Egyptian YES Alumni Unite for Civic Engagement Conference
On November 17-19th, Egyptian YES alumni held their first ever reunion and workshop. 110 alumni from all over Egypt converged on Cairo to reconnect with each other, rejoice in their successes, reflect on their challenges and attend workshops on the theme of "Civic Engagement: It's Your Society -- Get Involved!" Visiting Senior Advisor from the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Larry Schwartz and Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo Dr. Patricia Kabra both gave keynote remarks at the opening of the conference.
The conference was funded with the assistance of the US Embassy and YES and featured workshop sessions on various topics such as: social media for social good, project management tools and skills, the state of development in Egypt, intercultural communications and team-building. The Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer and Cultural Affairs Specialist for Exchanges at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo attended the workshop sessions
At the conclusion of the conference, U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson invited a group of alumni to her residence to hear about their experiences in the United States and their political activism in Egypt. During the event at the Ambassador's residence, demonstrations in Tahrir (located one block from the Embassy) escalated with tear gas enveloping the Embassy compound along with her residence. For about two hours, the YES alumni were trapped at her residence, but were able to eventually return home safely.
As Tahrir Square once again filled with people in the lead-up to Egypt's first elections, YES alumni were also there -- many volunteering for the hastily constructed ad hoc field hospitals, donating blood or helping to clean the square.
Photo: US Ambassador Patterson and YES alumni