A Historic Agreement in the Name of Education

One of the warmer days we’ve had in Boston lately provided a fitting backdrop for another hopeful development – the formation of a historic partnership to introduce the concept of online education to a whole new world. The Library of Alexandria, one of the world’s most storied institutions, signed a deal to work together with edX, an online platform for learning.

According to Wendy Cebula, President and COO of edX, “The goal of the Library of Alexandria is to be a center of excellence in the production and dissemination of knowledge, and a place of dialogue, learning and understanding between cultures and peoples. Through this partnership with edX, the Library of Alexandria will continue to fulfill its mission to be the world’s window into Egypt, a leading institution of the digital age, and a center for learning, tolerance, dialogue and understanding.”

I was lucky enough to be present to this partnership signing. Meeting Dr. Ismail Serageldin, the Director of the Library of Alexandria, was an honor. The intriguing thoughts, opinions and values he has and shared are impeccable and inspiring. Dr. Azza El Kholy, Head of the Academic Research Sector for the Library of Alexandria, spoke very eloquently about Egyptian women and their role in the society, and how education is not about availability anymore but about the lack of quality. It was invigorating to question both Dr. Ismail and Dr. Azza about broadening educational horizons for the Middle East and empowering women through quality education, and I left there feeling hopeful about the educational future.

The library plans to develop courses that will expose learners worldwide to Egypt and its contributions from ancient times to the present.

Exciting news, to be sure. And it all came to pass because of ACMi’s commitment to building and nurturing connections between and among the many members of the Arlington community. Several years ago, Studio Manager Jeff Munro, hearing of a conference focused on educational innovation that he himself could not attend, passed the invitation on to ACMi member Michael Armanious, whom Jeff knew to be interested in the subject. That began a determined odyssey for Michael which led in a serendipitous way to the forging of this partnership today. As Jeff says, “All I did was care – care about what our members are interested in, and care enough to reach out and help make that connection possible.” Obviously, a little caring can go a long, long way…

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March 24, 2015