“Arab Spring” is a term used to describe the popular uprising and wave of demonstrations, rallies and protests against authoritarian regimes and in support of democratization that began on 18 December 2010 in the Arab world, namely Tunisia. In Egypt, masses of people started demonstrating all over the country but especially in Tahrir Square on 25 January 2011. On the morning of 31 January 2011 an estimated 2 million people were out in the streets and hundreds of thousands occupied Tahrir Square. After 18 days of relentless protests, on 11 February 2011, President Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign his 30-plus year presidency.
At WVC, the Center for Global Education reacted quickly in its aim to inform and instruct students and everyone on campus. A panel of scholars on Egypt and two WVC international students from Egypt was convened to discuss what is happening in Egypt. On Tuesday 15 February 2011 at 6:00 PM in the WVC Theater, over 150 people from the WVC campus and surrounding communities gathered to listen to the panel of speakers, and to ask questions. The exchange lasted over two hours. The recorded version can be screened here. The panel included:
- Lotfy Arbab, Fulbright Scholar studying Business Administration at WVC, born and raised in Cairo, holds a BS degree in Tourism, worked in restaurant management, licensed Egypt Tour Guide.
- Dr. Khalil Barhoum, Professor of Linguistics and Senior Lecturer in Arabic at Stanford University, Coordinator of the Program of African and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures in the Division of Cultures, former President of Association of Arab American University Graduates.
- Dr. Gerald Grudzen, Professor of Philosophy and Middle East Studies, Adjunct Professor at University of Phoenix Online, San Jose City College, and in the Global Studies Program at San Jose State University.
- Sami Ibrahim, Professor or Chemistry at San Jose City College, born in Alexandria, Egypt and educated in Egypt and Canada, leads educational tours to Egypt, and Chair of the Annual Middle Eastern Heritage Celebration Planning Group at SJCC for ten years.
- Moustafa Moaaz Ayesh Ibrahim, Fulbright Scholar studying Business Administration at WVC, studied English literature at Al-Azhar university in Egypt.
- Jacqueline Thurston, artist, writer and Professor Emerita of Art at San Jose State University, lived, worked and was a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt.
The photo essay screened at the beginning of the panel discussion can be seen here: GE 2-15-11.