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Barbara Lethem Ibrahim

Barbara Lethem Ibrahim is the founding director of the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement, established in 2006 at the American University in Cairo. Prior to that, she served for fourteen years as regional director for West Asia and North Africa at the Population Council. From 1982 to 1990, she was program officer at the Ford Foundation regional office in Cairo, responsible for programs in urban poverty, micro enterprise lending, and gender studies. She has been an international visiting scholar at the Center on Philanthropy, Indiana University (2008) and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University (2005). She served as a past or current board member of African Women in Crisis, Virtual Activism, the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies Egypt, and Voices for a Democratic Egypt. She speaks internationally on the topics of Arab youth in civic participation and philanthropy/social investing in the Arab world. Her BA is from DePauw University, MA in Sociology from the American University of Beirut, and PhD in Sociology from Indiana University. In 1999 she was inducted into the International Educators’ Hall of Fame. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies in 2003.

Research Project: The Civic Struggles of Urban Egyptian Youth

Selected Publications:

* From Charity to Social Change: Trends in Arab Philanthropy (chapter author, volume editor with Dina Sherif) American University in Cairo Press: October, 2008.

* Strengthening Philanthropy and Civic Engagement in the Arab World: A Mission for the John D. Gerhart Center Voices in Philanthropy and Civic Engagement, Working Paper #1, American University in Cairo, October 2006.

* Negotiating Leadership Roles: Young Women’s Experience in Rural Egypt, with Martha Brady and Rania Salem. Women’s Studies Quarterly, special issue on “Women and Development: Rethinking Policy and Reconceptualizing Practice”, 2004.

* The Costs of Marriage in Egypt: A Hidden Variable in the New Arab Demography, with Diane Singerman. The New Arab Family (ed. Hopkins). Cairo Papers in Social Science, volume 24, numbers 1/2, 80-116, 2003.

* Decline in Female Circumcision in Egypt: Evidence and Interpretation, with Omaima El-Gibaly, Barbara Mensch, and Wesley Clark. Social Science and Medicine. volume 54 no. 2. January, 2002.


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