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Event: Grounding Political Change in Egypt: The Public Interest, Local Roots of Democracy & the Right to the City

Released: 20-Mar-2014 10:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: American University
Contact Information

Available for logged-in reporters only

WHO: TADAMUN: The Cairo Urban Solidarity Initiative's project leaders: Diane Singerman and Kareem Ibrahim

Discussants: Adel Iskandar, fellow at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University

WHAT: Discussion about local government reform, decentralization, the prospects of democracy in Egypt.

WHEN: March 21, 10:00am - 12:00pm

WHERE: American University’s McDowell Formal

Lounge, McDowell Hall See map here

The event is also being live streamed

Contact: J. Paul Johnson, American University Communication, 202-885-5943 or jjohnson@american.edu

Washington, D.C. (March 20, 2014) -- While national electoral politics and the struggles between state institutions and protesters have been dominating headlines from Egypt, Egyptian citizens have been organizing to address chronic problems in their communities. Despite overwhelming obstacles,
these local initiatives are challenging longstanding urban governance and planning norms in Egypt and are attempting to claim their right to enjoy liveable cities and communities.

TADAMUN: The Cairo Urban Solidarity Initiative is examining the obstacles and looking at solutions. TADAMUN is led by American University’s Diane Singerman and Kareem Ibrahim, director of Takween Integrated Community Development based in Cairo.

The event will address

• Why are there no elected or appointed mayors in Egypt, so that protest becomes the only means to express one's opinions in mega-cities like Cairo?

• How will Egypt face the current economic crisis while still facing popular demands for social justice and the equitable distribution of public services?

• How are local communities mobilizing to solve local problems and renegotiate politics at the local level?

• Will the army supplant the provisionary role which the Muslim Brothers used to play in many areas; can they afford to continue that policy?

Detailed bios of the speakers are below.

Diane Singerman is associate professor in the Department of Government, School of Public Affairs at American University. Among her publications are Cairo Contested: Governance, Urban Space, and Global Modernity, (ed., 2009), Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East (co-edited with Paul Amar 2006), and Avenues of Participation: Family, Politics, and Networks in Urban Quarters of Cairo (1995).

Kareem Ibrahim is the director of Takween Integrated Community Development based in Cairo, Egypt. Mr. Ibrahim is an architect and urban planner who worked on the UNDP's Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project. He has also worked for Aga Khan Trust for Culture - Egypt between 1997 and 2010 as the Built Environment Coordinator of the Darb al-Ahmar Revitalization Project, one of Cairo's most ambitious urban revitalization programs.

Discussant:

Adel Iskandar is a scholar of Arab studies whose research focuses on media and communication. He is the author, coauthor, and editor of several works including Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network that is Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism, Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation (University of California Press), and Mediating the Arab Uprisings (Tadween Publishing). His most recent publication is the authored anthology Egypt In Flux: Essays on an Unfinished Revolution (AUC Press). Iskandar teaches at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and the Communication, Culture, and Technology program at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

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