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Lazem Netkalem

The SpeakUp Dialog Series is putting the issue of sexual harassment at the forefront

By Ioanna Moriatis

Amidst the University’s recent push to advocate against sexual harassment and
reinforce its commitment to maintaining an equitable, inclusive and safe campus, AUC launched the SpeakUp Dialog Series, held on a monthly basis from November 2020 to June 2021. In collaboration with a host of partners and prominent speakers, the series has elevated University-based conversations around sexual harassment, moving the focus beyond the campus and toward the role that AUC as a leading institution can play in raising awareness of this critical issue at both the national and global levels.

In addition to exploring actions that can be taken to combat sexual harassment in both private and public spaces, the themes addressed throughout the series have also investigated the roots of the problem and exacerbating factors.

The series has prompted reflection on topics such as socialization of gender norms; portrayal of gender in media and film; safety in public spaces, cyberspace, work and university campuses; and the legal framework and policy to combat violence against women.

Since its launch, the Dialog Series has built a remarkable amount of momentum,
engaging attendees from across Egypt and attracting significant media attention.
The series has invited more than 20 renowned speakers, media personalities
and social media experts who have been leveraging their platforms to speak out
on the topic of sexual harassment and propel the country’s #MeToo movement.
In addition, AUC faculty members have joined the series, drawing on their various professional and research experiences to infuse unique academic perspectives into the dialogs.

Just as importantly, the series organizers have also made a deliberate effort to include both men and women, recognizing that sexual harassment is a shared responsibility and societal problem whose impact reaches across entire populations.

“There has to be a higher responsibility on men to talk about it,” said Omar Samra ’00, UN Goodwill Ambassador and adventurer. “I believe we’re at a point where if we’re saying we have the laws and penalties, we must all delve into a stage where the whole society becomes Assault Police.”

Part of the Dialog Series, MySafeUni Day focused on ensuring university campuses are safe spaces, free of sexual harassment. The all-day event featured a panel with experts from AUC and several universities as well as the student-led Debate Society, Alumni SpeakUp Talks, an interactive audience-led conversation, live performances by AUC’s arts department, and outdoor activities and booths.


Meet the Advisory Board


Dialog Series Highlights

How Can We Combat Harassment and Why Should We Care?

Maya Morsy ’95, president of Egypt’s National Council for Women, speaks at the launch event, along with Dialog Series Advisory Board members; Farah Shash ’09, ’12, co-founder of The Community Hub, with Omar Samra ’00 and AUC student Nadeen Ashraf, founder of @assaultpolice

From the Playground to the Living Room: How Are We Socialized Around Gender Norms?

Hania Sholkamy ’85, ’89, associate professor at AUC’s Social Research Center; Fatma Khafagy (MA ‘77), coordinator at the Arab Women Network for Parity and
Solidarity (Tha’era); and Sara Aziz, founder and president of Safe Kids

Do Portrayals of Gender in Media and Film Reflect Reality or Shape It?

Mourad Makram, TV presenter and actor; Ahmed Dash, AUC student and actor; Debate Society student participants Ahmed Yakoot, Abdelmoneim Hassabala,
Mohamed Fakhr El Din and Ameena El Agha; Mervat Abou Oaf ’88, ’02, professor of practice in journalism and mass communication at AUC; Tamer Habib, scriptwriter; Amel Fahmy (MA ‘10), managing director of Tadwein Gender Research Center; and Youssef Hashem, economics junior and president of AUC’s Debate Society

How Do We Make Public Spaces Safe for Women?

Reem El-Mograby ’09, director and Title IX coordinator at AUC’s Office of Institutional Equity; Sherif Amer, host of Yahdoth Fi Masr on MBC Masr;
Christine Arab, UN Women Egypt country representative; Hani Henry, associate dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and associate professor of psychology at AUC; Hala Shukrallah, development consultant and
researcher; and Engy Ghozlan, co-founder of HarassMap

How to Stay Safe in Cyberspace: Is “Private” Really “Private?”

Khaled Ezzelarab ’02, associate professor of practice in journalism and mass communication at AUC; Ahmed Khatter, computer engineering senior; Hani Mohamed Kamel, TikTok content operation director for North Africa; AUC President Francis Ricciardone; Sylvia Musalagani, Facebook safety policy manager for Africa; and Dina El Serafy, international cooperation specialist at Egypt’s National Council for Women

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