GenX women in higher ed from around the globe

Introducing El Ustaza (the Lady Professor)

In El Ustaza (the Lady Professor) on 2010/02/23 at 09:00

I have thought a lot about what my first blog contribution should be about.  First and foremost, I want to thank Mary Churchill for this great idea and for inviting me to participate in this blog adventure with a group of talented women from around the world. I owe a lot to Mary’s continuous support and guidance. Therefore, my first blog contribution will be about the need for a community of women scholars.

I traveled to the USA in 2001 to pursue higher education, a PhD in Public and International Affairs from Northeastern University. In the summer of 2001, I had eagerly anticipated my move to Boston and my future studies at the university.  I was supposed to fly from Cairo to Boston on September 11, 2001 and I ended up flying a week later, in a world that had been forever changed.  I was determined to fly. I would not let my right to pursue higher education suffer as a “collateral damage”  in the political and ideological battleground between fundamentalism and imperialism

As a Muslim woman student in the USA after 9/11, I felt very lonely. Mary was there at the airport to greet me and it was Mary’s support from day one that helped me survive this experience. Throughout my experience in the USA, I had the pleasure of working with a group of great women scholars my age from around the world.

Now being back to Egypt, I miss my global community of women scholars that provided me with social and academic nourishment. The University of Venus is providing me with the opportunity to stay connected with that community and to share my stories. I will be writing a monthly column on research and teaching in Egypt, from my personal experiences as a Muslim woman.

My experience in the USA taught me a lot and gave me a lot of strength to face any situation. I am, myself, surprised that I have such strength in me. I sometimes wonder how I got so strong. I want to take this opportunity to give tribute to the man, who encouraged me to travel alone to USA for higher education. My Dad, who I miss so much and I still cannot believe that I lost.  I miss sharing my successes with him. I hope I can continue making him proud!

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  1. Riham – Thank you so much! You are too kind and this American is not used to so much attention. I look forward to reading your monthly posts and I am so happy that you are part of our fantastic group of women.

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