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Washington Institute for Public Affairs Research


Public Affairs, School of
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Phone: (202) 885-2940 Graduate programs: Undergraduate programs:

Public Affairs, School of
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Washington, DC 20016

Grounding Political Change in Egypt: The Public Interest, Local Roots of Democracy, and the Right to the City

While national electoral politics and the struggles between state institutions and protesters have been dominating headlines from Egypt, Egyptian citizens have been organizing to address chronic problems in their communities. Despite overwhelming obstacles, these local initiatives are challenging longstanding urban governance and planning norms in Egypt and are attempting to claim their right to enjoy liveable cities and communities.

Cairo covered in smog

Project Leaders:

Diane Singerman is Associate Professor in the Department of Government, School of Public Affairs at American University. Among her publications are Cairo Contested: Governance, Urban Space, and Global Modernity, (ed., 2009), Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East (co-edited with Paul Amar 2006), and Avenues of Participation: Family, Politics, and Networks in Urban Quarters of Cairo (1995).

Kareem Ibrahim is the Director of Takween Integrated Community Development based in Cairo, Egypt. Mr. Ibrahim is an architect and urban planner who worked on the UNDP's Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project. He has also worked for Aga Khan Trust for Culture - Egypt between 1997 and 2010 as the Built Environment Coordinator of the Darb al-Ahmar Revitalization Project, one of Cairo's most ambitious urban revitalization programs.


Adel Iskandar is a scholar of Arab studies whose research focuses on media and communication. He is the author, coauthor, and editor of several works including Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network that is Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism, Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation (University of California Press), and Mediating the Arab Uprisings (Tadween Publishing). His most recent publication is the authored anthology Egypt In Flux: Essays on an Unfinished Revolution (AUC Press). Iskandar teaches at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and the Communication, Culture, and Technology program at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

TADAMUN: The Cairo Urban Solidarity Initiative is a project of the School of Public Affairs at American University, supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation and implemented by American University and Takween Integrated Community Development (Cairo). The project is also supported by NOREF, the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre.