Amer El-Ahraf: Emeritus Professor of Health Sciences Named President of Association of Egyptian American Scholars
Amer El-Ahraf, emeritus professor of health sciences at California State University, Dominguez Hills, was elected president of the Association of Egyptian American Scholars (AEAS). AEAS is an international and interdisciplinary organization whose members include such notable scholars as Nobel Prize winner Ahmad Zewiel and noted NASA scientist Farouk El-Baz.
Among his many roles as AEAS president, El-Ahraf is charged with organizing the 35th International Interdisciplinary AEAS conference, which will take place December 27-29 at Cairo University. The conference, which is co-sponsored by the Supreme Council of Egyptian Universities, carries the theme, “Cooperation Among Scholars in Pursuit of Excellence in Higher Education.”
According to El-Ahraf, the AEAS facilitates collaboration among scholars across international borders. The organization made possible his honorary appointment as an adjunct professor at Zagazig University in Egypt, where he helped develop the first Egyptian university-level program in environmental sciences with unique features yet to be implemented in the United States, and supervised the first two doctoral degree candidates in environmental engineering at the university. One of his graduate student from Zagazig traveled to California to study environmental health and laboratory procedures under El-Ahraf at CSUDH as part of his research and degree from the Egyptian institution.
In addition to chairing the organization’s 34th International Conference held last December at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach, El-Ahraf presented two papers at the conference in his academic fields of public health and language. One of the papers, “Environmental and Public Health in Ancient Egypt” was co-authored with Shoukry Kantery, a professor of ancient Egyptian history at South Valley University in Egypt, who spent six months at Dominguez Hills as a visiting professor conducting research under El-Ahraf’s direction.
El-Ahraf underscores the benefits of hosting international scholars at Dominguez Hills as bringing “a glimpse of their culture and international academic experience to Dominguez Hills students and faculty.”
“Few of our faculty and students experience large scale international travel, particularly one that includes foreign university settings,” says El-Ahraf, who is a native of Biela, Egypt. “In essence, the international academic world is brought to us if we are not able on a large scale to go to it. Conversely, Egyptian junior faculty members who obtain their [doctorate] in Egypt are eligible to spend six months in a foreign university to experience the other point of view on their academic subject and become familiar with another culture.”
In March, El-Ahraf presented a paper titled “Global Climate Change's Effect on the Environmental Health Profession” at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the National Environmental Health Association held in San Diego. El-Ahraf is a past president of that association. Its scientific publication, the Journal of Environmental Health, named him as one of the “15 Leaders of Environmental Health” in its 2007 January/February issue.
El-Ahraf is co-founder of and director emeritus of the CSUDH Institute for the Study of Cultural Diversity and Internationalization. With his colleague and co-founder of the Institute, John Le Corte, El-Ahraf presented a number of conferences at CSU Dominguez Hills for teachers dealing with cultural diversity in the classroom. In the area of international education, he played a major role in securing university-to-university agreements that Dominguez Hills now has with Egyptian, Chinese, and Korean universities, such as Suez Canal University in Egypt and Don Bosco College of Arts in Korea.
His interest in internationalization of the university brought external funding in support of international work and research by CSUDH faculty, including the participation of physics professor Kenneth Ganezer in the Super-Kamiokande project that originated in Japan.
- Joanie Harmon