Oriental Hall, etc.

Happenings, speakers, and events at the American University in Cairo.

Chinese investment in Egypt is rising steadily. Last year, the state-owned energy company Sinopec purchased a $3.1 billion stake in Egypt’s oil and gas sector. In March, AUC’s School of Global Affairs and Public Policy hosted a conference on the growing relations, “China and Egypt: Global Relations and Development Path.” According to Hoda Mitkees, professor of political science at Cairo University, the most important tie between the two countries is “collectivism”—a desire to prioritize development of society rather than individual rights. “Both countries put the state’s interest first, and contain individual interest within that,” she said. Magda Saleh, professor of political science at Cairo University, laid out areas in which Egypt would look toward China for cooperation, such as education and trade. Beyond the economy, Egypt wants to follow China’s model in fighting extreme poverty and developing media and research institutions. “China needs to declare its vision, and combine it with Egyptian dreams,” she said. Wu Bingbing, professor of Arabic at Peking University, suggested that if China wants to play a role in the Middle East, it will need to cooperate with the United States, which remains a dominant player in the region. But, he argued, China and Egypt share mutual interests that offer natural opportunities for collaboration, in particular development, security, and foreign policy. “We respect countries that show independent foreign policies, especially because the U.S. doesn’t like independent policies,” he said. “For China, [a relationship] isn’t about economic ties, but about Chinese principles.”