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Monday, 23 October 2017

Ahram Online bids writer, activist Samer Soliman farewell

Samer Soliman, a committed activist for a better world and a prominent writer died Sunday at the age of 44; Samer will be missed by family, friends, readers and his colleagues at Ahram Online

Ahram Online, Monday 24 Dec 2012
Samer Soliman
Professor Samer Soliman (1968-2012)
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Egyptian academic, activist and author Samer Soliman has died after a battle with terminal illness.

Soliman was a regular contributor to Ahram Online since its inception two years ago and formally joined our staff in 2012.

Samer Soliman was 44 years old.

Soliman leaves behind wife Mary Mourad Shenouda, activist and editor of the books section at Ahram Online.

His family and friends held funeral services for Soliman at St. Mary Church in Maadi at 1pm Monday and will receive condolences at 7pm at the same location.

Soliman was a founding member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination Movement. He was also professor of political economy at the American University in Cairo (AUC).

Soliman graduated in 1990 from Cairo University with a BSc in economics. He then earned a diploma in African studies in 1992, followed by a Masters in sociology from AUC in 1997. He earned his PhD in political science from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris in 2004.

Soliman worked as an affiliated researcher a the CEDEJ (Centre d'etudes et de documentations economiques, juridiques et sociales) in Cairo. He also worked at, and was one of the founders of, the French Al-Ahram Hebdo, beginning in 1994. He worked as a journalist with Ahram Online and contributed to many publications, including El-Bosla, El-Watan and El-Shorouk newspaper.

The main publication of Dr Soliman is the book Strong Regime, Weak State: The fiscal crisis and political change in Egypt under Mubarak.

Soliman also published a lengthy piece in the series, "Cairo Papers in Social Science," under the title State and Industrial Capitalism in Egypt.

Soliman came from a middle class Egyptian Christian family. Both of his parents were teachers. He was raised in downtown Cairo and attended an Egyptian French school.

In one interview published in the Democratising New Egypt blog, shortly after the revolution in 2011, Soliman said that he was raised in a political family.

“I grew up in a politicised family. Many people in my family were interested in or engaged in politics. I was raised in a secular family,” Soliman said. “My family was Christian, but secular. My mother is religious. My father was a communist … I was never raised as a Copt. I was raised as a nationalist, in a secular home, that was somehow leftist.”

Soliman said that he began to understand the sectarian issue in Egypt when he entered the army, which he called “a corrupt institution based on wasta (nepotism).” However, he added it gave him an intense education in the social situation in Egypt.

“I got in deep touch with the peasants, uneducated peasants from deep in the Egyptian countryside. [It was an amazing social education.] There is strong solidarity among soldiers with regard to the big monster, the institution of the military,” Soliman said in the interview.

Soliman was a much loved professor at AUC. His student Mariam Kirollos, a graduate of political science and sociology, told Ahram Online that his death “is a great loss.”

"He was an amazing professor. He was very enthusiastic, very understanding and open to discussion,” she said. “He encouraged me to enter politics with him. He had so much compassion for his students. His lectures were extremely insightful. He was the most wonderful teacher you could have."

Karim Hafez, another AUC student who took classes with Soliman, said that he left a huge legacy.

"He used to give the political science introductory courses and we owe him a lot. He opened our eyes to the corruption in the country,” Hafez said. “I remember his passion for teaching. He was the only professor that you would see in protests all the time. It’s a great loss but his legacy will remain."

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Nouran
25-12-2012 09:06pm
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Great Professor
I took a class at AUC with Prof. Samer Soliman. His method was different, and he really taught me a lot about the Egyptian government, something few ever mention. He always linked us to his articles so we can keep up with the news too. Thank you for everything, you're not just a loss to the AUC community, but to Egypt as a whole. May your soul rest in peace
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Ray Gibbs
25-12-2012 12:39pm
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Samer Soliman
Friend, journalist, professor, poet in the Street. Peace & thank you.
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ashraf
23-12-2012 05:55pm
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Missing his words
I met him once and read so often for him. Going to miss his deep writings. My sympathy for his family and his students.
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Jim
23-12-2012 05:34pm
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He was a brilliant thinker
Samer Soliman was one of my students at AUC when I taught in the department of Sociology-Anthropology in the 1990s. He and 3,4 others were a core of Trotskyite students who received their masters with us. I followed his career, and eventually disagreed strongly with his secularism. But he was a brilliant thinker even so, and I was quite proud, at a distance, that he had joined the faculty of AUC. I hope his students appreciate the depth and sophistication of his amazing mind.
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