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Professor Tresilian, Cultural Program


Professor David Tresilian joined AUP’s Department of Comparative Literature and English in 2001. He has published widely on the topic of modern Arabic literature and teaches several courses in Middle East studies and Arabic literature at AUP. As well as passing on his expertise to students in the classroom, Tresilian leads a Cultural Program study trip to Cairo. The trip is open to all students taking courses in Middle East studies, including as part of AUP’s first-year FirstBridge program.

 “The academic value of the trip is that it suggests ways in which you can present material differently,” Tresilian explains. “You can help the students to see that education is not just about sitting in the classroom and reading books – though these things are necessary.” While staying in the heart of Cairo, students visit many of the locations referenced in their class readings, including the mosques and monuments of Islamic Cairo, the Pyramids at Giza and the Egyptian Museum – home to the world’s largest collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts, including the treasures of the boy-king Tutankhamun.

 “Education should be about seeing things and understanding things: the sounds, the smells, the look of the city,” continues Tresilian. “It should be about raising points of interest that perhaps can’t always be presented the best way through reading texts.” Students spend time at AUP’s sister institution, the American University in Cairo, where they attend classes and share experiences alongside their Egyptian peers. “People had very different expectations, they had very different backgrounds and very different knowledge of the Middle East.”

 Such interdisciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration provides a fantastic forum for intellectual debate, while opening students’ minds to new perspectives. AUP’s Cultural Program provides a unique and exciting way to contextualize academia in a manner that develops skills and knowledge that continue to be valuable to students long after graduation. “Education should be about experiences,” says Tresilian; the Cairo study trip is an educational experience that few will likely forget.

This Giving Tuesday, AUP is uniting its entire community in support of our Coup de Pouce travel grant. Please support our #OneMoreJourney campaign to help students benefit from the lasting experience of an international study trip. When it comes to Coup de Pouce, a little help really does go a long way.