Bringing Global Connections to Life in Egypt
The iEARN program in Egypt was launched as part of the CIVICS Program, the partnership introduced in the previous post between iEARN and US Department of State that began in 1999 and was consolidated into the Global Connections and Exchange Program in 2002. Managed at first from the US Embassy’s Regional English Language Office, in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Education, iEARN-Egypt grew quickly into the country’s leading online K-12 project-based learning programs. To ensure the program’s sustainability and development, iEARN-Egypt signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Egyptian Ministry of Education in 2004 to establish a non-governmental organization under the name of the Egyptian Association for Educational Resources (E-era) with the Ministry of Social Solidarity in 2005.
E-era focuses on the fundamentals of iEARN, which are online school linkage that enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world. It is an inclusive and culturally diverse community, a safe and structured environment in which young people can communicate, an opportunity to apply knowledge in service-learning project, and a community of educators and learners making a difference as part of the educational process. E-era works closely with the Egyptian Ministry of Education, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs US State Department (OES), Educational and Cultural Affairs-US department of State (ECA), US Embassy, Cairo, local NGOs, and many other partners.
E-era focuses on empowering youth in marginalized communities. From Model UN to The Big Read to Adobe Youth Voices (watch below)—the E-era team has successfully connected girls, youth with special needs, and classrooms with little or no technology to partners worldwide. A recent highlight was a community event on March 24, 2012 at Cairo University with The Open Hands Initiative to support a project to bring 10,000 copies of the Silver Scorpion comic book, which features the first ever cross-cultural, disabled superhero, to the youths of Egypt. The youth program, called Young Arab Voices, was facilitated by E-Era’s Director, Ms. Dalia Khalil, and prompted debate and dialogue about the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities in Egypt. It brought together teachers, students, NGO representatives, and Ministry officials in the area of special needs to debate about disability rights. The main topic of the debate was whether or not disability rights can contribute to development, and what the best ways are to spread awareness. The Silver Scorpion comic book and accompanying teacher’s guide helped guide the discussion on solutions to raising awareness and inclusion.
Asked about her iEARN experience over the past 13 years, Dalia writes:
iEARN is a life-long experience. It has transformed my life and the lives of teachers and students in our center. It was our window to the world, supported us with interactive tools for communication and learning, and offered a dynamic platform for cultural and educational learning.
iEARN-USA is proud to be continuing its Global Connections partnership with Dalia and her E-era team, and we’d love your help to increase the program’s impact by offering as many US and Egyptian teachers and students as possible a window to each other’s worlds at this critical time in U.S.-Egyptian relations.