Mohamed Elshahed joined us for a conversation about his many migrations, from Egypt to Kuwait and the US and back again. He shared how migration has affected his biography and shaped his observations of Cairo and its complicated histories. Elshahed also confided personal stories about survival and finding solace in the midst of a global pandemic through history and film, inspirations which have captured the attention of thousands through his much beloved Instagram page Cairobserver.

Mohamed Elshahed is a curator and architectural historian focusing on modernism in Egypt and the Arab World. After undergraduate studies at the College of Architecture and Design (NJIT) he earned his master’s from MIT’s Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture and a PhD from NYU’s Department of Middle Eastern Studies. He is the curator of the British Museum’s Modern Egypt Project and Egypt’s winning pavilion, Modernist Indignation, at the 2018 London Design Biennale. In 2019 Apollo Magazine named him among the 40 under 40 influential thinkers and artists in the Middle East. In 2011 he founded with six printed issues of the magazine by the same name, distributed for free in events in Cairo, Beirut and Dubai which aimed to stimulate public debates around issues of architecture, heritage and urbanism in the region.

This is the twentieth installment in a series of interviews with artists, academics, activists, and other migrants of Egypt around the world. Check out previous conversations in the series and stay tuned for our next installment.

Egypt Migrations is always looking for people to contribute to our digital initiatives. Please contact if you would like to join or support the organization.

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