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Addressing Samuel Huntington, is it really a clash of civilizations?

digitally edited from a photo I took of Huntington in 2002

In 2002 I attended a discussion session with Huntington in NYC during the WEF meeting about bridging civilizations. On a distinct note, Samuel Huntington, said that there are indeed real differences in values and cultures among civilizations. The idea of a bridge, as suggested in the title of the session, implies there is something separating them. The issue is whether this is a “bridge over a chasm, a wide ocean, a changing stream or what?” He is not sure of the answer, but he is certain that differences exist, although they need not lead to clashes among civilizations. Another interesting issue, he noted, is the role of modernization in cultural exchange. In response to criticisms that his book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Reality of World Order, dwelled on the clashes between Islamic and Western values and ignored the conflicts between Christian groups such as those in Northern Ireland, Huntington claimed that the clashes between Protestants and Catholics do not carry the same potential threat to world peace.

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Meeting with the father of Internet, Vinton Cerf

Vinton Cerf one of Internet founders titled Father of Internet. Digitally edited from a GPL Wikimedia photo.

It was a great pleasure for me to meet with one of Internet founders during ICAAN board meeting held in Cairo, March 2000. As an Internet professional and a technology fan, talking with Vinton Cerf gave me the feeling of talking to someone holy! Of course, if technology is a new religion Cerf would be one of its holy saints.

Cerf listened to a questioned – or rather complaint – I directed to Dr. Nazif (current prime minister of Egypt and the minister of Telecommunications then) about making VOIP illegal in Egypt. Later in a side talk Cerf told me “Don’t worry they can not stand against the revolution of Internet and it is just a matter of short time then they must give up” Now after more than ten years, did they really give up? In fact the political aspects of using Internet for communication is one of the big worries of authoritarian governments. They want to control and keep a big eye on all communications especially the international ones that Internet can freely offer.

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Interview with Mustafa Mahmoud

I conducted this interview in 1998 as a research associate in a 4 years research project titled “Islamic Public Sphere” in Egypt that was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and supervised by Prof. Dr. Armando Salvatore. A part from the valuable inputs of the interview to our research project, the interview marked a … Read more

Interview with Dr. Hossam Badrawy for DW-TV

In this assignment from DW-TV I assisted in the planning, selection of featured guests and organizing interviews for a TV report about foreign education in Egypt. The project was headed by Jens-Uwe Rahe, project manager of Middle East and North Africa in DW. For this report I organized interviews with Dr. Hossam Badrawy head of … Read more

Interview with ambassador Edward Walker

“Our country has been struggling with the definition of terrorism for long time and has not worked out a unified definition. But in general I can say that terrorism is the illegitimate act of killing innocent people for a political cause. If one goes to a restaurant and blows up a bunch of innocent women and children for any political cause, that is terrorism.” Edward Walker

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