Studying and doing research in Egypt
Dear students and researchers at our institute,
With recent developments in Egypt in mind, I feel a word of advice is in order. Over the past months, doing research in Egypt has become under tighter pressure than before, especially where more sensitive topics, which are perceived to be touching upon national security, are involved.
First of all, it is useful to distinguish between students who come to our institute to study in Cairo/Egypt as part of the curriculum of the universities which are being served by the NVIC. These students of Arabic and Islam take part in our BA-programme, which is organised in spring. MA-students of Arabic and Islam follow their semester at our institute in autumn. Students of Egyptology and Archaeology follow a half semester in the beginning of the calender year. Other students come to Cairo to do PhD- or post-doc research and they usually act more independently than students in our semesters.
In all cases and for all students and researchers we do our utmost to make sure we advise on how to ‘behave’ and to make sure they do not get into trouble. Our advice does not limit itself to areas which are safe enough to live in or travel to, but also on the particular type of research.
We urge all to consult the following web page, where you find valuable advice on travel to high risk areas.
Although these web pages are directed at employees of Leiden University, these also in principle hold for travelling students and academic staff, not only of Leiden University, but more generally can be taken as good advice for our other universities as well.
As a starting point, we at NVIC always take to travel advisories of our own (Dutch and Belgian) governments, please consult these two websites: travel advice The Netherlands and travel advice Belgium. In addition, we consult with the department at Leiden University responsible for security issues to decide whether organising a semester or course, or executing a particular type of research is advisable.
For more information on travel abroad and having ECTs recognised at Leiden University, please consult this website. For regulations pertaining to such matters followed by our other partner universities, please consult the web pages of these institutions.
A warning issued recently by MESA (Middle East Studies Association) can be found on their website. Another letter triggered by the same tragedy of the disappearance and murder of the Italian PhD student (of Cambridge University) was published by BRISMES (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies).
As a last remark, let me add that the island of Zamalek, on which our institute is located, has been virtually free from violent incidents for the past five years. We all hope it stays this way.
Dr Rudolf de Jong
Director of the NVIC