May 25, 2021

By Moamar Abdelraham and Farhad Golriz, Staff Writers

In a recent Zoom lecture, Hedayat Institute Director Nagwa Hedayat shared that the pandemic has impacted plans to have Peralta students study abroad program visit Egypt, after having previously run a successful program in 2019. Current, ongoing virtual events will make up for some of the study abroad program. 

The Hedayat Institute for Arabic studies intends to bring the Arabic culture together with other cultures from every side of the world. The institute has currently held virtual meetings since traveling requirements since the beginning of the pandemic has changed the way people travel. Some extra courses included in the Arabic studies program besides Arabic language are Oriential Music, Calligraphy, Islamic Philosophy, Islamic Arts, Architecture, Advanced Studies of Middle East Politics and many others. 

The director shared that during the 2019 trip to Egypt, Peralta students were taken to the many historical locations from the Pharaonic, Jewish, Coptic, Islamic and modern moments which shaped Egypt’s past and present. The Ministry of Tourism has shared online resources with the institute which allows the institute to give virtual tours. 

The institute has been looking to make a partnership with Oxford University since 2012 which would have allowed for the Development Entrepreneur Program to make a “spinning out” for those in business with the muslim brothers in Egypt but did not follow through due to “political instability.” Creating a partnership would have opened many opportunities for students to transfer all credits studied at Hedayat Institute to universities and would have improved marketing to the program in both the United Kingdom and EU. 

Since the pandemic, Hedayet Institute has made changes to its program in many courses from the Arabic language course to many others to better improve the Hedayat Institute. 

Dr. Hedayat shared “I hope that many of you enroll in our virtual study abroad program as well as on site in Cairo- Egypt in the very near future.”

During the lecture, Dr. Hedayet spoke about Egypt and its strong importance in the Middle East alongside other nations such as Iran and Turkey. Dr. Hedayet spoke about the foundations of Egypt’s foreign policy, touching on  the previous roles of Amr Moussa as president of the Arab League and Boutros Boutros-Ghali as Secretary-General of the United Nations. 

She also spoke about Egypt’s geographical location and its four borders: the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Sudan to the south, Libya to the west, and the Red Sea and Palestine to the east. 

Dr. Hedayet added that the Egyptian economy has started to improve since 2018, she said “the economy is gradually improving with annual rates of GDP growth averaging 5.3% in FY 2017/18, up from 4% in 2014/15 and 2015/16, and from an average of only 2% during the period 2010/11-2013/14. 5.5% in 2020.”

She also spoke about the impact of the president’s ideological orientation on the foreign policy of Egypt and talked about the presidents of Egypt, specifically how Abdel Nasser took lands from the rich and distributed them to the poor, and that he went in his foreign policy to cooperate with Russia against United States of America. He was succeeded by President Sadat, who was open to the outside world and liberal, cooperating with the United States of America and emphasizing the significance 0f that relationship on international relations as a whole.

She then spoke about President Hosni Mubarak who followed in the ideological footsteps of Sadat, despite corruption spreading throughout Egypt. And finally she spoke about President Mohamed Morsi and his own cooperation with the United States, while wanting to move Egypt towards more traditional values similar to Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Peralta’s International Services Manager Drew Gebhart and a number of journalists and students interested in Egypt and researching Egyptian issues were in attendance.