Seminar Course Bridges Cultural Gaps
A Seminar course at the American University in Cairo aims at gathering students from around the world to explore a diverse set of issues related to the Arab Spring and the Global South.
Efforts are exerted in an attempt to outline the commonalities as well as the differences that exist within this global conglomerate of nation-states. There is also another section that revolves around an Arab-American dialogue.
These video conferences are in partnership with universities and institutions that will enable the students to share among themselves first-hand experiences and views.
"It's a combination of the accumulative set of networks that the Dialogue Project has established over a decade or so of cross-cultural dialogue coupled with the diverse set of experiences and networks that the professors and coordinators of the dialogue bring into the courses", said Dr. Mohamed Fahmy Menza, the seminar course instructor.
In an effort to promote dialogues between students at AUC and students from the United States after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the AUC Core Curriculum Program sponsored a special project that uses video conference technology that will allow classes to communicate with one another.
This project began with a series of extracurricular dialogues with students at New York University, the State University of New York at Albany, and the University of
Maine. "The Dialogue Project" was later shaped in many ways, one of which was being established as a SEMR 310 three credit-hour course called "Cross-Cultural Perceptions and Representations." The course completely relies on weekly video conferencing with students from around the world.
The class has recently conducted a video conference with the Royal Danish Academy of Defense that themed around the new study of the Middle East and the Arab Spring.
Jitlaeka Luenam is an international student from the American University in Cairo who is currently enrolled in the Arab Spring section. She says that the Arab Spring has been a popular issue and many people from around the world are interested in it.
"Moreover, I get a chance to listen to different perspectives from different people from different places because every week there's going to be a conference class where we get a chance to exchange our ideas and opinions with other students from different school and different countries, for example, Georgetown in Qatar," added Luenam.
The course can be taken as a Humanities/Capstone requirement, International Studies or a general elective.