On March 1, students of Dr. Agatha Ukata’s class had an online session with their counterparts from the American University in Cairo, Egypt, via a video conference set-up.
The AUC students are studying “South-South Dialogue: Perceptions and Reflections from the Global South,” a course taught by Dr. Mohamed Fahmy Menza.
The aim of the joint session is to offer comparative views of and fresh perspectives on the Global South concept as well as to encourage interaction between students from AU Cairo and other universities around the globe. The topics normally discussed range from current local/regional events to a wide variety of global socioeconomic, political, and cultural issues.
The AUN end is facilitated by Dr. Ukata, who said the platforms give students the opportunity to lend choices on contemporary multilateral issues. The conference is held twice every semester and themes are set for each session. There are pre-conference readings that stimulate students to read about the country in preparation for the joint session.
The theme for the March 1 session centered on Citizenship, Islam, Christianity and State-Society Relations in Nigeria and Egypt.
Besides sharpening the critical thinking ability of students, she said such dialogue also exposes them to trends in Nigeria and Egypt.
A first-year Law student, Clinton Oguejiofor, said the online session is helping him to know more about a predominantly Moslem country. “This helps me as a Christian.”
Another first-year Law student, Christopher Nwusulor, said he has been hoping to have more in-depth knowledge about Egypt, and the online session was a window of opportunity. “It is exposure, and in case I am going there in the future, I will know what to expect.”
AUN students asked whether conflicts exist in Egypt, the role Islam plays in national life, the relationship between the major religions, the role of women in society, and whether they have equal rights with men.
A question from the AUN students that borders on the perspective of Egyptian Christians on the Sharia law didn’t quite get the needed response from the AU Cairo team, leading their AUN counterparts to speculate that there were no Christians in the class at AUC.
A third-year International & Comparative Politics student, Suupusari Francis, was surprised that Egypt is Muslim-dominated despite its place in the Bible.
Students from both universities enjoyed the session. “It’s always a pleasure having to rub minds with students at AU Cairo through this platform,” said Dr. Ukata.
Dr. Menza said the Egyptian side as well enjoyed the session, adding that AUN has consistently participated in the past six years.
The theme for the next session will be on Gender Relations and Women’s Rights in Egypt and Nigeria.
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa