Fall is here and few words can express my sincere gratitude for the tremendous support Egypt Migrations has received since its incorporation in May. All I can say is that we appreciate each and every one of you!
Since transitioning from the CCHP, social media engagement has doubled and we’ve received more than 800 visitors to the website every month from over 40 countries. We’ve participated in community events and the first set in our growing oral history collection was well received by engaged followers. The emails and DMs on social media relate how much you value the work we do, and inspire us to continue our collaborations with migrants and organizations across Egypt and its diasporas.
Thanks to a grant from the Orfalea Center for Global and International Affairs at the University of California Santa Barbara, we welcomed dynamic and prodigious interns and volunteers this summer. We are in awe of the tremendous effort interns and volunteers dedicated to the organization. Now, as we enter September, over 30 new oral histories are in post-production, new archival donations are in processing, and our digital café continues to grow with new articles, interviews, and immigrants’ stories.
We have also reached our fundraising goal! Thank you from everyone at Egypt Migrations for donating financially, telling others about our call, or sending messages of support. We are forever grateful.
As we continue to grow, I take this opportunity to update you on how we are building to better serve Egypt’s migrants and leading the organization into exciting and innovative directions.
First, our team has has changed and expanded. Our dear friend Miray Philips has stepped down as editor to devote time to her academic and personal responsibilities. Miray is a celebrated writer and skilled researcher, whose article—“Coptic Cultural Trauma: Between Martyrdom and Rights”—has been selected as a co-winner of the ASA Human Rights Section’s Graduate Student Paper Award! Although we are sad to lose Miray as a part of the staff, we continue to learn from her expertise and are happy she has joined Egypt Migrations’ growing board of directors.
I happily announce new additions to Egypt Migrations’ permanent staff. Following a successful summer internship, Leila Zonouzi accepted the role of editor and outreach specialist. Leila is a brilliant, publicly-engaged scholar and we are fortunate to have her. Christin El-Kholy, summer social media intern, will stay on permanently as social media manager and continue her dynamic, enlivening, and creative engagement. Last, but certainly not least, Ahmed Ahmed will continue his volunteer position with Egypt Migrations. Ahmed is starting his first year of undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania and we wish him a fruitful and exciting year in Philadelphia!
Second, we have some exciting events to note for September. On Saturday, September 18th I will be representing Egypt Migrations at the Community Collaboration Learning Series in partnership with the Muslims in Canada Archives (MiCA) to discuss the creation, use, and value of oral history collections. Join us to hear all about how we document the histories of Egypt’s migrants and to learn how you too can start preserving local stories.
Following the speaking event, we will be launching in late September the “Egypt’s Migrants in Brazil” oral history exhibit curated by Diogo Bercito. Diogo conducted 10 interviews with migrants of diverse ethno-religious backgrounds from Egypt in Brazil that cover the experiences of individuals and groups over the course of the second half of the twentieth century. This set will be followed in late January 2022 by “Egypt’s Labor Migrants in the Gulf,” curated by Alya Osman, and in May “Egypt’s Migrants in Canada since the Arab Spring,” curated by Leila Zonouzi. As we prepare the exhibits for publication, we will continue to post articles, immigrants’ stories, and multimedia conversations with entrepreneurs, academics, activists, and politicians in our Digital Café. This Friday, we have an enlightening conversation with Dr. Amro Ali on his experiences as an Australian-Egyptian and his new book that centers Alexandria as metaphor.
Third, we are in conversation with Museums, government agencies, and non-profits across North America and are preparing grant applications to build the world’s first and only Egyptian immigrant virtual museum. We plan to bring you a dynamic, interactive digital experience that will guide participants through virtual rooms filled with the histories and memories of migrants, leading from the point of origin to the place of settlement and concluding with reflections on the homeland. This is a 2 to 3 year project that will require much effort and continued community investment and engagement to bring to fruition. We know we can do it, because we are inspired by the encouragement and guidance of our friends and colleagues all around the world.
Lastly, we continue to collect and curate family records for archival preservation. We are now awaiting confirmation on a large donation of approximately 15 boxes of journals, letters, photographs, and other such material to the Clara Thomas Archives. It is very exciting! Our stories matter and this is an important step to ensure visibility for our communities by creating accessible and catalogued reference points for scholars, researchers, journalists, politicians, and the general public.
Thank you for being a part of our journey to serve all Egypt’s migrants. Our mission remains now and into the future: to preserve our heritage and histories, educate our communities and the general public, and to empower future generation. This brief update is only a snapshot of current initiatives and there is still so much more happening behind the scenes that we plan to relate in the coming months. Egypt Migrations is the first organization of its kind. We are working in the spirit of collaboration and transparency with our communities to ensure the accessibility of our stories for research and learning. We are delighted by your support and encouragement. Our impact has only just begun.
With sincerest regards,
Dr. Michael Akladios, Founder & Executive Director