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«Final Report of the Summer Program June and July 2011 Iman A. Soliman CASA Executive Director Arabic Language Institute The American University in ...»

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Final Report of the Summer Program

June and July 2011

Iman A. Soliman

CASA Executive Director

Arabic Language Institute

The American University in Cairo




The CASA Fellows

Preliminary Planning

Arrival of Fellows and Orientation

Components of the Summer Program

Academic Program

Cultural Program

Language Pledge

Program and Instructor Evaluation

Evaluation of the Program: Reflections and Plans


I. Administration and Staff II. CASA Summer Teaching Staff and Assignments III. Biographies IV. Attendance Policy V. Summer Class Schedule and Activities Calendar VI. Student Life and Activities Pamphlet VII. Language Pledge VIII. Orientation Presentation by Dr. Iman Soliman IX. AUC Online Teacher Evaluation Form X. CASA Summer Program Evaluation Survey


I wish to thank Dr. Martha Schulte-Nafeh and Dr. Zeinab Taha, the Director and Co-Director of CASA respectively, for the effort each has exerted on behalf of the Center for Arabic Study Abroad during the summer of 2011. I would like to thank Dr. Martha for her supportive presence during the preparatory weeks late May and early June 2011. I am also grateful to Dr. Taha for her ongoing invaluable advice and unfailing support.

CASA is also indebted Dr. Lisa Anderson, AUC President, for her unfailing support of the CASA fellows and program in difficult and challenging times. Special thanks goes to: Dr. Medhat Haroun, AUC Provost, for facilitating the work logistics and his flexibility and cooperation; Dr. Hesham Abd El Aziz, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Operations Downtown, for his support and efforts towards maintaining the CASA learning space on the Tahrir Campus. CASA would like to express its gratitude to the administration at AUC for its support: Vice President for Finance and Administration, Mr. Fouad Sayess; Director of Office of Sponsored Programs, Ms. Mouna Shaker;

and Assistant Director of Office of Sponsored Programs, Ms. Nivine Seif. CASA would also like to express its gratitude to the U.S. Department of Education, the CASA Consortium members, the Fulbright Commission, the Ford Foundation and the Mellon Foundation for their generous and continuous support of CASA.

I wish to extend a special thanks to the Arabic Language Institute (ALI) administration and staff (Appendix I) for their cooperation in making the program so successful. My deepest gratitude also goes to Ms. Wassima Al Shafei, CASA Program Specialist; Mr. Hani Yousry, CASA Program Administrative Assistant and Technical Support and Mr. Mohib Nassif, the Students’ Assistant, for their efficiency in responding to the needs of both students and teachers and for supporting me with all the office work. I’d like to specifically commend Ms. Wassima for her indispensible budgeting skills.

Last but not least, I would like to thank all of the CASA summer teachers (Appendix II), who were willing to venture into Tahrir to teach, despite all of the disruptions that were taking place due to the ongoing Egyptian Revolution---a job well done. I would also like to commend and express my appreciation to Ms. Nadia Harb and Ms. Shahira Yacout for the invaluable mentoring role they played for the new CASA part time instructors. The CASA faculty is the main reason for CASA's continued success.


This year, the summer institute offered a CASA I program designed to provide intensive language and culture education to graduate students and a number of qualified undergraduate students.


There were 46 full-year and 1 summer-only fellows during the summer semester. Fellows came

from the following universities:

American University in Cairo, American University of Beirut, Amherst, Barnard College, Birzeit Univeristy, Boston University, Brown University, BYU, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth, Davidson College, George Mason, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, McGill University, Middlebury College, New York University, Princeton University, Tufts University, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of California at Los Angeles, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Univeristy of GeorgiaAthens, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, University of Texas at Austin and Wayne State University (Appendix III).


Confirmation of the students’ arrival in Cairo was uncertain until early May 2011, due to the political unrest in Egypt and Syria. The need to accommodate 47 new fellows was good news, but was physically beyond the previous capacity of the CASA learning space at Hill House.

Negotiations with the AUC Provost took place to find the required learning space. Two more smartclassrooms and an extra office space accommodating two teachers, were allocated to CASA at Hill House. Due to the ongoing political upheaval in Cairo, CASA included a risk training session during Orientation for the first time. Dr. Iman Soliman discussed and planned this session with Mr. Brian MacDougall, from the International Students’ Office, Dr. Mahmoud Zouk, Vice President for Planning and Administration, the AUC Emergency Management Team and other personel to provided sample documents to the stateside office of what AUC would present to new fellows for the risk training session. The remaining orientation documents, class schedules, and final arrangements for recruiting new faculty were completed by the end of May.

Dr. Iman Soliman, together with the appointed cultural assistants for summer 2011, Mr. Brian Powell and Ms. Erin Collins, answered students’ questions by email and worked on preparing a number of cultural exchange meetings. Due to the pending approval for the 2011 fellow arrivals to Cairo, the CASA students’ blog communication was somewhat delayed compared to previous years.

The blog group provides incoming fellows with detailed information on life in Cairo, a list of apartments previously occupied by CASA students and answers to many of their questions in a friendly and informal chat space.

Dr. Iman Soliman interviewed and appointed new part time faculty members to provide required language training in six classes rather than four that were usually opened. In addition, co-teaching arrangements were made in order to provide in-service training to newer teachers and assistance to senior teachers with the relatively higher work load resulting from the somewhat larger class sizes.


The new fellows arrived in Cairo between May 27 and June 14, 2011. AUC representatives met the fellows at the Cairo airport and CASA provided transportation for arriving students to their destination of choice. Upon arrival, a welcome email was sent with important Orientation dates and times and informing students to contact the CASA Office if they needed any assistance. Due to security measures, the CASA Executive Director asked fellows to adhere to AUC’s recommendation to limit their search for accommodation to risk-free areas such as Zamalek, Dokki or Maadi.

Throughout the summer, cultural assistants aided students in getting adjusted to living in Cairo and assisted several of them in searching for and setting up apartments.

The CASA Student Orientation, ECA placement exam and registration took place on Sunday, June 5, 2011. The fellows were officially welcomed by Dr. Martha Schulte-Nafeh, CASA Director, and Dr. Iman A. Soliman, CASA Executive Director. Each fellow also received a packet with important phone numbers, international medical insurance cards, fellows’ biographies (Appendix III), AUC Student Orientation Handbook, AUC Student Calendar, CASA Attendance Policy (Appendix IV), summer class schedule and calendar of events (Appendices V(a) & V(b)), student life and activities pamphlet (Appendix VI), visa and course registration forms, and the Language Pledge (Appendix VII).

Dr. Schulte-Nafeh welcomed the students and talked about the importance of the language pledge and touched upon the spring elective, Casawiyyuun Bila Huduud. Dr. Soliman gave a presentation about the different constituents of the summer, fall and spring programs, and introduced the summer ALI faculty and staff to the fellows (Appendix VIII). Dr. Soliman focused her remarks on the goals of the different components of the program and introduced briefly the new cultural exchange initiative between CASA fellows and the Egyptian students from the translation section at the School of Continuing Education (SCE). AUC President Lisa Anderson welcomed the new fellows to AUC and Cairo and shared her own experience as a CASA summer program alumni, encouraging new CASA students to engage in the society and in the changes taking place in Egypt and the reformation of the New Egypt. The AUC EMT also gave a presentation and discussed general issues relating to health and safety as well as the ongoing demonstrations in Tahrir. After the morning meeting, the students had their ECA placement exam, took a guided tour around the downtown campus which included the computer lab, bookstore, Falaki gymnasium, CASA lounge, classrooms and cafeteria.

In addition, they completed registration forms and received their first monthly stipend. All orientation activities were conducted in Arabic.

On Monday, June 6, 2011, the students had a second Orientation at the AUC New Cairo Campus.

On this day, the CASA fellows took the AUC bus from Tahrir to the New Campus, where they were officially welcomed at AUC by Dr. Zeinab Taha, ALI Director and CASA Co-Director, AUC Provost Medhat Haroun, and Dr. Ferguson, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The fellows also attended two induction presentations by Dr. Iman Omri, from the Office of Student Counseling, Mentoring & Conduct and Dr. Mohammed Dabbour, Associate Dean and Director of Student Development. After the morning meeting, the fellows received their AUC ID cards and opened an AUC email account. Students took a guided tour of the campus which included the computer labs, bookstore, library, gymnasium, and food court and then returned to Tahrir.

Summer classes began on June 7, 2011 and the last day of classes was on July 25, 2011.


CASA I summer program provides intensive language and culture education through the following components: Academic Program, Cultural Program, and Language Pledge.


The academic program in the summer consisted of 22 contact hours per week. Each fellow is required to take two core courses: Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (11 hrs./wk.); Modern Standard Arabic (11 hrs./wk.). These contact hours included a weekly ten minute scheduled interview for each student.

Egyptian Colloquial Arabic In the summer program, CASA fellows meet with their ECA teachers for two hours per day, Monday - Thursday, for a total of eight classroom hours per week. Students are divided into six sections according to their level of proficiency, determined through the aural placement exams held during the downtown orientation session. Co-teaching was introduced this summer as a benefit for the students and for professional development purposes.

Group 1 Ms. Shahira M. Yacout/Emad Samir Group 2 Ms. Shahira M. Yacout Group 3 Ms. Dina Bashir/Mohammed Ibrahim Group 4 Ms. Sayed Ismaeil/ Mr. Emad Samir Group 5 Mr. Hany Fazzaa Group 6 Miss Nermine Samir.

The summer students worked with the CASA book, Hadutah Misreyyah. Each lesson consists of a short movie clip revolving around an issue characteristic of contemporary life in Egypt, such as traffic, living conditions, education, family life, and youth issues. These materials were updated to to reflect the Egyptian revolution and how these cultural issues led to the uprising of the Egyptian people on January 25, 2010. The movie clip, which provides examples of an everyday conversation, is followed by four interviews with various Egyptian intellectuals and government officials who talk about the same general issues in a variety of Arabic known as “ammiyyat al-muthaqqafiin” (the colloquial of educated speakers). These materials serve as a spring board for a variety of in-class and out-of-class activities. A number of movies and authentic radio broadcast programs reflecting the flow of events and the spirit of the Egyptian Revolution were selected and used to enrich the book, especially at the more advanced levels.

Modern Standard Arabic: Introduction to Egyptian Culture and Society In the summer program, the MSA classes met for two hours per day, Monday - Thursday, for a total of eight classroom hours per week. The fellows were divided into four sections based on their scores in the CASA selection exam.

–  –  –

This summer, CASA reused the textbook which was developed for its MSA course. The textbook focuses on Egyptian culture and society and it contains a selection of articles focusing on topics related to national identity and character, the position of minorities, the role of religion in the public life, and various other social issues. Each topic is presented through a variety of articles of different genres, and the articles are accompanied by suggested in-class and out-of-class activities, as well as a CD with vocabulary and listening materials. The CD highlights the importance of cultural awareness and understanding in language learning and facilitates vocabulary acquisition.

In addition to the textbook, CASA fellows were exposed to a variety of materials designated for the extensive reading and reading for pleasure such as the novel “Yacoubian Building” by Alaa AlAwsani, and collections of short stories written by contemporary Egyptian writers.

One-on-one scheduled interviews Throughout the summer, faculty CASA members were available at scheduled times to meet with fellows to discuss their individual needs and their overall progress.


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