CAIRO: A student-organized event at the American University in Cairo (AUC) that originally featured former Ghad party leader Ayman Nour as the keynote speaker, was held Saturday with prominent journalist Amr Al-Laithy speaking instead.
Al-Laithy addressed students on Saturday at the opening ceremony of the Cairo International Model Arab League’s (CIMAL) conference.
On May 16, AUC said it postponed CIMAL’s opening ceremony because the event organizers violated university protocol by issuing invitations for a public event without following specified regulations.
The administration asked that the event be postponed so organizers can submit the appropriate documentation to the Office of Student Development.
At the time, however, students and CIMAL members alleged that AUC was opposed to Nour being the keynote speaker and, in turn, canceled the ceremony.
Mayada Serag Al-Din, AUC student and this year’s conference head, told Daily News Egypt that CIMAL chose Al-Laithy on its own will and was not forced by administration to replace Nour.
“AUC told us that they refused Nour because of security reasons and because we had booked a small hall for the event, Serag Al-Din said.
“They [AUC administration] later told us that we can get him [Nour] if we want but we have to inform AUC to prepare a larger hall and tighten security measures, Serag Al-Din added.
According to Serag Al-Din, AUC was concerned about students’ safety.
Mohamed Al-Deeb, AUC student and a former member of the CIMAL, claims that AUC canceled the original opening ceremony because Nour was set to be the keynote speaker, adding that it is a “restriction of freedom.
Still, Al-Deeb described Saturday’s opening ceremony as a success because of the large turnout.