Saturday, April 23, 2011

School Visit

Today we visited a school north of Cairo. We were greeted by the principal before going to meet with grade 10 students (age 15) and later grade 9 (age 14) students who are in a special language program. Many of their core subjects are taught in English rather than Arabic, and I was impressed with their language skills.

The kids talked about their experiences during the revolution. A few described themselves as revolutionaries who joined the protests in Tahrir Square; others were eager to share their experiences at home. We had wide-ranging and dynamic discussions about what lies ahead for Egypt, the bumpy path toward democracy, whether there is gender equality in Egypt, how strict their parents are, and what they like to do in their leisure time. The kids were engaging, thoughtful, bright, aware, and funny.

I shared the video of Yarmouth kids asking questions and commenting on the revolution; I think it helped to serve as an ice breaker of sorts to help the Egyptian kids realize that American students have questions about their peers thousands of miles away, are paying attention and following what's happening here, and share many of their hopes and dreams.

The conversation was moving, inspiring, lively, fun. There was great energy in the room, and the conversations continued after our time officially ended. I was able to video tape many of the Egyptian students' responses to my students' questions - as well as some of their testimonials about what they witnessed during the revolution - and will look forward to bringing this back with me to share with others. We continued our conversations with faculty during lunch, and felt warmly welcomed by our hosts. I hope the opportunity to dialog with the Egyptian kids is just beginning, and that students in our schools will be able to continue to share and learn from one another, whether through video conferencing, blogs, email exchanges, etc.

The day captured the great energy, hopes, aspirations, and talents of the Egyptian people. I have a great deal of confidence in these young people who will help to shape the future. This day was remarkable, and one I will treasure always.


  1. This looks like an amazing day, I'm so glad the video helped and am really looking forward to seeing their responses and learning more! Safe travels home

  2. Can't wait to watch the video of the Egyptian students!