Friday, April 30, 2010

The Black Arts Movement in the Nile Delta

On Wednesday, I gave a lecture on the Black Arts Movement at Menoufiya University, one of Egypt’s national universities, located in the Delta region. Menoufiya is one of seven national universities in the Delta, the fertile region between Cairo and Alexandria. Menoufiya has 70,000 students, which makes it one of the smaller of these universities, which all seem to have between 70,000 and 100,000. (By contrast, some in Cairo have well over 100,000, with 250,000 at Cairo University! AUC, on the other hand, has perhaps 5,000.) This means there are more than 500,000 university students in the Delta, which I was told is home to more than 50% of Egypt’s 80 million people (which, I believe, includes Alexandria’s 4 million). So let’s say 40 million plus approximately 20 million in Cario and then perhaps 20 million elsewhere in the country.

With a university this size, there are lots of exciting things happening. The English department, for example, has more than a thousand students, and the joke that a colleague made was for them all to be able to attend the program, we would have required the university football stadium. Still, the turnout was great.

In terms of the overall situation in the Delta, last year, the Guardian had a good article on the impact of climate change in the region.
I hope to find some time to share more about the program itself, but I wanted to begin somewhere, as I try to get my blog groove back.

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