Gianluca Costantini
Political Comics

Free Ahmed Samir! Online conference on Academic Freedom in Egypt

Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 10:30 am – 4:00 pm

In February 2021, Ahmed Samir Santawy, Egyptian student and researcher at Central European University in Vienna, was arbitrarily detained and imprisoned by the Egyptian government. He is currently in ongoing solitary confinement. 

Ahmed is not an isolated case. Patrick Zaki, an Egyptian student at the University of Bologna was imprisoned in February 2020. Following a huge international campaign, Zaki was released in December 2021. The charges against him have not been dropped, and he is set to attend a hearing on 1 February 2022. Walid Salem, a doctoral researcher at the University of Washington, was arrested in March 2018. He was released later that year, but his passport seized, and he is unable to return to his studies. These are but a few of the many researchers targeted in Egypt’s campaign against academic freedom. 

Why are our peers being imprisoned? What can we do about it? 

Free Ahmed Samir! Conference on Academic Freedom in Egypt brings together for the first-time a combination of academic experts and insiders to shed light on the mechanisms of academic persecution in Egypt. Political scientists, anthropologists, and religious studies scholars will dissect El-Sisi’s regime, with representatives from Amnesty International, the Tahrir Institute and Scholars at Risk offering further insights. In a first, the conference will also offer a platform for Ahmed’s peers and colleagues who continue to feel the impact of his disappearance. The conference also includes a discussion around Ahmed and Patrick’s research.  

This year marks one year since Ahmed’s disappearance. 

Join us online on January 25 and learn how you can play a part in combatting the war against academic freedom. 

10:30 – 10:45  Welcome Remarks – Shalini Randeria, Rector and President, CEU

10:45 – 11:00  Introducing Ahmed, Introducing the Conference – Dorit Geva, Professor,  Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Ahmed’s MA Supervisor, CEU

11:00 – 11:50 Missing Ahmed: Personal Reflections on Ahmed and His Persecution in Egypt – Souheila Yildiz, Zsofi Bacsadi, Ariel Bineth, Rawda Elaskary, and CEU peers. Moderator: Dorit Geva, CEU.

12:00 – 12:50 Egypt’s Ever-Growing Human Rights Crisis & Amnesty’s Campaign to Free Ahmed – Hussein Baoumi and Denise Tan, Amnesty International. Moderator: Jean-Louis Fabiani, CEU.


13:30 – 13:55  Our Students Ahmed Samir and Patrick Zaki – Vlad Naumescu, CEU; Dorit Geva, CEU; and Rita Monticelli, University of Bologna (GEMMA consortium). Moderator: Claudio Sopranzetti, CEU.

14:00 – 14:25 Courts and Law in Today’s Egypt – Mai El-Sadany, The Tahrir Institute for  Middle East Policy. Moderator: Prem Kumar Rajaram, CEU.

14:30- 14:55 Threats to Academic Freedom and the Role of Higher Education Communities – Alex Bell, Scholars at Risk. Moderator: Ariel Bineth, CEU.

15:00 – 16:00 Researching Under the Gun: Conducting Safe and Ethical Research in West Asia and North Africa Today – Jannis Julien Grimm, Freie Universität Berlin. Moderator: Alexandra Kowalski, CEU.


Register and get the zoom link here

Members of the CEU community can follow the conference from the Auditorium in person.

For any inquiries please use this contact form

Egypt / Austria / Ahmed Samir

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