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Rare Books and Special Collections Library


The story of Egypt and its people is a long one, written literally in stone at ancient monuments throughout the country. But perhaps the best way to tell the story of its contemporary period is through its inhabitants’ voices, by means of recorded oral history interviews. Oral history has become a major means of historical documentation for the Archives within the Rare Books and Special Collections Library of the American University in Cairo (AUC), one of the founding members of the AMICAL Consortium of American international liberal arts universities. A variety of collaborations and partnerships have enhanced the Archives’ efforts to document Egypt and AUC through oral history, thus producing rich primary resources for researchers, faculty, and students. This paper examines the progress of the Archives’ oral history program at AUC in its early stages, the experience of the University on the Square: Documenting Egypt’s 21st Century Revolution project after 2011, the effort to interview displaced locals of the Qurna village area in southern Egypt in 2016, and more recent initiatives. The focus will be on the collaborations fostered with faculty at AUC and especially with individuals outside AUC closely tied to and knowledgeable about local communities (most notably in the case of the Qurna Hillside Oral History Project), within an intercultural context. The chapter will include discussion of how these collaborations emerged, were mutually beneficial, and combined the oral history experience and resources of the Archives with the documentary passion, local contacts, and expertise of its partners. It concludes by suggesting paths other institutions can follow.

Publication Date


Document Type

Book Chapter

Book Title

Library Partnerships in International Liberal Arts Education: Building Relationships Across Cultural and Institutional Lines


Jeff Hiroshi Gima, Kara Malenfant


0838947808 9780838947807


Association of College and Research Libraries


Chicago, Illinois

First Page


Last Page



Oral History, Egypt, Partnerships


Library and Information Science

Partnering for Egyptian Heritage Oral History: Internal and External Collaborations Pursued by the Archives