This program is organized by Duke faculty/staff in collaboration with DukeEngage.
June 7 - August 3
Teaching literacy skills to refugees, supporting youth with physical disabilities, and offering assistance with community development.
The Cairo program is an exciting, rigorous civic engagement program committed to strengthening the spirit of social entrepreneurship, humanism and volunteerism among students. Spearheaded by Duke Islamic Studies Center and the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, the program encourages participants to think creatively about understanding and solving real-world problems. 2013 marks DukeEngage’s sixth summer in Cairo, so it will be building on existing cooperation and collaboration with local NGOs and community partners.
The nature of the program is civic engagement in NGOs, whether Western-based organizations or localized Western model of civil society associations. Activities also include regular cultural immersion in socio-historical processes and Arabic practices and instructions. In these contexts, DukeEngage Cairo 2013 will be a continuation of DukeEngage Cairo 2012—geared toward leaning and serving, theory and practice.
We will be working primarily with our partners at Ana el Misri (I the Egyptian Organization) and al-Kiyan Society, Risalah organization and Sakakini Refugee services. These NGOs, despite their different organizational outlooks, forms and rationales, share the goal of providing services to the needy, under-served local population, children and transiting refugee communities. This shared platform enables DukeEngagers to explore the many ways through which they can foster societal development in a multicultural society as well as in global communities.
St. Andrew’s Ministry is an NGO that works with refugee communities from Somalia, Sudan, and Iraq. In previous program, we had worked on developing summer literacy programs designed for un-accompanied refugees in Cairo. Our hope is that the Summer Literacy Program will provide these refugees with enough English that will enable them to enter private or public schools in the fall. There will also be other activities and workshops related to helping this population increase its human capacities and survival skills.
Below are descriptions of our primary community partners:
Kayan Society is a pioneering example of NGOs in Egypt and the Arab world aimed at elevating the quality of life for children with special needs and their families, training specialists and creating a positive stance and perception within society towards persons with disabilities. Past DukeEngage participants worked on promoting positive public perception for the children, participated in regular outreach programs with similar NGOs, conducted English workshops for the employees.
I the Egyptian is a non-profit foundation with the objective of providing an integrated approach to the phenomena of street children. Its aim is to address the problem of children presence in the streets as well as understand the processes that pushed them to the streets. This NGO is our newest community partner. DukeEngage 2011 ran a summer intensive school for the NGO; they also worked on developing materials on training its staff, issues of organizational development and capacity building.
The DukeEngage program in Cairo involves three components:
1) Civic engagement service activities in Egyptian NGOs;
2) Cultural and social context activities, including visits with civic and community leaders; and site visits to organizations, institutions and historical sites that provide important historical and cultural context for understanding civic engagement and civil society in contemporary Egypt. The 2011 group learned to identify issues of the Egyptian revolution and key players of societal changes. There is a program called Duke-Cairo Platform that meets every Sunday evening to discuss a topic of intellectual or political importance.
3) Arabic language & cultural classes and practice at al-Diwan Center http://www.diwancenter.com/new/index.shtml and at Arab Academy http://www.arabacademy.com
Language / Other Prerequisites: Participants are required to have taken at least one semester of Arabic.
Reflection Sessions: Civic engagement activities take place in local NGOs and students are exposed to both Western-based organizations and indigenous grassroots Egyptian organizations. DukeEngage Cairo participants are, therefore, required to share their experiences and observations and to reflect on the meaning of civic engagement through regular postings on the program’s blog and other on-site activities. More details will be shared with students once they arrive on site.
Neighborhood: Students will be living in downtown Cairo around Garden City or Zamalek.
Housing and Accommodations: Participants will be housed in apartments in either the Garden City neighborhood or at Zamalek neighborhood, in Cairo. Garden City is a central location that is easily accessible to all parts of Cairo. Each student will share a room with another DukeEngage student of the same gender. The apartment will have beds, desks, closets, kitchenette, and a bathroom, which will also be share by two DukeEngage students of the same gender. Students will have the ability to cook their meal or go to nearby restaurants. Internet access will be available in nearby Internet Café or in the apartments. Laundry facilities are also available.
Transportation: Participants will take local train and/or private taxi to and from NGO placements. Transportation on group-outings arranged by community partners or the DukeEngage On-Site faculty will be combination of private taxi and van service. Students will normally commute to work in pairs as it is the goal to place at least two students at most placements. Air travel to & from Cairo will likely be on Egypt Air or on Delta. In both cases, it is a direct NY-Cairo flight.
Opportunities for Autonomy / Private Space: This is an immersive program designed to be one of the most demanding experiences in one’s lifetime. Normal teaching days at St. Andrew’s are 8:30 am – 2:30 pm, Monday through Thursday. In other NGOs, work hours are tailored to individual schedules. Evening classes are generally 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. During the week, students will have one to two group commitments, which are organized after St. Andrew’s and before evening classes. On the weekends, students will have a good deal of free time during approximately five weekends in the program; these weekends are not entirely free as some activities regularly take place on Saturdays and other programmatic commitments on Fridays. The other three weekends will be spent as a group participating in field trips in Cairo or outside the city.
Miscellaneous: Students will be engaging in cultural immersion experiences—meeting public figures, visiting educational institutions, visiting historical sites and meetings with local religious and civic leaders—and taking trips to the pyramids, Alexandria, and other sites, if conditions and circumstances allowed. Some of the trips to Cairo sites may be integrated into the language curriculum and arranged through language institutions. Trips outside the designed areas must be approved by DukeEngage.
Program participants are encouraged to be aware of cultural specifics pertaining to Egypt. Reading DukeEngage Cairo blogs, understanding daily challenges of previous participants or asking program organizers is important in making an informed decision on whether this is the right program given the cultural realities of the site.