A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cairo University Gets a Facelift

It hasn't been offiicially confirmed but the indications that President Obama's speech to the Islamic world will be made from Cairo University are increasing, including the apparent massive cleanup and facelift of the university and its assembly hall. While I was one of those who thought al-Azhar would be more appropriate, Cairo University is still much preferable to speaking in a government building, or at some military parade ground or protected zone like Sharm al-Sheikh. It is a state institution but speaking there does not directly seem to endorse the regime's more controversial aspects. Rather it emphasizes the importance of education in the Arab and Muslim world.

Founded in 1908 as the Egyptian University, it was later known as Fuad I University until the fall of the monarchy, when it became Cairo University.

1 comment:

David Roberts said...

It is the sensible choice. As much as I would have liked to have seen Obama give his speech in the Al Azhar, I think it would have been too controversial.

Putting aside the (utterly) impossible practicalities for just a second, I still maintain that Obama giving his speech in the midst of Tahrir Square would have been quite a sight...