The Yousef Jameel GAPP Public Leadership Program Second Trip under "Know Thy Country" Initiative
In Fall 2016, the Yousef Jameel GAPP Public Leadership Fellowship launched a new initiative under the name of “Know Thy Country." This is a multi-purpose initiative, aimed at enhancing the link between theory and practice, getting students to venture out of their classrooms and see face-to- face what is happening in different parts of their beloved country. It encourages students to foster the bonds between each other, helping them to expand their networks, and combining both educational and recreational aspects of the educational experience.
The first trip took place on December 15, 2016 where fellows visited the governorate of Fayoum. A group of Jameel fellows, along with the fellowship’s administration and some faculty members from the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, spent the day in Fayoum visiting local administration units, NGOs and conversing with local fishermen and workers. The second trip took place on February 24 to 25, 2017. Students traveled to the Upper Egyptian governorates of Luxor and Qena.
During the first day, the group explored the ancient city of Luxor, known as the world's greatest "open-air museum." Everyone was captivated by the authenticity and charm of Luxor, starting the day off with the Valley of the Kings and Temple of Hatshepsut located at the west bank of the Nile, and then heading by Nile cruise to the east bank to visit the Luxor and Karnak Temples.
Everyone was fascinated by the tales of Egypt's history during the Karnak Sound and Light Show, which narrated the achievements of some of the great Pharaohs of Egypt through poetic and dramatic renditions and music.
On the second day, the group headed to Qena. In collaboration with The Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID/El Nidaa) Foundation, an intensive program was organized around 42 villages the foundation works with, specifically in regards to the organization's handicrafts development and the sustainable agricultural development programs. The group had the opportunity to visit different villages that specialized in creating handicrafts. They saw how talented the young women were who were working on a variety of traditional crafts including: arabesque, pottery, and handwoven shawls, popularly known in Nagada village as ferkas. They also visited the integrated fish farm pilot project, presented as a model for sustainable, efficient reclamation of desert land for fish and meat production, using solar energy and biogas.
Overall, the fellows had the chance to witness development work firsthand allowing them to develop new insights about the notion of public service and the development sector in our country. It was also an opportunity for our fellows to practice community engagement that is emphasized in the Yousef Jameel fellowship. Interestingly, more than half of the Egyptian fellows had never traveled to Luxor prior to this trip, which underlines the need for the fellowship which encourages students to venture and explore within the rich borders of Egypt.