A crowd of about 240 members of the University of Miami community squeezed into the Bill Cosford Cinema Wednesday to listen to the Egyptian ambassador to the United States, Sameh Shoukry, present a lecture titled “New Egypt – Its Promises and Challenges.”
The University of Miami was the first stop on Shoukry’s national tour of U.S. cities to discuss Egypt’s transition from a state of political stagnation onto a path toward democracy.
Egypt has been in a state of turmoil since December 2010, when the Arab Spring first began. The Arab Spring describes the revolutionary wave of protests from the Egyptian people that resulted in the fall of the country’s government.
“We are seeing a period of stagnation and usually these stagnations lead to a decline in the ability to achieve progress and even at times, unfortunately, it leads to bad incidences where desperation gives way and violence might erupt in one area or another,” Shoukry said in a pre-interview session with student media.
Shoukry explained that the main slogans for the movement have been justice, equality and prosperity for Egyptian people.
“I think the most sweeping change has been the recognition of the ability of ordinary people to have an impact in terms of the development of their country,” Shoukry said.
The lecture began with an introduction from the University’s President Donna E. Shalala, followed by remarks from Shoukry, and finished off with an interview by Bradford McGuinn, a senior lecturer and professor in the Department of Political Science.
“It is clear that the future of Egypt will impact the future of the world,” Shalala said.
Shoukry provided attendants with important information regarding the developments in Egypt along with confidence and assurance that Egypt will overcome this difficult time. He said that Parliament has already been put in place and they are working on the new Constitution in addition to the elections, which will be held in June.
“It’s been a very challenging but very positive year and our aspirations for a new Egypt, a better Egypt for our children and grandchildren, and we are hopeful that the revolution will accomplish all of its objectives,” Shoukry said.
Students who listened to the lecture seemed pleased with what Shoukry had to say, especially a group of Egyptian students who were front and center in the cinema.
“He took time out of his important schedule, he could have been anywhere, but he came to UM” said junior Abdullah Fathi, an Egyptian student majoring in entrepreneurship. “The fact that he understands that the youth is the future and that only they can transfer this knowledge to future generations, shows that he really cares.”
“He has graced our campus in order to talk about important issues that affect all of our lives, regardless of where we are from,” Fathi added.
Junior Nadim Nagui also enjoyed the speech.
“I am proud to be Egyptian,” said Nagui, who is majoring in Industrial Engineering. “We Egyptians went through a lot this past year, we went through a peaceful revolution. We had our controversies, and now we are on our way to a democracy with prosperous and transparent elections.”