“I have always dreamt to see Egypt, my country, as a democratic one.”—5in10 with Nadine Abdalla

Nadine Abdalla is a Cairo-based political scientist and currently a Fellow of Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe (EUME) 2015/16. Her research focuses on social mobilizations in Egypt and the challenge they have presented to the political regime prior to the 25th of January 2011 uprising.

Nadine Abdalla. Photo: Forum Transregionale Studien

Nadine Abdalla. Photo: Forum Transregionale Studien

What was intriguing to you when you were a child? What is it that you always wanted to know about the world?

I always wanted to know how the other countries and people look like! I was fascinated by differences between people of different regions. Travelling was always my dream! Learning was indeed my ambition!

How would you explain your current research to a stranger in an elevator?

My research interests includes social movements with a special focus on the labor, trade union and youth movements in the Egyptian context, state-society relations, social and political transformation/transition in Egypt and Euro-Med relations with a focus on the EU‘s democracy assistance policies.

Which stations of your academic journey were extremely formative to you?

My Masters at Sciences-Po Paris in 2005 were formative for me. This was the first time I traveled abroad. Everything was new and learning there was very hard. I had to get used to a new form of learning that was extremely different from the way I was used to at Cairo University. Actually, that year was very tough but very useful for my academic career.  Another time that I cannot forget  was when I passed at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in Berlin in 2012-2013 in the context of my doctoral studies. Indeed, it was one of the most important experiences for me. At the SWP, I had the chance to go deeper into the policy-oriented world which I felt fond of. This year developed my analytical skills and my capacity to react to actual events.

How is it to do research in Germany?

I think it is an excellent opportunity to do research especially in Berlin where the academic and think tank or policy advising environment is so active! It is easy to get access to knowledge which is indeed a chance and an opportunity. The cosmopolitan atmosphere in Berlin favors also excellent exchanges with extremely interesting academics and activists, a chance that you can hardly find elsewhere.

If you had one wish, what would you wish for the further development of your subject?

I wish to have the time to go deeper and compare my research with the Latin American transformative experiences. I have read here and there about the transition to democracy in Brazil, Chile or Argentina. Those countries suffered military dictatorship and social grievances such as Egypt but succeeded to overcome those challenges and made their way toward a transition to democracy and economic prosperity. I have always dreamt to see Egypt, my country, as a democratic one. Hence, I would really love to read and learn more about the Latin American experience and draw some interesting insights for Egypt.

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Citation: Nadine Abdalla, “I have always dreamt to see Egypt, my country, as a democratic one.”—5in10 with Nadine Abdalla, in: TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research, 17 May 2016, https://trafo.hypotheses.org/4041.


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