Presenting Egypt at Georgetown University, USA

Sent On: 
Sun, 2018-05-13
Newsletter Number: 


The USA is an enormous country of great political contrasts. One such contrast involves the way the Middle East is viewed, including Egypt. Some offer a superficially positive view of the country, while others promote very negative assessments of the Egyptian society. Through my work, I attempt to promote greater understanding about Egypt, by revealing the complexities and nuances of the country. My May 1st lecture at the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) at Georgetown University, explored case studies in Muslim-Christian relations from our work in Egypt over the past 20+ years. By pushing beyond the paralyzing stereotypes often believed about Egypt and the Middle East more generally, the presentation discussed both the challenges and opportunities for improved interreligious relations in the Arab world's most populous country. Among other points, I emphasized that if we want to understand how Egypt functions, we need to be on the ground in Egypt. I explained our research method which is strictly non-partisan and descriptive. I am grateful to ACMCU for hosting me, and also for recording the lecture and the question and answer session that followed. You can find the links here:


Video of the lecture

Q&A: YafWwMFstZI

Text of the lecture:


While in Washington, I also gave a presentation to a Christian group, many of whom are involved in promoting international religious freedom. Both groups welcomed my presentations.


Ken Danty, who has worked in counseling and interfaith work in Washington, DC and attended the ACMCU lecture, recognized the distinctive nature of our approach:


“I very much appreciated & enjoyed your lecture at ACMCU yesterday. So much nuance in your descriptions of the dynamics in Egypt, small towns and the like. I value the hard work you've done. It's so easy to reduce things to soundbites!” 


Romany Shaker, an Egyptian analyst with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, hosted my talk with the Christian group. He was also complimentary:


“Dr. Kees, thank you for taking the time to share with us your experience on Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt and the challenges facing the people there as they try to coexist and work together. I felt that your remarks on role of the church role was especially timely and helpful in understanding that we need to reach out with love to those who are in need.” 


In an age of intense and often bitter partisanship, our work for promoting intercultural understanding remains unique and vitally important.


Cornelis Hulsman

May 13, 2018

Washington DC