conference on Advances in Computer Science and Engineering, to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from March 15-17, 2010.
Ernest Wolf-Gazo, Professor of Philosophy, has been invited by the Ministry of Culture of Malaysia, in conjunction with The Islamic, Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization of Malaysia to present a keynote address. For details see the publications list below.
FACULTY RESEARCH BY SCHOOL
(as reported by the faculty members)
In this issue of the Bulletin, we have:
2 journal articles
1 public lecture
7 conference papers
1 article in conference proceedings
Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS)
Catarina Belo, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
•Conference presentation, “Models of Causality in Islamic Philosophy.” International Colloquium entitled The Unity of Science in the Arabic Tradition – Science, Logic, Epistemology and their Interactions. University of Lisbon, Portugal. October 29-30, 2009.
Graham Harman, Associate Vice Provost for Research and Associate Professor of Philosophy
•Journal article, Tom Sparrow, “O užasima realizma: razgovor s Grahamom Harmanom,” translated by Goran Vujasinović. Quorum, forthcoming 2010. [Note: This is a Croatian translation of Tom Sparrow, "On the Horrors of Realism— Interview with Graham Harman," Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy (2008).]
Salima Ikram, Professor of Egyptology, Department of SAPE
•Public lecture, “From Meadow to Em-baa-lming Table: Experimental Mummification.” Netherlands-Flemish Institute on Experimental Archaeology. October 30, 2009.
Sean McMahon, Post-Doctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
•Book, The Discourse of Palestinian-Israeli Relations. (London: Routledge, 2009.)
William Melaney, Associate Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature
•Conference presentation, “The Place of Art in Kristevan Semiotics: Mimesis Reconsidered.” International Kristeva Conference. Humboldt University. Berlin, Germany. October 31-November 1, 2009.
• Conference proceedings, “Kristeva’s Subject-in-Process: From Structure to Semiotic Criticism.” Proceedings of the Ninth Congress of the IASS/AIS, Helsinki-Imatra, 11-17 June 2007, Vol. 2. Tartu: The International Semiotics Institute, 2009. 1074-81.
Bernard O’Kane, Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture (Dept. of ARIC)
•Conference presentation, “Ceramics in or on the Building? The Relationships of Architecture and the Consumer in the Development of Pottery and Tilework.” Third Hamid bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic art. And Diverse Are Their Hues: Color in Islamic Art and Culture. November 2-4, 2009. Cordoba, Spain.
Ernest Wolf-Gazo, Professor of Philosophy
•Conference presentation, “Europe and Islam: Encounters and Responses.” International Symposium entitled Contemporary Islamic Thought and Civilization. Royal Chulon Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. December 21-22, 2009.
School of Public Affairs (SPA)
Laila El Baradei, Associate Dean School of Public Affairs and Visiting Professor of Public Administration
•Conference presentation, “Examples of Ethics Topics Discussed in Master’s of Public Policy and Administration Courses at the American University in Cairo.” Public Integrity Education Network (PIEN) Conference. (Organized by TIRI, an idependent non-profit organization founded in London and the Lebanese Finance Institute affliated to the Lebanese Ministry of Finance.) Beirut, Lebanon. October 20-22, 2009.
Science and Engineering (SSE)
Maki K. Habib, Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering
•Conference presentation, “Decompose the Operational Space of FG Vision System into Parallel Virtual Planes to Support Autonomous Navigation in Dynamic Environment,” 2009 IEEE International Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Robotics and Automation – (CIRA 2009). Daejeon, South Korea. December 2009.
•Conference presentation, “Sensors and Robots for Humanitarian Demining: Needs, Present and Future.” 2009 IEEE International Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Robotics and Automation – (CIRA 2009). Daejeon, South Korea. December, 2009.
Ahmed Rafea, Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering
•Journal Article, A. Abdel Monem, K. Shaalan, A. Rafea, H. Baraka. “Generating Arabic text in multilingual speech-to-speech machine translation framework.” Machine Translation Journal, DOI 10.1007/s10590-009-9054-9, Springer Netherlands. The article is available pre-publication in electronic form at http://www.springerlink.com/content/76t73q5805743640/