International Educator - November/December 2016 - 54

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VIEW FROM OUT HERE
By Amani Elshimi

''I Could Be You'':
Reflections of an Instructor in Cairo
I have a story to tell. I am no hero. I am like you.
I could be your brother, father, uncle, cousin. I could be you. In another time,
in another place, this could be your story and that's why you must understand.
I am one man, with one story, but there are many more like me.

I

watched the flood of Syrian refugees
cross borders north and south-
anonymous faces, young and old,
fearful and hopeful. Who were these
people, and how did they handle the pain
of displacement? What inner strength kept
them going? A picture of a middle-aged
woman cradling the face of a young man
brought on a mix of emotions. Something
about her looked like me. Was the boy her
son? Had he been in college? Had he played
for the basketball team? Had he stayed out
late with friends, and had she constantly
told him off? "I could be you," I heard the
woman's voice in my head. I was reminded
of another time, almost 10 years previously.
It was 2006. I was teaching a capstone
course, Writing for Publication, in the
rhetoric and composition department at
The American University in Cairo (AUC).
The students were taking the class as part
of their core curriculum, and they came
from majors as diverse as literature and
engineering, economics, and philosophy.
Working with the theme of "Citizenship
and Inclusion," we grappled with definitions
and implications, difficulties, and failures.

54  

AHMED ELSHEIKH/ SHUTTERSTOCK

-Sudanese refugee in Cairo, 2006
Questions were raised and concepts were
challenged. As a teacher passionate about
experiential pedagogies, I seized the opportunity to introduce a community-based
learning (CBL) project-a difficult one.
Just a few months before, about 3,000
Sudanese refugees had settled in a park in
front of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office in Cairo. Without
documentation testifying of their refugee
status, they had no access to employment,
education, health care, and legal protection.
For three months, the refugees had camped
in the park, waiting to be heard. Residents
of the neighborhood spoke of them with
great disdain, saying they "dirtied the
streets," "hampered the traffic," and "spread
diseases." Few people listened to their complaints or understood their problems. They
were seen in mass form, rather than as individual humans with families, goals, and
lives. Eventually, they were violently dispersed and detained by police authorities.
"Who are these people?" I had asked.
"What are their stories?" And, thus, the

idea of the CBL project arose. What better
service than enabling refugees to have their
stories told and their worth acknowledged?
And what better opportunity for learning
than writing with engagement, communicating voice, and seeking publication? I
envisioned a collection of first-person oral
narratives, highlighting personal experiences and dreams. This was going to be a
great service project.

Invaluable Learning
When the semester started, I shared with
students the course learning outcomes of
research, writing, editing, publication, and
presentation. As undergraduates, none
had published before, and they were worried about what was expected of them. We
analyzed journal mission statements and
submission guidelines, critiqued articles,
examined book proposals, and learned
about publishing policies. By the fourth
week, the students felt comfortable with
the language and expectations of publication. Their enthusiasm for the CBL project
rose, and they were eager to embrace both
learning and service.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - November/December 2016

From the Editor
In Brief
Voices
Act Globally
Tradition and History
Health and Insurance
Education Abroad
International Enrollment
View From Out Here
In Focus
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Cover1
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Cover2
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 1
International Educator - November/December 2016 - From the Editor
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 3
International Educator - November/December 2016 - In Brief
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 5
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 6
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 7
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 8
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 9
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 10
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 11
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Voices
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 13
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 14
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 15
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Act Globally
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 17
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 18
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 19
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 20
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 21
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 22
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 23
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 24
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 25
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Tradition and History
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 27
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 28
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 29
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 30
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 31
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 32
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 33
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 34
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 35
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Health and Insurance
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 37
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 38
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 39
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 40
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 41
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Education Abroad
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 43
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 44
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 45
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 46
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 47
International Educator - November/December 2016 - International Enrollment
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 49
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 50
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 51
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 52
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 53
International Educator - November/December 2016 - View From Out Here
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 55
International Educator - November/December 2016 - In Focus
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Cover3
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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