Updated: 07 Aug 2021
CAIRO—Many people interested in cultural affairs in Egypt were disheartened recently as reports circulated that the Center for Translation Studies at the American University in Cairo was being shut down. These reports, which the university has explained, angered many due to the center’s role in enriching the academic translation movement and the role it has played in revitalizing cultural life through many activities for more than ten years.
Samia Mehrez, the director of the center, had informed the center’s followers of the news of its shutdown in an e-mail on July 26. However, the university administration explained later in an interview with Al-Fanar Media that the support of the activities of the center will continue under the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilization for its academic needs, but without the administrative structure.
Alaa Adris, the associate provost for research, innovation, and creativity at the university, stated, “We are working on a kind of restructuring, as we found that its activities do not require the presence of an independent administrative entity.”
The center’s allocations can be directed to other initiatives in the school of Humanities and Social Sciences, he said, “such as supporting two important publications, as well as expanding intellectual production without the presence of an independent administrative entity.”
He stressed that the center’s usual activities, including lectures, publications and conferences, will continue.
The center was launched in 2009 with the aim of promoting cooperation between the university and the Egyptian, regional and international institutions and organizations operating in the field of translation and interpretation studies. It has hosted dozens of cultural events and discussion panels, and published several important publications and translations, including “In the Shoes of the Other: Interdisciplinary Essays in Translation Studies from Cairo” (2019) and “Translating Egypt’s Revolution: The Language of Tahrir” (2012). (See a related article, “A Potential Renaissance for Arabic Translation.”)