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AMIDEAST Education Abroad Programs in Egypt are currently suspended. Please check back for updates on the program or contact with any questions.
Academic Staff

About Amideast Faculty:

Students enrolled in AMIDEAST’s Education Abroad Program in Cairo will have opportunities to study a diverse number of topics related to the Middle East and North Africa in a program based at AMIDEAST’s facilities in Cairo. AMIDEAST Education Abroad Program courses are taught by a select group of professors from a variety of institutions in and around Cairo. These lecturers possess a strong instructional experience in English-speaking environments. All faculty members have received post-graduate degrees from North American or European universities, or have spent considerable time at English-medium institutions as students, faculty members, visiting faculty or visiting researchers.

AMIDEAST Cairo Faculty

Dr. Dina Shehata (Academic Coordinator & Professor, Contemporary Egyptian Politics)
Dr. Dina Shehata is a senior researcher at al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies specializing in the study of Egyptian and Middle East politics with a special emphasis on the role of new social and youth movements in affecting change in the region. Dina holds a PhD in comparative Politics from Georgetown University, an Msc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and a BA in Middle East Politics from the American University in Cairo. She has published a number of books and articles in Arabic and in English. Her latest publications include the Fall of the Pharaoh (Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011), Youth Movements and the 25 January Revolution (Strategic Papers, April 2011), the Return of Politics: New Protest Movements in Egypt (Al Ahram center for Political and Strategic Studies, 2010) and Islamists and Secularists in Egypt: Opposition, Conflict and Cooperation (Routledge, 2009).

Ashraf Abdel-Hamid (Arabic Coordinator & Arabic Instructor)
Mr. Ashraf Abdel-Hamid began his teaching career as an English Language Instructor at the preparatory and secondary levels and later transitioned to teaching Arabic to non-native speakers at the university level. Most recently, Ashraf was an Arabic Language Instructor at the American University in Cairo, where he was responsible for teaching Egyptian Colloquial Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic at the elementary and intermediate levels. Ashraf’s experience includes teaching grammar, vocabulary, printed media and aural media. In addition to his professional experience, Ashraf has also volunteered as a language instructor, teaching both English and Arabic, in various not-for-profit organizations in Cairo. Ashraf earned his Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English from Cairo University in 1991 and his Masters of Arts in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language from the American University in Cairo in 2011. He is currently pursuing a M.A. in Arabic Studies, focusing on Arabic Language and Literature, and a Masters of Education in International and Comparative Education, both from the American University of Cairo. Ashraf joined the AMIDEAST Arabic faculty in 2011.

Dr. Randa Baligh (Professor, Introduction to Ancient Egypt)
Dr. Randa Baligh received her BA in Political Science in 1985 from the American University in Cairo. She obtained her PhD and M.Phil in Egyptology with highest honors at Yale University (1990-97). Dr. Baligh also holds graduate diplomas in Egyptology, Environmental Studies, and Museum Studies from Cairo University. Dr. Baligh is currently the head of the Department of Egyptian Archaeology at Mansoura University, while also serving as a lecturer at the American University in Cairo, the Diplomatic Institute of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Misr International University. In addition to being an active member in a number of academic associations such as the International Association of Egyptologists, the International Association of Coptologists, and the Arab Archaeologists, Dr. Baligh leads a number of tours throughout Egypt for the American Research Center in Egypt, the American University in Cairo and Smithsonian Tours. Dr. Baligh has been working with AMIDEAST since 2009.

Ibrahim El Houdaiby (Instructor, Islam & Politics, Islam & Modernity, Shariah & Society)
Mr. Ibrahim El Houdaiby is a senior researcher at House of Wisdom Center for Strategic Studies. A graduate of the American University in Cairo (2005), he holds a B.A. in Political Science (political economy) and an M.A. in Political Science and Development Studies (2012). He also earned a diploma in Islamic Studies from the High Institute of Islamic Studies in 2010, where he is currently pursuing his M.A. in Islamic Shariah. He writes a weekly column for the Arabic Daily Shorouk, and is a freelance columnist in English language Al-Ahram Online. His research focuses on Islamic movements, democratization, and political economy of the Middle East. Ibrahim El Houdaiby joined the AMIDEAST teaching staff in 2012.

Dr. Yasmin El Shazly (Professor, Egyptology in Practice)

Dr. Yasmin El Shazly is Head of Documentation at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and is a member of the museum's Board of Directors. Dr. El Shazly teaches occasionally at the American University in Cairo, Cairo University and AMIDEAST. She earned her BA in Egyptology from the American University in Cairo in 1998 and her MA (2002) and Ph.D. (2009) in Egyptian Art & Archeology from Johns Hopkins University. Her Ph.D. dissertation was entitled Royal Ancestor Worship in Deir el-Medina during the New Kingdom and is currently being prepared for publication with the Netherlands Institute for the Near East. Other publications include entries for The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt (2002), “Twins in Ancient and Modern Egypt” (2003), “Representations of Sequences of Royal Ancestors in Deir El-Medina Tombs,” and entries for the forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Ancient History. She has given papers at numerous Egyptological conferences and has appeared in a few documentaries, such as National Geographic's “The Silver Pharaoh: Secrets of the Dead” and The History Channel series “Chasing Mummies.” Dr. El Shazly also recently co-curated an exhibition at the Egyptian Museum in Rome entitled “Egypt's Golden Ages: Continuity and Change.” The opening of the exhibition has been postponed due to the Egyptian revolution of January 25th, 2011. She has been teaching for AMIDEAST since 2011.

Dr. Ashraf El Sherif (Professor, The Arab Spring; Comparative Politics of the Middle East & North Africa)

Dr. Ashraf El Sherif earned his PhD in Political Science with a specialization in Comparative Middle Eastern Politics from Boston University in 2010.  He received his BA in Economics & Political Science and his MA in Political Science both from the American University in Cairo.  Dr. El Sherif’s areas of expertise include political Islam, Islamic movements, religious public sphere, ideological politics, state-society relations, and democratic transition in the Middle East.  His dissertation was entitled, “Democratization of the Islamic Movements in Egypt and  Morocco: opportunity structures, organizational frameworks and Islamist ideological marketplace,” and he has published articles in Current History and al-Masry al-Youm.  He is currently an adjunct lecturer in Political Science at the American University in Cairo, and has also taught at Boston University and the College of the Holy Cross.  Dr. El Sherif joined the faculty at AMIDEAST in 2010.

Dr. Heba Raouf Ezzat (Professor, Islam and Politics)
Dr. Heba Raouf Ezzat is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science of the Faculty of Economics and Political Science of Cairo University.  She is also a visiting faculty member at the American University in Cairo.  She earned her BA (Honors), MA (Honors) and PhD in Political Science, all from Cairo University.  She has also spent time as a visiting researcher at the Centre for Democracy of the University of Westminster in London and at Oxford’s Centre for Islamic Studies.  In addition to her teaching at Cairo University, Dr. Heba also is Coordinator of the Civil Society Program for Research and Training and Foreign Relations Coordinator of the University’s Center for Political Research and Studies and Foreign Relations and Academic Events Coordinator of the Program for Dialogue between Civilizations in the University’s Faculty of Economics and Political Science.  Dr. Heba is widely published in both English and Arabic on subjects related to Islam, women and politics, and she authored a background paper on Gender Equality in the Arab World for the 2006 UN Development Programme’s Arab Human Development Report.  She has lectured in the US (Council on Foreign Relations, Georgetown University and University of California at Berkeley), Canada (McGill University), the UK (St. Anthony’s College of Oxford University, the Foreign Office and Lambeth Palace in London), Kuwait (Higher Committee for Sharia), and Morocco (Ministry of Awqaf).  She also lectures regularly on social theory to imams and Islamic scholars at the Dar ul-Ifta in Cairo.  Dr. Heba was selected for membership in the Young Global Leaders of the World Initiative of the World Economic Forum in 2005 and from 2003 to 2006 was a member of the Council of the 100 for Western-Islamic Understanding and the Religious Leaders Forum of the World Economic Forum.  Since 1999, she has been co-founder, and consultant on strategic planning and editorial policy evaluation for  She is the program convener for the Building Global Democracy program in the Middle East region. BGD is a major international action-oriented research initiative that explores how globalization can be governed in democratic ways (  Dr. Heba is currently interested in topics such as trans-local and cyber Islam; the changing maps of citizenship; women, empowerment and social change; globalization, violence and civility; and human agency, space and time.

Dr. Nicole Hansen (Professor, Pharaonic, Coptic, & Modern Egypt: Culture and Religion from Ancient to Modern Times)
Dr. Nicole Hansen is President and Founder of, a company that offers online courses, tours and publications on Egyptology to the general public.  She also is Director of External Relations and Communications for Arab Academy.  Dr. Hansen earned her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and her MA and PhD from the University of Chicago, all in Egyptology.  She has taught at the American University in Cairo and the University of Chicago.  She has a long record of publications, both scholarly and popular, including Omm Sety’s Living Egypt (2008) and numerous articles.  She holds dual American and Egyptian citizenship.

Dr. Kathy Kamphoefner (Coordinator, Community Based Learning Course)
Dr. Kathy Kamphoefner completed her Ph.D. in 1991 at Northwestern University. She specialized in Intercultural Communication, Middle East Studies and Communication and Development. Dr. Kamphoefner has ten years of experience in leadership positions at Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as well as two decades of university teaching experience. In her experience as a volunteer in the US, she has worked with hospitalized children, the developmentally disabled, in social movements for peace, women's rights, GBLT rights, and for human rights, while in the Middle East she has worked in violence reduction in Israel/Palestine and for the rights of refugees. Dr. Kamphoefner is the founder and director of Refugees United for Peaceful Solutions, an Egypt based NGO which promotes conflict resolution skills, mediation, and nonviolence in Cairo’s refugee communities. In the course of her career, Kamphoefner has lived and worked in the United States, China, Russia, Israel/Palestine, Egypt and South Sudan. She speaks English and Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. Dr. Kamphoefner has been working with AMIDEAST since 2011.

Dr. Mohamed I. Fahmy Menza (Professor, Development in the Middle East & North Africa)
Dr. Mohamed Menza earned his PhD in Arab & Islamic Studies at Exeter University in the United Kingdom. Within the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter, Dr. Menza specialized in political economy and sociology. His research interests lie within the field of Middle East politics and society, with a special focus on state and society relations, informal and patronage politics, and the political economy of development. Dr. Menza has received several awards including the Exeter Research Scholarship. He has taught courses in political economy and development at Exeter University and the American University in Cairo (AUC). In addition to his teaching, Dr. Menza has been working in the field of socioeconomic research and development for over 10 years by implementing development projects, conducting field research, and consulting for institutions such as the United Nations and the World Bank. Currently, he is an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Middle East Politics & Society at AUC. His most recent publication is the forthcoming book, "Patronage Politics in Egypt: the NDP and the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo," published by the Routledge Studies. Dr. Menza is also a founding Politburo member of Misr Al Horreya (Egypt Freedom) party, a social-liberal party that was established in the wake of the January 25th Revolution of 2011. Dr. Menza has been working with AMIDEAST since 2011.

Ms. Jehan Reda (Lecturer, Development of Islamic Architecture in the City of Cairo)
Ms. Jehan Reda teaches Islamic art and architecture at the American University in Cairo and has also taught in other programs such as the Hedayat Institute. She earned her BA and MA from the American University in Cairo.

Ms. Aya Nassar, Instructor, Understanding Contemporary Cairo
Ms. Aya Nassar is a teaching assistant in the Department of Political Science at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University. She is currently finishing her PhD at Cairo University, where she also obtained her master’s degree with a thesis entitled, Space and Politics: The Concept of the City in Western Political Theory. Her academic background is in political theory, and her research interests include social theory, urban studies, human geography, political philosophy, and Middle East studies. Nassar has written on cyberspace and the public sphere in Egypt, including Muslims and the use of Internet and the symbolism of Tahrir Square (in Arabic). English papers include, ‘Being in Al-Azhar Park: Public Spaces in Cairo’, presented at the International RC21 Conference in 2011 held in Amsterdam. She has also organized and participated in many workshops about the urban transformation of the city of Cairo.