Announcing Act II Speaker Series in Conjunction with World Premiere Musical We Live in Cairo

May 2, 2019
We Live in Cairo Poster

Cambridge, MA—American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, in collaboration with the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and the Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, announces they will co-present a series of post-show discussions with leading artists, journalists, and scholars in conjunction with A.R.T.’s production of We Live in Cairo on topics inspired by the show. Written by brothers Daniel Lazour and Patrick Lazour, We Live in Cairo is inspired by the young Egyptians who took to the streets in 2011 to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak.

 The We Live in Cairo Act II Series invites audience members to remain at the theater following select performances for a moderated discussion. The following events are free and open to ticket-holders of any performance, subject to availability. For tickets and more information, please contact Ticket Services at 617.547.8300. Please note: schedule subject to change. Additional associated programming will be announced at a later date.


Thursday, May 16 following the 7:30PM performance

Described as a “chameleon” by Carlo McCormick in the New York TimesGanzeer is considered one of the most enigmatic artists of his generation, having been compared to everyone from Ai Weiwei to Banksy to Alan Moore to Jaime Hayon. Ganzeer operates seamlessly between art, design, and storytelling, creating what he has coined Concept Pop, a brand of cultural insurgency that utilizes the aesthetics birthed by Pop Art in tackling the subject matter typically ascribed to Conceptual Art. His medium of choice as described by Kaelen Wilson-Goldie in Artforum is “a little bit of everything: stencils, murals, paintings, pamphlets, comics, installations, graphic design,” and more. With over 40 exhibitions to his name, Ganzeer’s work has been seen in a wide variety of art galleries, impromptu spaces, alleyways, and major museums around the world, such as the Brooklyn Museum (New York), The Palace of the Arts (Cairo, Egypt), Greek State Museum (Thessaloniki, Greece), the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, England), and the Edith Russ Haus (Oldenburg, Germany). His current projects include the short story collection Times New Human and the graphic novel The Solar Grid (2016 Global Thinker Award from Foreign Policy). He has been an artist-in-residence in Germany, Poland, Jordan, Holland, and Finland, and has lived extensively in Cairo, New York, Los Angeles, and now Denver.

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi

Saturday, May 18, following the 2PM performance 

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is a United Arab Emirates-based columnist and researcher on social, political, and cultural affairs in the Arab Gulf States. Al Qassemi’s tweets became a major news source during the Arab Spring, rivaling the major news networks at the time, until TIME magazine listed him in the “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011.” In 2018 he ranked 19th on the “Arabic Thought Leader Index” by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute. Al Qassemi was an MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow from 2014 through 2016, a practitioner in residence at the Hagop Kevorkian Center of Near East Studies at New York University in the Spring of 2017, and a Yale Greenberg World Fellow in 2018. Al Qassemi is also the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent initiative established in 2010 to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building a prominent and publicly accessible art collection in the United Arab Emirates. In 2018, 100 works from the collection were hosted on a long-term basis at the Sharjah Art Museum. He is currently conducting research for a book that documents the modern architecture of the city of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates and serves as a lecturer at the Council of Middle East Studies in Yale University, teaching a course on the politics of modern Middle Eastern art.

Ezzedine C. Fishere

Saturday, May 25, following the 2PM performance

Ezzedine C. Fishere has been a visiting professor at Dartmouth College since September 2016, where he teaches courses on Middle East politics and cultures. Prior, he taught in the Political Science department of the American University in Cairo, worked as a diplomat, wrote novels, and, since the Tahrir Uprising, has been engaged in Egyptian politics by working with political groups advocating for democracy, writing extensively for Arabic and international media outlets, and speaking about Middle East political realities to the media and at conferences. 

Tarek Masoud

Saturday June 1, following the 2PM performance

Tarek Masoud is a Professor of Public Policy and the Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he is also Faculty Director of the Middle East Initiative. His research focuses on political development in Arabic-speaking and Muslim-majority countries. He is the author of Counting Islam: Religion, Class, and Elections in Egypt (Cambridge University Press, 2014), of The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform with Jason Brownlee and Andrew Reynolds (Oxford University Press, 2015), as well as of several articles and book chapters.

Soha Bayoumi and Ahmed Ragab

Saturday June 1, following the 7:30PM performance 

Soha Bayoumi is the Allston Burr Resident Dean of Kirkland House and Assistant Dean of Harvard College, and a lecturer in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. Trained in political theory, political philosophy, and intellectual history, she works on the question of justice at the intersection of political theory, intellectual history, and science, medicine, and technology studies. With a focus on medicine and public health, her research addresses the question of health and social justice, biomedical ethics, and the links between medicine and politics, with a geographical focus on the Middle East and a special interest in postcolonial and gender studies. She is currently finishing a book manuscript (co-authored with Sherine Hamdy, UC Irvine) on the role of doctors in the Egyptian uprising and working on another book project on the question of health and social justice and the social roles of doctors in postcolonial Egypt. She is an editor of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (JMEWS) and associate editor of the Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies (JIMS). 

Ahmed Ragab is a historian of science and medicine and a scholar of science and religion. He received his MD from Cairo University School of Medicine in 2005, and PhD from the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris in 2010. He is the author of The Medieval Islamic Hospital: Medicine, Religion, and Charity (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Ragab’s research focuses on the history of medicine, science, and religion and the development of cultures of science and cultures of religion in the Middle East and the Islamic World. He also studies and publishes on gender and sexuality in the medieval and early modern Middle East, postcolonial studies of science and religion, and other questions in the history of science and religion.

Nermin Allam and Vickie Langhor

Saturday June 8, following the 2PM performance

Nermin Allam is an Assistant Professor of Politics at Rutgers University-Newark. Before joining Rutgers, Allam held a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University. Her areas of research interest include social movements, gender politics, Middle Eastern and North African studies, and political Islam. In her book, Women and the Egyptian Revolution (Cambridge, 2017), Allam tells the story of the 2011 uprising from the perspective of the women who participated, based on extensive interviews with female protestors and activists. The book offers an oral history of women’s engagement in this important historical juncture; it situates women’s experience within the socio-economic flows, political trajectories, and historical contours of Egypt. 

Vickie Langohr is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the College of the Holy Cross. Her work focuses on women’s rights in the Arab world and in countries transitioning to democracy and on movements against sexual harassment worldwide. Her publications include articles in the journals Comparative Politics, the Journal of Democracy, the International Journal of Middle East StudiesContemporary Studies in Society and History, and Middle East Report, as well as articles on “Monkey Cage,” the political science blog of The Washington Post. She has done archival research and fieldwork in India and in Egypt, where she lived for four years and did research most recently in January 2019.

Leila Fadel

Wednesday, June 12, following the 2PM performance

Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Las Vegas, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race. Most recently, she was NPR's international correspondent based in Cairo and covered the wave of revolts in the Middle East and their aftermaths in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and beyond. She was awarded the Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club for her coverage of the 2013 coup in Egypt and the toll it took on the country and Egyptian families. In 2017 she earned a Gracie Award for the story of a single mother in Tunisia whose two eldest daughters were brainwashed and joined ISIS. The mother was fighting to make sure it didn't happen to her younger girls. Before joining NPR, she covered the Middle East for The Washington Post as the Cairo Bureau Chief. Prior to her position as Cairo Bureau Chief for the Post, she covered the Iraq war for nearly five years with Knight Ridder, McClatchy Newspapers, and later The Washington Post. Her foreign coverage of the devastating human toll of the Iraq War earned her the George. R. Polk Award in 2007. In 2016 she was the Council on Foreign Relations Edward R. Murrow Fellow.

We Live in Cairo follows six revolutionary students armed with laptops and cameras, guitars, and spray cans from the jubilation of Cairo’s Tahrir Square where the Egyptian revolution unfolded through the tumultuous years that followed. It plays at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts from May 14 through June 23, 2019. The run includes one week of added performances due to popular demand. Obie Award winner Taibi Magar directs. 

Production Support of We Live in Cairo is provided by Serena and Bill Lese. Additional Production Support is provided by Janet and Irv Plotkin and The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. Education and engagement support is provided by Marcia Head.

Ticketing Information

Tickets start at $25 and are available now online at, by phone at 617.547.8300, and in person at the Loeb Drama Center Ticket Services Offices (64 Brattle Street, Cambridge). Discounts are available to A.R.T. Subscribers, Members, groups, students, seniors, Blue Star families, EBT card holders, and others.

About the Ash Center

The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion. By training the very best leaders, developing powerful new ideas, and disseminating innovative solutions and institutional reforms, the Center’s goal is to meet the profound challenges facing the world’s citizens. The Ford Foundation is a founding donor of the Center. @HarvardAsh

About the Middle East Initiative

The Middle East Initiative (MEI) at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs is dedicated to advancing public policy in the Middle East by convening the world’s foremost academic and policy experts, developing the next generation of leaders, and promoting community engagement on campus and in the region. Established in 1998, MEI has expanded its programs to address diverse topics including alternative energy, humanitarian crisis response, economic opportunity, demographic challenges, and beyond. @MiddleEast_HKS

About American Repertory Theater

American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University is a leading force in the American theater, producing groundbreaking work that is driven by risk-taking, artistic inquiry, and passionate inquiry. A.R.T. was founded in 1980 by Robert Brustein, who served as Artistic Director until 2002, when he was succeeded by Robert Woodruff. Diane Paulus began her tenure as Artistic Director in 2008. Under the leadership of Paulus as the Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director and Executive Producer Diane Borger, A.R.T. seeks to expand the boundaries of theater by programming transformative theatrical experiences, always including the audience as a central partner.

Throughout its history, A.R.T. has been honored with many distinguished awards including the Tony Award for Best New Play for All the Way (2014); consecutive Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical for Pippin (2013) and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2012), both of which Paulus directed, and sixteen other Tony Awards since 2012; a Pulitzer Prize; a Jujamcyn Prize for outstanding contribution to the development of creative talent; the Regional Theater Tony Award; and more than 100 Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards. Under Paulus’s leadership, A.R.T.’s club theater, OBERON, has been recognized annually as a top performance venue in the Boston area, and has attracted national attention for its innovative programming and business models. 

As the professional theater on the campus of Harvard University, A.R.T. is committed to playing a central role in the cognitive life of the University, catalyzing discourse, interdisciplinary collaboration, and creative exchange among a wide range of academic departments, institutions, students, and faculty members. A.R.T. is engaged in a number of multi-year initiatives with partners at Harvard that explore some of the most pressing issues of our day, including a collaboration with the Harvard University Center for the Environment to develop new work that addresses climate change. A.R.T. plays a central role in Harvard’s undergraduate Theater, Dance & Media concentration, teaching courses in directing, dramatic literature, acting, voice, design, and dramaturgy. A.R.T. staff also mentors students in the Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club working at the Loeb Drama Center and OBERON.

Dedicated to making great theater accessible, A.R.T. actively engages more than 5,000 community members and local students annually in project-based partnerships, workshops, conversations with 
artists, and other enrichment activities both at the theater and across the Greater Boston area.