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John Charles Roedel

Tell us about yourself/background?
My recent work has focused on the intersection of politics and religion, especially when it involves violence. I am also a practicing psychotherapist, so I have gotten some perspective on violence and nonviolence at the personal level. My clinical work and academic work have continued to influence each other. After graduating, I hope to teach and write, as well as continue to practice as a therapist.

Why did you choose to study the Middle East?
Unfortunately for the Middle East, the region is currently a violent hotspot of politics and religion. At the same time, I also believe that the philosophies, religions and cultures of the region offer unique resources for a healing non-violence path, both here and globally.

What are the benefits of pursuing a MEST degree in Cairo?
Cairo is the cultural center of the Arab world, and it is hard for me to imagine pursuing the interests I have and not coming to Cairo. Cairo, like AUC, has been a bridge to new and exciting ways of living and thinking that would not have been possible in the US.

 

 

Jordan Rife,
Research Interest: Egyptian civil society 
Hometown: Plainwell, Michigan
Country: USA

Why did you choose to study the Middle East?
Studying at the Middle East Studies Center here at the American University in Cairo has helped me learn and grow more than I ever imagined! The MESC department has such a supportive staff, willing to help with anything you might need, even with non-academic related issues. And the courses you get to take, due to the interdisciplinary nature of the MA program, are just phenomenal. Many departments restrict students to taking courses only provided by that department. However, at MESC, I was able to take master-level history and political science courses, and hopefully, will take an anthropology course in the future. As an undergraduate, I went back and forth about whether I wanted to continue my education as a political science student or a Middle East studies student. But choosing MESC was the best decision I have ever made!

 

 

Lara Mikhail

Why did you choose to study the Middle East? 
I graduated in 2013 with a bachelor's in political science from the British University in Egypt. I chose to study the Middle East because this region is one of the immensely sophisticated regions, in terms of its political, social, economic and cultural configuration. One can never say they know everything about this region because it is a rapidly changing with all the civil wars, insurgencies, revolutions and simultaneously the endeavors of foreign intervention that are taking place in the region. So, this area of the world is of great interest for me, and getting to focus on this region will help me to widen my knowledge of the mechanisms of politics since the politics of this area can never be separated from the international community.

What are the benefits of pursuing a MEST degree in Cairo? 
Egypt is one of the most influential countries in the Middle East. It is also one of the most politically dynamic countries that witnessed so many changes after the so-called “Arab Spring." Getting to study the Middle East at AUC offers me a great opportunity in developing a closer and more realistic look at the politics of the region. You are able to meet people (colleagues or academics) from so many parts of the region along with international students, and you have the chance to study the Middle East from the perspective of the people living in the region, and not from a Euro-centric or Americanized point of view.

 

Yieun Kim

Tell us about yourself/background?
I am from South Korea. I did my undergraduate studies in Arabic and International Studies. I did my study abroad in Jordan for a year in 2013 where I stayed in the house of my Jordanian friend who was my roommate back home. She gave me my Arabic name "Hanadi," which I have been using ever since. Now even many of my Korean friends call me by that name. I love how people react when they ask me in coffee shops what my name is and I tell them  'Hanadi.”

Why did you choose to study the Middle East?
The reason I initially chose Arabic as my major was because I was interested in women's rights in the region. Being ignorant, I thought women in the Middle East had to be, somehow, ‘helped’ by other more privileged people, however, the more I learned, I realized how ignorant I was and that these misconceptions are deep-rooted and need to be further understood and analyzed. As I was studying the culture, politics and economics of the Middle East region in general, I became more interested in Middle East foreign affairs. All the news we hear in the media outlets on the Middle East, especially in Korea, were on the foreign affairs issues, and I could see that many of the news media in Korea were not taking a more holistic approach but were rather biased. I wanted to learn more and eventually become a bridge between South Korea and the Middle East.  

What are the benefits of pursuing a MEST degree in Cairo?
I chose AUC because I wanted to do my MA in the region, and study the region from a non-western perspective. Although I expected to have more daily experiences living in the city, living in New Cairo does not give me as much chance as I've expected. However, daily experiences I have on streets, in cabs and cafés all motivate and shape my studies and thoughts on the Middle East. Coming from Korea where the view on the Middle East is so narrow and limited, it is an amazing experience to live in Cairo and tell my friends, family and colleagues back home how it really is. I am also very into Instagram and I am not embarrassed about it. Although pictures would not tell everything, many of my friends have changed their stereotypical ideas they had on Egypt looking at the pictures I post.