Meggan Houlihan

January 31st, 2013

Meggan Houlihan, Coordinator of Instruction/Reference in the Main Library,has co-authored a paper (with former AUC librarian Amanda Click) entitled ”Teaching Literacy: Methods for Studying and Improving Library Instruction,” published in Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP), Vol. 7, No. 4 (2012). The article can be read by clicking HERE.

This post contains the list of successful Faculty Support Grant applications for the February application cycle. (Anyone interested in the results of a student grant application should contact me directly.)

AUC is proud of its Faculty Support Grant program, which ranks among the most generous of any university in the world. In addition to looking for your own grant on the list below, please take a few minutes to read through some of the other interesting research topics and conference trips of your AUC colleagues. Enhancing mutual recognition of faculty research is one of the motivations for listing successful grant applicants here in the Bulletin.

If you see any mistaken information in the list, including minor spelling errors in any names, please contact me immediately at We aspire to have a completely accurate list for each grant cycle.

Official letters of approval will be sent to everyone shortly. However, please note the following two points:

1. My assistant, Nancy, has been asked to help organize the March 31 Commencement Ceremony, and this needs to be her top priority at the moment. This could lead to delays of several days in processing your grant letters.

2. At the request of the Payroll Office, we will no longer be sending approval letters for Conference Grants that have been approved “pending acceptance of paper.” The new policy is that we need to see your acceptance letter from the conference before issuing the approval letter, or at least see your name on the official conference schedule.




BUS (School of Business)

*Steven Formaneck (Management). San Jose, California, USA. June 2011.

*Dilip Ghosh (Management). Bangkok, Thailand. April 2011.

*Mohamed Hegazy (Accounting). Rome, Italy. April 2011.

*Mohamed Hegazy (Accounting). Istanbul, Turkey. June 2011.

*Maha Mourad (Management). Dubai, U.A.E. March 2011.

*Hamed Shamma (Management). Coral Gables, Florida, USA. May 2011.

*Hamed Shamma (Management). Washington D.C., USA. June 2011.

*Ahmed Tolba (Management). Coral Gables, Florida, USA. May 2011.

*Samir Youssef (Management). Ashridge, U.K. June 2011.

GAPP (School of Global Affairs and Public Policy)

*Hussein Amin (JRMC). Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. April 2011.

*Kim Fox (JRMC). Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. April 2011.

*Gianluca Parolin (Law). Hong Kong. April 2011.

*AKM Ahsan Ullah (CMRS). Bangkok, Thailand. May 2011.


HUSS (School of Humanities and Social Sciences)

*Hala Abd AlHak (SAPE). Montreal, Canada. May 2011.

*Nora Abdel Wahab (ALI). Washington D.C., USA. December 2011.

*Dalal Abo El Seoud (ALI). Washington D.C., USA. December 2011.

*David Blanks (HIST). Beijing, China. July 2011.

*Valerie Carpenter (ELI). Dubai, U.A.E. March 2011.

*Matthew Crippen (PHIL). Toronto, Canada. April 2011.

*Ira Dworkin (ECLT). Baltimore, Maryland, USA. October 2011.

*Lori Fredricks (ELI). Chicago, Illinois, USA. March 2011.

*Atta Gebril (ELI). Nicosia, Cyprus. June 2011.

*Atta Gebril (ELI). Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. June 2011.

*Belle Gironda (Rhet/Comp). Atlanta, Georgia. USA. April 2011.

*Inas Hafez (ALI). Washington D.C., USA. December 2011.

*Mona Hassan (ALI). Washington D.C., USA. December 2011.

*Abeer Heider (ALI). New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. April 2011.

*Noelle Houssney (Rhet/Comp). Melbourne, Australia. June-July 2011.

*Salima Ikram (SAPE). Chicago, Illinois. April 2011.

*Heba Kotb (SAPE). Montreal, Canada. May 2011.

*Sanaa Makhlouf (ELI). Brighton, U.K. April 2011.

*Gretchen McCullough (Rhet/Comp). Lisbon, Portugal. June-July, 2011.

*Mate Tokić (HIST). Berlin, Germany. February 2011.

*Dan Tschirgi (Poli. Sci.). San Juan, Puerto Rico. April 2011.

*Elena Tzelepis (PHIL). Tainan, Taiwan. May 2011.

*Loubna Youssef (Rhet/Comp). Washington D.C., USA. December 2011.


LLT (School of Libraries and Learning Technologies)

*Amanda Click (Library). London, U.K. April 2011.

*Meggan Houlihan (Library). Beirut, Lebanon. April-May 2011.

*Meggan Houlihan (Library). Athens, Greece. May 2011.


SSE (School of Sciences and Engineering)

*Sherif Abdelazeem (EENG). Beijing, China. September 2011.

*Mustafa Arafa (MENG). Washington D.C., USA. August 2011.

*Gregg De Young (MACT). Thessaloniki, Greece. July 2011.

*Ayman Elezabi (EENG). Ayia Napa, Cyprus. May 2011.

*Lamyaa El Gabry (MENG). Vancouver, Canada. June 2011.

*Justin Grubich (BIOL). Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. July 2011.

*Ossama Hosny (CANG). Miami, Florida. June 2011.

*Alaa Ibrahim (PHYS). Cape Town, South Africa. April 2011.

*Jeff Langman (CORE/PENG). Monaco. March-April 2011.

*Magda Mostafa (CANG). Tokyo, Japan. September-October 2011.

*Mohammad Sadek (MACT). Vilnius, Lithuania. June-July 2011.

*Sherif Safar (CANG). Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. June 2011.

*Nagwa Sherif (CANG). Bari, Italy. May 2011.



BUS (School of Business)

*Angie Abdel Zahar (Accounting). “The Association Between CEO Incentives and Complex Outsourcing Decisions.” Cairo. March-October 2011.


GAPP (School of Global Affairs and Public Policy)

*Jennifer Bremer (PPAD). “Cairo’s Neighborhood Watch Groups: A Case Study of Spontaneous Collective Action.” Cairo. March-May 2011.

*David London (JRMC). “25th January Multimedia Exhibition.” Cairo. March-July 2011.


HUSS (School of Humanities and Social Sciences)

*Agnes Czajka (SAPE). “Migrants and Refugees in Revolutionary Egypt: Discourses of Nationhood and Foreignness During and in the Aftermath of the January 25th Uprising.” Cairo, Egypt. June-August 2011.

*Aissa Deebi (PVA). “My Dreams Have Destroyed My Life.” Germany and Palestine. May 2011.

*Lori Fredricks (ELI). “Investigating Tajikistani EFL Teachers’ Views and Experiences Through Critical Literature Circles.” Dushanbe, Tajikistan. May-August 2011.

*Atta Gebril (ELI). “Conceptions of Assessment Among Egyptian Pre-Service Teachers.” Sohag, Egypt. March 2011-March 2012.

*Amy Motlagh (ECLT). “Beyond the Boundaries of Nation: Dreaming of a Modern Iran in Cairo.” Princeton, New Jersey, USA. June-July 2011.


SSE (School of Sciences and Engineering)

*Sherif Aly (CSCE). “Novel Software Engineering Practices for Pervasive Systems.” Ottawa, Canada. June-December 2011.

*Khaled Nassar (CANG). “Digital Fabrication Techniques for Low-Cost Housing Using Local Sustainable Material.” Cairo. June 2011-March 2012.

*Sherif Sedky (PHYS). “Laser-Based Processing of Thin Films for MEMS Applications.” Palto Alto, California, USA. July 2011.

*Ezzeldin Soliman (PHYS). “Novel Miniaturized Antennas for Radio Frequency Identifcation (RFID) Systems.” Leuven, Belgium. June 2011.

*Suher Zada (BIOL). “MicroRNA as a Novel Diagnostic and Therapeutic Tool on HCV-Induced Liver Fibrosis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma.” Cairo. March 2011-March 2012.




GAPP (School of Global Affairs and Public Policy)

*Rasha Abdulla (JRMC). “Social Media and Political Participation: The Case of the Egyptian Revolution.” Cairo. February-June 2011.

*Naila Hamdy (JRMC). “State Media and Private Media vs. Social Media: Monitoring and Analyzing Media Coverage of the Egyptian Revolution 2011.” Cairo and Alexandria, April-July 2011.

SSE (School of Sciences and Engineering)

*Hassanein Amer (EENG). “Effect of Failure Criteria on WSN Lifetime.” Cairo. March 2011-February 2012.



HUSS (School of Humanities and Social Sciences)

*Frank Bradley (PVA). “Teaching Creativity: Current Trends and Critical Encounters.” Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. March-April 2011.

*Sophie Farag (ELI). “Skilled Helping and Feedback.” Canterbury, U.K. July 2011.

*Wael Mahallawy (PVA). “Pro Tools Training Professional Certification Package.” New York, USA. April 2011.

SSE (School of Sciences and Engineering)

*Christian Bauriedel (CANG). “Supplements to Enhance the Performance of the 3D-Lab.” Cairo. June-December 2011.


The following Library & Learning Technologies faculty members have received funding to attend and present at the 2011 AMICAL Conference in Beirut, 27-30 April:

  1. Meggan Houlihan, Instruction/Reference Librarian will present Teaching E-Primary Sources
  2. Carolyn Runyon, Digital Collections Archivist, and Steve Urgola, University Archivist will present Developing and Promoting Web Archives: The 2011 Egyptian Revolution Web Archive at AUC
  3. Amanda Click, Coordinator of Instruction, will also attend as Secretary of the Program Committee and Coordinator of Lightning Rounds.

Amanda Click

February 19th, 2011

Amanda Click, Coordinator of Instruction in the School of Libraries and Learning Technologies (LLT), also recently published an article in College & Research Libraries News, entitled "Meeting the reference expectations of ESL students." The article appeared in the January 2011 issue, and was co-authored with Claire Walker, Reference and Instruction Librarian at Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN. 

Amanda Click

February 19th, 2011

Amanda Click, Coordinator of Instruction in the School of Libraries and Learning Technologies (LLT), gave a presentation at the Information Literacy Network Annual Professional Development Conference in Dubai, UAE. The conference took place on October 30-31, 2010. The title of the paper was "Ask the right questions: matching content and outcomes in an IL course." It discussed the improvements made to assessment instruments and learning outcomes for the AUC information literacy course, LALT 101.

Beginning with the September 2010 application cycle for AUC internal faculty grants, we are posting the names of all faculty grant recipients here on the Faculty Bulletin (and, in the case of all grants other than Conference Grants, the topic of the project). There are two reasons for doing so:

1. To accelerate the notification process.  Please note that recipients still need to wait several days for the official letter from my Office to know the amount received. Acceptance does not entail that the full amount requested was in fact awarded. (For now, we have decided not to list the exact dollar amount of the grants in the Bulletin.)

2. To enhance mutual awareness of AUC faculty research. It is enjoyable to read through the list and learn about the many interesting research projects in which your colleagues are involved.

Some of the Conference Grants are pending a letter of acceptance for the presentations. For this reason, only the conference locations are listed so as not to “jump the gun” with conference titles before some of the presentations are officially accepted.

If you are not on the list below and think there is an error, you may contact the Associate Provost for Research Administration ( for an explanation.

Names of recipients are listed alphabetically by family name.

Please note: this is the last cycle of AUC faculty support grants to be awarded under the old system. Beginning with the November application cycle, new application forms are required and the new rules apply. Please see the following website for details:

(FOLLOW-UP: if your name is spelled incorrectly on this list, or if you see any other error in the information, please contact me immediately at; it is very easy to make changes on the Bulletin and you won't be troubling me at all. We want to get everything right.)



BUS (School of Business)

*Nahed Amin Azab (Management). Orlando, Florida. March 2011.

*Hala El Ramly (Economics). Denver, Colorado. January 2011.

*Steven Formaneck (Management). Bahrain. January 2011.

*Dilip Ghosh (Management). New York. October 2010.

*Maha Mourad (Management). Beirut. December 2010.

*Maha Mourad (Management). Zürich. February 2011.

*Eskandar Tooma (Management). Cape Town. November 2010.


HUSS (School of Humanities and Social Sciences)

*Holger Albrecht (Political Science). Pisa, Italy. April 2011.

*Nadya Chishty-Mujahid (ECLT). Oxford, UK. January 2011.

*Lori Fredricks (ELI). Jaen, Spain. December 2010.

*Camilo Gomez-Rivas (ARIC). Boston. January 2011.

*Abeer Salah Heider (ALI). Seattle. March 2011.

*Hani Henry (SAPE). Charleston, SC. February 2011.

*Amy Holmes (SAPE). San Diego, CA. November 2011.

*Vassiliki Kotini (ECLT). New Brunswick, NJ. April 2011.

*Amy Motlagh (ECLT). Los Angeles. January 2011.

*Ann Shafer (PVA). Atlanta. November 2010.

*Nadine Sika (Political Science). Florence, Italy. April 2011.

*Mohammed Tabishat (SAPE). New Orleans. November 2010.

*Daniel Vilmure (RHET/COMP). Istanbul. November 2010.

GAPP (School of Global Affairs and Public Policy)

*Mervat Abou Oaf (JRMC). Kuwait. October 2010.

*Hamid Ali (PPA). Berlin. January 2011.

*Alejandro Escorihuela (Law). Madrid. December 2010.

*Sherine Fahmy (JRMC). Kuwait. October 2010.

*Kim Fox (JRMC). Kuwait. October 2010.

*Outi Korhonen (Law). Madrid. December 2010.

*Tanya Monforte (Law). Madrid. December 2010.


LLT (School of Libraries and Learning Technologies)

*Amanda Click (Library). Dubai. October 2010.


SSE (School of Sciences and Engineering)

*Maki Habib (MENG). Beppu, Oita, Japan. January 2011.

*Ali Hadi (MACT). Dhaka, Bangladesh. December 2010.

*Ahmed Moustafa (Biology). Hersonissios, Crete, Greece. November 2010.

*Khaled Nassar (CANG). Baltimore, MD. December 2010.

*Hanadi Salem (MENG). San Diego, CA. February-March, 2011.

*Alexander Schuster (MACT). Helsinki, Finland. October 2010.



BUS (School of Business)

*Mohamed Hegazy (Accounting). “Fraudulent Financial Reporting: Do Red Flags Really Help?” Cairo. July 2010-December 2010.

*Khaled Samaha (Accounting). “The Extent of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Information Disclosure and its Determinants by the Largest Companies Listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange (EXG).” Cairo. September 2010-September 2011.

*Ahmed Tolba (Management). “The Effect of Opinion Leadership on Innovation Diffusion and Use.” Cairo. October 2010-July 2011.


GAPP (School of Global Affairs and Public Policy)

*Hamid Ali (PPA). “Public Policy Debate: Inflationary and Reserve Requirement in Economy with Informal Sector.” Cairo. January 2011.

*AKM Ahsan Ullah (CMRS). “Tapping the Potential for Corporate Social Responsibilities (CRS) to Address the Needs of Refugees in Egypt.” Cairo. October 2010-April 2011.

*Justin Martin (JRMC). "Half the Tunisian Sky: Two-Part Journalism Project on Women's Rights in Tunisia." Tunis. November 2010.


HUSS (School of Humanities and Social Sciences)

*Salima Ikram (SAPE). “North Kharga Oasis Survey, Field Work.” Kharga Oasis, Egypt. December 2010-January 2011.

*Mate Tokić (History). “For the Homeland, Ready! Diaspora Politics and Transnational Political Violence During the Cold War.” Ottawa, ON, Canada. January 2011.


SSE (School of Sciences and Engineering)

*Sherif Abdel Azeem (EENG). Cairo. “On-line Handwritten Digits Recognition.” September 2010-August 2011.

*Mohab Anis (EENG). “Design for Yield of Sensitive Integrated Circuits in the Nanometer Regime.” Cairo and Waterloo, ON, Canada. January-March, 2011.

*Samer Ezeldin (CANG). “Automation of Project Controls, Procedures, and Protocols for ISO Certification- Phase 1.” Cairo and New Brunswick, NJ. Fall 2010-Fall-2011.  

*Hanadi Salem (MENG). “Fabrication of Ultrahigh Strength/Tough Monolithic and Composite Nanostructured Bulk Products Using Powder Metallurgy/Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS).” Cairo. January 2011-April 2012.

*Kathleen Sheppard (Core). “Margaret Murray and the Tomb of the Two Brothers.” London. January 2011.

*Maher Younan (MENG). “Shakedown Limit Load Determination of Defected Pressure Vessel, and Piping Components Using a Simplified Technique.” Cairo. November 2010-May 2011.



SSE (School of Sciences and Engineering)

*Mustafa Arafa (MENG). Cairo. “Development of Teaching Aids for Mechanical Vibration.” December 2010-December 2011.



SSE (School of Sciences and Engineering)

*Mohab Anis (EENG).  “International Conference on Microelectronics.” Sofitel el-Gezira, Cairo. December 19-22, 2010.


Amanda Click

June 16th, 2010

Amanda Click, Instruction and Reference Librarian, has published the following articles:

“Social networking and Web 2.0 in information literacy," with Joan Petit, in International Information and Library Review
“Life after library school: on-the-job training for instruction librarians, " with Claire Walker, in Endnotes: The Journal of the New Members Round Table. It can be accessed online at the following address:

Amanda Click

June 2nd, 2010

Amanda Click, Instruction and Reference Librarian, along with Joan Petit (former AUC librarian) recently presented a paper at the 2010 LOEX Annual Conference. LOEX is a respected information literacy conference, generally targeting academic librarians. The paper was entitled "From Lectures and Quizzes to Wikis and Blogs in the Library Classroom," and discussed the challenges and successes involved in making changes to LALT 101, AUC's required information literacy course. The conference took place in Dearborn, Michigan, from 29 April to 1 May.

Amanda Click

April 9th, 2010


Amanda Click, Instruction and Reference Librarian, recently presented a paper entitled "Coursework, conferences, and the classroom: on-the-job training for new IL practitioners," at the Librarians' Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC). The conference took place in Limerick, Ireland from March 29-31. 


The purpose of this paper is to further examine on-the-job training and development of new information literacy practitioners. The research includes a literature review, and interviews with librarians and library administrators. As this is an expansion of previous research, the intention is to form a complete picture of the training that new instruction librarians currently receive, from library school courses through their first professional positions. Most importantly, this paper provides suggestions on improving the quality and availability of training opportunities for new librarians, in order to help them ease into their professional responsibilities and improve the quality of library instruction.


early November, 2009

December 23rd, 2009

Faculty Bulletin

Editor: Graham Harman,
Associate Vice Provost for Research

Editorial Assistant: Samah Abdel-Geleel,
Graduate Studies and Faculty Research Coordinator


Many of you have noticed that the style in which faculty publications are listed in the Bulletin has changed this year. As opposed to the third-person descriptions found in past Bulletins (“Professor X has published has had her article accepted by Such-and-Such journal, the leading journal in its field…”) we have decided to standardize the Bulletin’s list to match the style found in the annual list of faculty publications.

However, a few faculty members have remarked that they miss the former opportunity to speak at more length about what they have published. The point is well taken, since research awareness at AUC can only benefit if faculty members have the chance to describe the meaning and significance of their activities.

For this reason, similar to the appendix in the Bulletin two issues ago that contained a few abstracts of faculty articles, I would like to propose extending that appendix to include brief descriptions of any research contained in a given issue of the Bulletin, for any faculty members who wish to provide such a description. Please do keep the summaries brief, and as comprehensible as possible to the non-specialist.

Another announcement: the number of submissions to the Bulletin have again diminished, after an initial surge early in the semester. Please do send your activities and news to the Bulletin. This not only helps keep the Administration informed as to what is going on at AUC, research-wise; it also makes for more enjoyable reading for the AUC community as a whole.

Finally, I would like to note that the new Bulletin might already be working as a good luck charm. In our first reformatted issue, in late September, our profile featured Professor Salima Ikram of Egyptology. Not long thereafter, Salima was also featured in the cover article of National Geographic, on animal mummies (see Faculty News below for the details). Congratulations to Salima for landing in the cover story of such a prominent magazine.


For this week’s profile we turn to the interim Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS), Steffen Stelzer. Until this year and his ascension to the Deanship, Steffen was perhaps best known on campus as a key figure on the Philosophy faculty at AUC. Having first come to AUC in the late 1970′s, Steffen led Philosophy for many years during its long era as a Unit of the Department of he and Comparative Literature. When Philosophy became a department in 2004, he then served as founding Chair for the first four years of the Department’s existence. In August 2009 he was named Dean of HUSS, allowing the whole of the School a chance to experience the calm and prudent personal style already familiar to our Philosophy faculty. Steffen is also known for his many years of serious practice of Sufism. Finally, he was the 2006 winner of the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, with one student recommender famously referring to him as a “lighthouse” on campus. His latest contribution to the AUC community is to send several of his cultivated and likable children here in recent years. Steffen also has an unusually interesting life story, as the following interview reveals.

Q: After many years of leading the Philosophy faculty at AUC, you are suddenly the Interim Dean of HUSS. What is the job like so far? Have there been any great surprises?

A: No, there haven’t been great surprises. Due to my previous experience in administration, I expected the change in thinking that the transition from teaching to administration requires. As I am still teaching one course this semester, going from the Dean’s office to the classroom is more like going from one world to another. On the other hand, I like to be in touch with the students as much as with the faculty and hope that it will do some good for the two sides of our University which are too often separated by large distances of comprehension.

Q: Over the years you have been a popular teacher. In 2006 you won the AUC Excellence in Teaching Award. Perhaps you could share some remarks about your teaching strategies.

A: I have always tried to convey something of my own enthusiasm for philosophy to the students. You can also call it “the philosophical eros.” Although I agree with Heidegger (and several other philosophers) that philosophy is also a “craft” that can and should be learned, and therefore taught as a craft, I am also convinced that it should be carried by an “erotic” current which Aristotle described as “perplexity” or “astonishment.” In this sense, teaching in general and teaching philosophy in particular should open this perplexity, this “astonishment” which is an important part of our childhood. As students, we don’t have to act as if we were grown-ups or “know-it-alls,” and neither do we have to do that as teachers.

It is worthwhile in this context to remember that a craft, although it requires the learning and the practicing of a discipline, is not just a “skill.” My criticism of much of contemporary teaching and learning is, therefore, twofold: a) that the “skills”-driven teaching too easily becomes a pragmatic and thus opportunistic affair. You learn to perform “the moves” to fulfill what is required but not because it helps you to do what you love. And b) that it does not care for “the soul” of teaching. It is safety-oriented and works on the prevention of perplexity and astonishment. And as you know, produced astonishment is not astonishing.

Q: You’ve also had a fascinating life history. Let’s go back to the start. You come from Zwickau, in the former East Germany. How were you able to get to the West from there? One always assumes it must have been difficult to leave the East during the Cold War.

A: Yes, it was difficult. My father fled from East to West Germany and left the rest of his family behind. Only after a number of years (and very surprisingly) were my mother, sister, and I allowed to follow. So whereas he left by night and on foot, we could hop on a train and cross the border, although always with a strong fear of being stopped and sent back at any moment.

Q: Someone told me that you initially had a strong interest in acting. Is this true? And if so, what made you change your focus from theater to philosophy?

A: My first love, so to speak, was actually the arts. Especially music and theater. I got quite involved with them, started to perform in both, wrote plays and composed music. I think -although I must add that I have learned to be suspicious about such attempts at “self-understanding,” or self-interpretation, so let’s say– I like to think that the change of focus from art to philosophy came about through a close encounter with death. “Death” meant an irreversible event that I could not comprehend. It meant, therefore, also the need to understand. This experience of an unsolvable duplicity of the need to understand and the incapability to do so, changed, as you say, my “focus.” It brought, in a way, understanding itself to the fore. And thus philosophy. But you can see, of course, that the music and the theatre were not really left behind.

Q: Who were the first philosophers who interested you?

A: Probably for the reasons I mentioned before, the first philosophers that interested me were Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard. And as a text, Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” From there, I slowly worked my way into the more systematic constructions of philosophy that you find with Kant and Hegel.

Q: Eventually you went to Paris. There you studied with the famous and controversial philosopher Jacques Derrida, who died in 2004. What are your recollections of Derrida as a person and teacher?

A: I went to study with Derrida because studying philosophy in the Germany of the sixties was a strange affair. On one hand, there existed something like an unspoken (or sometimes even outspoken) prohibition on becoming involved with one of the most interesting kinds of recent philosophy, namely Heidegger’s, and on the other hand one was offered as an “alternative” a very dogmatic and ideological kind of thinking (or non-thinking), represented by all kinds of shades of “The Left.” In this atmosphere, the French philosophy of the time (Derrida, Foucault, Barthes, Lacan) was like a fresh breeze that opened the windows. Derrida opened Heidegger for us. He also opened many of the gates that philosophy had locked herself away from: literature, psychology, history. Secondly, what Derrida taught me was deep respect towards the idea of philosophy and sincerity in its execution. He was one of the kindest, most helpful teachers I have met. But he was also one of the severest critics whenever he came across pretentiousness and hypocrisy in philosophical matters. Furthermore, for all his great gifts of speech and writing, he was a very taciturn man. I remember a scene where we sat in his office for two hours in (tense) silence: me, not daring to speak before him, he not speaking (who knows why). And finally, Derrida taught me to read. To read in a very careful and attentive way, a way that gives space to speech.

Q: I’ll now turn to the story about you in the April 2, 2006 issue of the Caravan. You came to Egypt more or less by accident, is that right?

A: Well, not by accident. I had to do certain things like apply and be interviewed, but what I meant in that Caravan interview was that Egypt never occurred to me previously as a place of working, living, or even visiting.

Q: Your intention was to go next to Japan. But you became interested in Sufism through an interesting sheikh in Cairo. Who was this sheikh, and what made him so appealing?

A: I wanted to go to Japan because even before coming to Egypt, when living in the States and in Europe, I was driven by a thirst for something that nothing (not even philosophy) could satisfy. I imagined it could be quenched by what we call usually “mysticism,” and I thought Zen Buddhism would be that source. But then that road was blocked and another one opened in the shape of Sufism. The road was still the same one as the one I had traveled on during my times of studying philosophy, it was still the road of knowledge. But it literally overthrew all my acquired concepts of what knowledge is, how one is supposed to pursue it, and what the purpose of such a pursuit is. In other words, the person I met taught in a way I had never encountered before. One could say, he did not teach through book or method but through his being. And yet, as different as that was from all the teachers I met in the course of my life -and I am happy to be able to say that I had real teachers- it was also very familiar. It is this mixture of the utterly different and the deeply familiar that fascinated me and made me want to translate it back into the world of our learning.

Q: To what extent can a Western philosopher (such as Derrida) be reconciled with Sufi theory and practice? Are you unusual in synthesizing the two?

A: Yes, if you don’t just want to report to the Western philosopher about the Sufi, or, vice versa, report to the Sufi about the Western philosopher, if you’re not even satisfied with shuttling between them, but if, as you say, you really try synthesize the two, this is unusual. And you have a lot of explaining to do to both your enemies and your friends.

Q: Unlike many Western faculty at AUC, you succeeded in mastering Arabic with remarkable speed. What study advice do you have for those expatriate faculty who are stalled with their Arabic?

A: Well, Arabic is what we call in Western literature a “classical” language. That applies to some extent even to its contemporary, colloquial forms and to the so-called ‘Modern Standard Arabic’. It therefore requires appropriate ways of learning which means, amongst other things, an appropriate mindset. You have to be truly motivated, because it requires a lot of devotion and a lot of discipline.

Over the years I had to find out through my own experience that you can’t learn it ‘on the side’. And I found out something else that modern, contemporary, teachers of Arabic (and of language) will not like to hear: the best Arabic teacher I had was not an Arab, but Sri Lankan, and he had learned it from an Indian teacher who taught in the way most hated by all kids in the world. So, dear expatriates, don’t flinch. It’s worth it because it is a truly beautiful language.

Q: Just out of curiosity, what language does your family usually speak at home? Your wife is Egyptian, and obviously the whole family knows Arabic and English perfectly. And your children have all attended the German School before enrolling at AUC, and so they must know a bit of French to go with their German, just as you do. So it is easy to imagine a multilingual stew in conversations at the Stelzer household.

A: Well, English is for Ease, Arabic is for Mama (and as an expression of anti-father partisanship when such is called for), German is (sometimes, one doesn’t know why) for Baba, French is for Luxury, and on the whole it is as George Steiner said about the household he grew up in: you may start in one language and run through all the others in one sentence.

Q: The most memorable passage from your 2006 Caravan feature was probably when you said: “I do not find a need to plan anything. Planners believe in their own will but those who give up planning believe in someone else’s will.” I’m sure this was true of the HUSS Deanship, which you probably weren’t expecting. And in a way, your entire life story looks like a series of lucky surprises. But do you have any definite plans for the next few years that you could share with us?

A: Of course, you got me in the end. For, if I said “Yes, in my view, you do not need to plan anything”, then people would start wondering what kind of Dean this is, or it would dawn upon them why they never got answer to their queries, and why there is such a strange absence of any recognizable ‘course’ in his actions. And my justification of that through recourse to ‘a higher will’ wouldn’t be particularly reassuring. So, not to lose all credibility, let me modify my former statement: my life has taught me that you may have a lot of plans, and you must have a lot of plans. But do not expect too much from them, learn to be open to the unexpected, and know that the unexpected is (the most important?) part of your plans. If you can do that, you develop a sensitivity for others, you start listening to them instead of only echoing yourself. Then, you may be a good teacher, and you may even be an acceptable dean.

(as reported by the faculty members)

Amanda Click, Engy Fahmy, and Jayme Spencer, faculty librarians, were participants in an AMICAL workshop hosted by the American University in Sharjah, October 14-15, 2009. AMICAL is sponsoring an Ethnographic Pilot Project that will investigate undergraduate research habits and methods at 4 AMICAL institutions: AUC, AUSharjah, Lebanese American University and the American University Paris. Dr. Nancy Fried Foster, author of Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester, conducted the two-day workshop.

Graham Harman, Associate Vice Provost for Research and Associate Professor of Philosophy, is the subject of a review (of his recent book Prince of Networks) in the November/December 2009 issue (No. 158) of Radical Philosophy: “Of Princes and Principles,” by Andrew Goffey, Middlesex University.

Salima Ikram, Professor of Egyptology, is the featured subject of the National Geographic cover story “Animal Mummies.” November 2009, Vol. 216, No. 5, pages 30-51. (Note from the Editor: Salima appears in one photograph and is quoted extensively throughout the article.)

Abbas al-Tonsi, Senior Arabic Language Instructor in the Arabic Language Institute (ALI) has been awarded a grant from the Qatar National Research Fund to develop Arabic language curriculum for grades K-12. See the following wensite for details:

Alessandro Topa, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, is the subject of a review (of his German-language dissertation Die Genese der Peirce’schen Semiotik. Teil I: Das Kategorienproblem, 1857-1865) in the Transactions of the C.S. Peirce Society. Vol. 45, No. 2. The review is written by Daniel Rellstab of the University of Bern.

(as reported by the faculty members)

In this issue of the Bulletin, we have:

3 book chapters
1 journal article

Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS)

Nathaniel Bowditch, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy

•Journal article, “Malebranche: Divinity, Responsibility and Control of the Passions.” International Philosophical Quarterly, forthcoming 2010.

Emily Golson, Chair of the Department of Rhetoric and Composition

•Book chapter, Helen Garretson and Emily Golson, “Writing Assessment: From General Education Through the Major.” In Informing Writing and Thinking Through Assessment. (Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, forthcoming 2010.)

School of Public Affairs (SPA)

Kevin Keenan, Associate Professor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communications

•Book Chapter, “Public Relations in Egypt: Practices, Obstacles and Potentials,” in K. Sriramesh and D. Vercic (Eds.), Global Public Relations Handbook: Theory, Research and Practice (pp. 362-380). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2009.

•Book Chapter, “Corporate Reputation and the News Media in Egypt: Factors and Conditions in a Newly Privatizing Country,” in C. Carroll (Ed.), Corporate Reputation and the News Media: Agenda-Setting Within Business News Coverage in Developed, Emerging, and Frontier Markets (pp. forthcoming). New York: Routledge, forthcoming 2010.