Egypt’s Lost Academic Freedom

Source: Carnegie

Author(s): Amy Austin Holmes and Sahar Aziz

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In his speech at the American University in Cairo (AUC) on January 10, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo highlighted the inherent connection between academic freedom and economic development. He called on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to “unleash the creative energy of Egypt’s people, unfetter the economy, and promote a free and open exchange of ideas.” Yet even as he spoke, the government of Egypt was curtailing the free exchange of ideas through unprecedented levels of censorship, surveillance, and repression of academic freedom.

The Sisi regime’s crackdown on academic research adds to the practical challenges of building a strong education sector. Even as the government seeks to revive the nation’s historic role as a regional leader in innovation and research production, without academic freedom this goal is doomed to fail.

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