Carol Riphenburg, professor of political science at College of DuPage, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar Grant to undertake research in Egypt.
Riphenburg is working with Economics and Political Science faculty members at Cairo University during the fall 2012 semester on her project, "Women and Political Participation in Egypt: Opportunities and Encumbrances for Women Following the January 25 Revolution."
"Egypt is the most populous Arabic nation, and I want to be there at this time of fateful change," explained the Wheaton resident before she departed. "It's especially important for me to tell the story of Egyptian women and what they are experiencing during this time of political upheaval."
Riphenburg, who has taught at College of DuPage since 1989, was studying in France during an undergraduate junior year abroad and wanted to learn a non-Western language. Because France had colonies in the Middle East and Africa, she chose to study Arabic and received a fellowship to do so at the American University in Cairo.
Since then, her research into the Middle East has been exhaustive. Riphenburg received two previous Fulbright awards that returned her overseas -- the first to Zimbabwe for a group project addressing the country's structural adjustment program, and the second to study in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. In 1998, Riphenburg published the book, "Oman: Political Development in a Changing World," and followed that with multiple articles and contributions, including "Afghanistan's Constitution: Success or Sham" for the Middle East Policy Council in 2005 and "Women for Afghan Women: 'Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future."
During her current Fulbright trip, Riphenburg is interviewing women in universities and nongovernmental organizations and will share their stories with her students upon returning to College of DuPage.
"I hope to achieve a better understanding of how Arabic women are participating in the region's momentous changes and fighting to get into the power structure," she said. "There's an Egyptian saying that once you drink from the Nile, you are fated to return to the Nile. I expect my return to be fascinating."