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Dramatis Personae

Many, many people helped me understand Cairo’s cosmopolitan class and modern Egypt in general. This is a list of those mentioned in the book or on this blog. All names are pseudonyms unless otherwise stated.

Mrs. Abdel Rahman. Forty-five-year-old translator and interpreter for a multinational corporation; divorced. Son attends ASC; daughter attends AUC. Th e children live with her, but their father pays their fees.

Ahmed. Male engineering major at AUC; attended the French-language Choueifat International School and spent two years at Cairo University’s School of Medicine before switching to AUC. Hopes to fi nd work in the United States or Canada or, barring that, with a multinational in Egypt. Fond of shisha.

Aida. Female AUC junior majoring in anthropology. Grew up in California until she was twelve and wished to study sports medicine at UCLA.

Aline. Ten-year-old female student at ASC. Egyptian father and French mother are co-owners of a successful international development company. Has an ample trust fund; plans to pursue education in Europe.

Amin. General manager of a large pharmaceutical firm. Married with four children, including Ismail.

Amira. Female sophomore at AUC, majoring in modern history. Took the veil after listening to Amr Khaled tapes with a friend.

Arvind. Director of marketing research for the Egyptian branch of a major European household goods and processed foods manufacturer. Born and educated in Mumbai, India.

Ashraf. Male tenth-grade student at ASC. Huge fan of Arabic, European, and North American pop music. Hopes to form a band while in high school but says his parents will make him major in engineering or medicine when he goes to college.

Bilqis. Female tenth-grade student at ASC. Has attended ASC since first grade; spends summers with cousins in Riyadh and New York.

Butros. Computer programming and software solutions manager with a European-based international corporation. In his early thirties, educated at a Canadian university, worked in Canada for several years, returned to Egypt for family reasons and stayed.

Carlos. Peruvian-born director of the Middle East office of a major oil company subsidiary. Married to an American woman; four children.

Dalia. AUC undergraduate student in communications, graduate student in sociology/anthropology. Mother of two.

Dina. Teacher at ASC with B.A. and M.A. from AUC. Married with two children, both of whom attend ASC.

Donald. Vice president of marketing for Egyptian branch of a major U.S. household goods manufacturer.

Eiman. Female tenth-grader at ASC. Attended a less expensive, private, English-language school until her freshman year, then switched to ASC to prepare for college at AUC or abroad. Her younger brother (by five years) attended ASC since first grade.

Farid. Waiter at an ’ahwa in Tahrir Square near AUC; lives in the sha‘abi neighborhood of Abu Khalifa in Ghamra. Nicknamed Maru’a (Gen-
erous).

Gazbeya. Female student at AUC, majoring in political science. Father is in the diplomatic service, and she would like to follow in his footsteps, as part of the growing number of women in the diplomatic corps.

Girgis. Egyptian-born, American-educated director of the Cairo office of a major multinational manufacturer.

Hassan. Fifteen-year-old student at ASC. Hopes to attend Boston University and pursue a business career abroad.

Hawass. AUC computer science graduate who obtained a job with a German firm and was preparing to relocate to Bonn.

Heba. Account executive for advertising agency that handled McDonald’s Egyptian marketing. AUC graduate with a double major in business and psychology.

Hedayat. Female graduate student in sociology/anthropology at AUC. Attended Choueifat International School, then took her undergraduate degree at Alexandria University. Accepted to a U.S. graduate program, she switched to AUC when she got engaged to a local doctor.

Hosni. In his late thirties, degree from the School of Law, Cairo University. He has a minor position in the post office, runs the cash register and handles the books at a store owned by a family connection, and drives a friend’s taxi. Most of his income pays school fees for his children, an investment he felt was gloriously repaid when his son received the highest score in the nation on the i‘dadiyya ‘amma.

Ingy. Daughter of a New York businessman of Egyptian origin. She and her mother lived in Cairo during her education at AUC. After her father was injured, she moved to New York, changed her name to Angie, and finished college in the United States.

Ismail. Ten-year-old student at MLS in Ma‘adi Gadida.

Issander. Tour guide in Luxur. Coptic Christian educated at El-Mina University. Fluent in multiple languages, would like to travel abroad for education but can’t accumulate the savings needed.

Jim. Oil executive living in Ma‘adi. One eight-year-old son, one ten-year-old daughter.

Karim. Male student at AUC, majoring in engineering. Major shisha fan; has a bumper sticker on his car that reads, “I Only Smoke Shisha on Days Ending in Y.”

Khaled. Male student at AUC, majoring in mechanical engineering. Took his international baccalaureate at the German school in Cairo. Son of Osman.

Maged. Taxi driver who took me to Giza to see the First Mall. In his early fifties, Maged argues that it is the corrupt practices of the rich that are destroying the country.

Maggie. Anglo-American consultant supervising a feasibility study for a British investor interested in coming into the region. Born and educated in Britain, she took her M.B.A. at a U.S. university.

Marwa. Twenty-five-year-old journalist; born to Egyptian parents, raised in Kuwait. Educated at Ain Shams University in Egypt, she has worked as a journalist in Cyprus, Jordan, and Egypt.

Maryam. Principal of MLS. Daughter of a military officer, she studied English at Cairo University. Married a doctor, who encouraged her to continue her education. Received an M.A. in child psychology from Cairo University and a Ph.D. in comparative education from the School of Education, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.

Mina. Female undergraduate at AUC, majoring in mass communications. Raised in Egypt until her early teens, her mother sent her to boarding school in England after her father died. After six years, she returned to Egypt, very much against her will, to study at AUC and, her family hoped, find a husband. Her mother’s death in her second year of college left her in the custody of her paternal uncles, but she intended to head for the United States at the earliest opportunity.

Mona. Tenth-grade student at ASC. Mona’s father and uncles own a business facilitating Egyptian exports and locating new markets. She lived three years in the United States and four in Canada before returning to Egypt for high school and college.

Mustafa. Teacher at a private school. Married, in his early thirties. Received his undergraduate degree at Delhi University and an M.A. in sociology from AUC.

Nadia. Director of a human resources consulting firm that serves mostly foreign clients doing business in Egypt. Graduated from AUC, then took a degree in human resources management at a U.S. university.

Nireen. Female AUC undergraduate, majoring in psychology. Adopted a more pious lifestyle after a series of accidents; began to consider veiling after listening to Amr Khaled but worried about whether it would affect her graduate studies in the United States.

Noha. Attended ASC and AUC (degree in communications). Journalist for English-language lifestyle and business magazines.

Nora. AUC mass communications undergraduate, she returned to AUC for graduate school after the birth of her first child.

Omneya. Female political science major at AUC. Active in pro-Palestinian causes on campus.

Osman. Businessman in his late forties. He and his brother own a successful German-Egyptian import business. With another partner, he is engaged in real estate and development, including majority ownership of two Red Sea resorts.

Phil. American consultant involved in the start-up of a major agribusiness intended to produce fruit for the export market.

Raghda. Female sociology student at AUC. Born to Egyptian parents in Morocco, studied in a French school, received a French baccalaureate. Attended a French university but the financial and emotional cost of living abroad proved to be too much for her and her family, and she completed her education at AUC. While proud that she is fluent in English and French, she is sometimes teased by her friends for the “French” accent that creeps into her Arabic and English.

Rami. Co-owner of a Cairo health club. Graduated from AUC with a degree in engineering.

Rebab. A professor of English at one of the national universities, Rebab also teaches English to many foreigners (including Christian missionaries). Her father is an army officer, and her uncle a judge. She lives in Heliopolis.

Dr. Reem. In her late thirties, a graduate of Cairo University School of Medicine. Married to another doctor whose practice supports the family, she founded and operates the free women’s clinic at a large downtown mosque. Mother of Yussuf; led an anti-Pokémon campaign at MLS.

Saad. Thirty-four-year-old project manager for an international development agency. Father of two children at MLS.

Sabry. Male business student at AUC, twenty-two years old. Educated in English-language “American” schools in Egypt except for two years of high school in an affluent Los Angeles suburb.

Salma. Female computer science major at AUC. Engaged to another AUC student, hopes they can both find work abroad.

Samir. Male student at AUC, majoring in engineering. Runs a nightclub with his brother.

Sherif. Son of an Egyptian politician, graduated from Cairo University School of Medicine, but then went to AUC for a graduate degree in sociology while he considered what to do with his life. A nonpracticing Muslim for most of his undergraduate life, he underwent a religious reconversion, which led him to begin attending Amr Khaled lectures.

Sherine. Received B.A. in psychology from AUC and joined an advertising agency several months after graduating.

Soraya. Public relations officer for a multinational corporation. Mother of Yasseen.

Stephen. Twelve-year-old American student at ASC, originally from Oklahoma. Father is a former petroleum engineer now working in middle management for an oil company; mother does not work outside the home.

Yasmin. Undergraduate at AUC, majoring in psychology. Father is one of the investors in the First Mall in Giza.

Yasseen. Ten-year-old son of Soraya and her husband, who owns a small electronics business. Pokémon fan and computer/internet buff.

Yussuf. Eleven-year-old student at MLS. Son of Dr. Reem.

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