Civic Engagement Symposium in Cairo

The Civic Engagement Symposium in Cairo, Egypt provided a forum for intellectual and cultural exchange among a selected group of educators from throughout the Middle East, North Africa and the United States.

Participating teachers exchanged ideas and explored ways in which active youth participation and cross-cultural collaboration, both locally and globally, contribute to the development of 21st century skills, including critical and creative thinking, problem solving, good communication and innovation.  All sessions of the workshop and symposium were facilitated by UME faculty members Liz Gruenfeld and Maura Clarke.


Educators presenting posters in the International Symposium
The Civic Engagement Symposium included nine American educators, ten Egyptian educators, and fourteen educators from throughout the Middle East and North Africa.


Program participants, Symposium speakers and Egyptian youth engage in a panel discussion about connecting classrooms and communities in the Egyptian context

The first day of the Symposium featured notable guest speakers from local and international organizations working on youth civic engagement and empowerment in Egypt and internationally, including Hany Hamroush, Professor at the American University of Cairo and the Al Gore Globe School Project, and Science Advisor at the US Embassy in Cairo, Natalie Forcier, Founder of the Youth LEAD Project, Laila Iskandar, Executive Director of CID Consulting, Amani Elshimi, Director of Community-Based Learning at the Gerhardt Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University of Cairo, among several others. 

International Symposium participants, faculty and guests share experiences and exchange ideas

In addition, participating educators from the U.S. and MENA region showcased youth civic engagement projects they have implemented with their students in their local contexts on posters that were displayed in the program hall.

Welcome Celebration for the UME group by students at Saint Joseph’s School in Cairo
On the second day of the International Symposium participants visited and collaborated with Egyptian youth at St. Joseph’s School.
Students at Saint Joseph’s School engage the UME group through musical and dance performances and lively dialogue about their own civic engagement
During the following three days, Egyptian and American participants took part in the Civic Engagement Workshop, which focused on learning pedagogies for promoting student interest, involvement and leadership in community issues affecting them both locally and globally, and collaborating on projects to meaningfully connect their students, both within and between the US and Egypt. 
Participating educators exchange ideas and collaborate on future projects
Participants visited Nahdet El Mahrousa, an Egyptian NGO seeking to have a positive impact on the country’s development by engaging Egyptian youth, at Cairo University.  
Participants enjoy a delicious Egyptian meal

Participants had the opportunity to visit some of Egypt’s most renowned cultural and historical sites, including the Giza Pyramids, the Sphynx, the churches, synagogues and mosques of Old Cairo and the Khan el Khalili, among others.


 UME Staff and participants enjoy their time at the Giza Pyramids