I joined the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo in October of 2016 as assistant-director Arabic and Islamic Studies. Established in 1971, the institute is a central place for research on Egypt and the Middle East, supporting scholars from Flemish and Dutch universities to conduct their field work. It offers a space for research and writing, logistical support, and acts as a bridge between Dutch and Flemish scholars and their Egyptian counterparts. One of the best things about the NVIC is the number of scholars that pass through its doors to work on their research, give talks to the public, and meet others in their field. It makes for a lively intellectual environment.
Not only does NVIC offer specialization in archaeology, but has one of the region’s best Arabic and study abroad Middle East programmes. Last semester, I had the opportunity to meet our MA students from Flemish universities – Gent and Leuven send the largest cohort of students. The students take an intensive Arabic programme, and use the opportunity in Cairo to develop ideas for their MA thesis. Aside intense language training, students go on excursions and even get Egyptian cooking lessons! Feedback gathered from the students indicate high levels of satisfaction. One student commented: “Very great programme. Good content. Helpful teachers. And it’s very helpful to live in an Arabic-speaking environment. Keep encouraging the students to speak with people on the street and in other places.” This semester, we have students from Leuven and Gent following our newly launched Middle East track. The new programme attracts students from across multiple disciplines.
This year we hope to expand our research profile and are very much interested to speak to academics and students interested in Egypt or Arabic related topics from any discipline. If you need assistance, would like to take our courses, or explore the possibilities of researching in Egypt, we’d love to hear from you. You can send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website: http://www.institutes.leiden.edu/nvic/