EMAN SHENOUDA, Faculty member at the Faculty of Arts, Fayoum University, Fayoum, Egypt
2012-2013 Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, Whittier College, California, U.S.A
In 2012-2013, I was awarded a nine month Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence grant at Whittier College, California. I did co-teaching in an “Introduction to Globalization” course in fall 2012; then I taught two courses on “People and Culture in the Middle East Countries” and “Social Problems in Arab Countries” in spring 2013. I suggested these two new courses as I noticed that students, especially freshmen, were in need of in-depth understanding about Arab countries’ peoples and cultures, especially religions and marriage rituals. I realized this when I gave more than ten public talks and lectures to different departments and participated in two panel discussions at Whittier College and Rotary Club of Whittier city, CA . It was an unforgettable and amazing experience to me and my son as well, who was in Grade four at one of the public schools in Whittier city. He made a lot of friends who were fond of his Egyptian language and education. Also, his school principal awarded him the “Student of the Month” award. I was so proud and happy to see how people were interested in our culture and the social problems of Arab countries.
My office door was always open to my students; I was always encouraging them to come and have one-on-one meetings. I tried to widen their thoughts and minds by inviting a guest speaker from Morocco, Ms. Al-Hatemy, who was a Fulbright Ph.D. Candidate at that time, to talk to them about her society’s traditions and culture. I also invited another guest speaker from Palestine, Ms. Nesreen, a political activist who has been living in California for over 25 years and is fond of speaking about the Palestinian culture and the way of life in difficult times.
The unforgettable day in my life was when Fulbright awarded me the Outreach Lecturing Fund award (OLF) to give lectures at Bergen Community College. I travelled from California to New Jersey to give two lectures about the history of Egypt. I also talked about what shapes women’s lives in some Arab countries. I highlighted some Egyptian Pioneers of Feminism movements and added some knowledge about celebrating Women’s Day in Egypt.
In my second lecture, I discussed with the students gender issues in some Arab countries, the Egyptian constitution after the revolution of January 25th, 2011, and the reflections of this constitution on Egyptian women’s status. I briefly discussed the cultural shock that some Arab students may face when they immigrate to the States and leave their home country to study abroad.
I had a wonderful day with the students and the faculty who were so much engaged. I provided them with as much knowledge as possible about the culture of ancient and modern Egypt as well as women’s and youth issues. Thanks should go to people who facilitated and granted me this opportunity to achieve mutual understanding with students from different nationalities in Whittier College and in Bergen Community College.