Friday, December 19, 2008

What's so funny about peace, Egypt and education?

When Ray Hartmann owned the RFT and I wrote for them, I used to get my editor to let me do brainy community news items about stuff like this. Now I'm blogging the press releases - in this case, from UMSL.

A new book by Judith Cochran, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in Tutorial Education at UMSL, explores the origin of education in Egypt and how that has shaped the educational core of the entire Middle East. The book, Educational Roots of Political Crisis in Egypt, examines the country's educational influence in the Middle East.

"Egypt provides teachers at all levels of education in the Middle East," Cochran said. "Therefore education is transmitted throughout the area through the Egyptian teachers and their knowledge, professionalism and attitudes. Education shapes the future of the region through the instruction in beliefs and appropriate actions of all men and women."

Cochran traces the educational allocation of the $60 billion in U.S. foreign AID given to Egypt since the 1979 signing of the Camp David Accords. She profiles educational programs funded from 1979 to 2010 describing the purposes, development and results. Her original research is unique in a country lacking easy access to government, World Bank and Presidential documents.

Cochran earned a J. William Fulbright Scholar award in 1980 to study in Egypt. While there for three years, she served as the director of the English Language Department at the American University in Cairo. Cochran received her bachelor’s degree in English and speech from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She directs the E. Desmond Lee Regional Institute of Tutorial Education at UMSL, an educational collaborative of six universities and 10 of the largest youth-serving agencies and public school districts in the area.

The 227-page book was published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. and internationally redistributed by the American University in Cairo Press. "Educational Roots of Political Crisis in Egypt" was released last month and retails for $65.

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