This article originally appeared in GW Today and can be found here.

Students from Egypt and the U.S. engage in cultural exchange for the three-day academic intensive course.

By Brittney Dunkins

Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. His Excellency Mohammed M. Tawfik delivered a welcome address to students on Thursday, kicking off a three-day Social Entrepreneurship Collaborative Course at the George Washington University School of Business.

Students from Egypt joined M.B.A. students from GWSB for a short-term abroad exchange featuring leading global thinkers, including Middle East Institute President Wendy Chamberlin, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Manager for Turkey and Middle East Affairs Gabe Ross and Gallup CEO Jim Clifton.

“Social entrepreneurship has a fantastic future in Egypt,” Amb. Tawfik said. “Our generation of young people in Egypt have found their voice after many years of being silenced, and we can look forward to a future in which they can speak for themselves and decide the direction of the country.”

The program was developed following Associate Teaching Professor of Management Ayman El Tarabishy’s visit to Egypt at the dawn of the Arab Spring.  His experience witnessing the mobilization of Egyptian youth inspired him to write the essay, “Egypt is Burning,” that called for a workshop with Egyptian students.

Though it originally began as an exchange program for students from the U.S. to visit Egypt, recent political instability prompted a shift to bring Egyptian students to the U.S.

“This course is lighting in a bottle,” Dr. El Tarabishy said, addressing the class. “We hope that when you finish the program you will gain personal knowledge, experience cultural exchange, and build friendships and connections.”

“The course is about social entrepreneurship, but it is also about bringing two cultures together to talk about how we can make the world a better place,” he added.

Students learned about social entrepreneurship on a global scale with a focus on affairs in Egypt. President and Provost of Nile University Tarek Khalil, who also delivered a welcome address, discussed “Nile University: A Case for A Social Enterprise University” and National Coordinator for the Egyptian Corporate Responsibility Center Global Compact Egypt Local Network Sherine El Shorbagi spoke about social enterprise and impact investment.

The itinerary also included a reception at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to discuss their upcoming mission in Egypt and a trip to D.C. Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that provides 5,000 meals per day and job training.

“Our unique location allows us to do a number of interesting things, such as inviting ambassadors from around the world to campus on their way to work,” said GWSB Interim Dean Chris Kayes. “The intersection among business, society, government and the not-for-profit world is really what we do well at the School of Business.”

“Having been to Lebanon in the last year, I’ve realized that the U.S. and the Middle East have a lot to learn from each other,” Dr. Kayes said. “I believe there will be a lot of collaboration as we move forward, and this program is a great opportunity to continue to build those bonds,” he added.

Amb. Tawfik agreed.

“I am confident that the country is moving forward in the right direction, and I am confident Egypt will continue collaborating with countries all over the world,” he said.