• Alumni Connecting During The Times Of COVID-19



    In March, we shouted out to alumni around the world to “virtually hangout” over coffee, lunch, or a snack with an old CAC friend or teacher to hangout like old times to revive old memories and catch up and thus find comfort in each other’s company during these challenging times.

    Ever since we have been witnessing amazing CAC alumni engagement and support of each other around the world! Virtual hangouts, sharing of photos/videos from back in the day with memories and captions, and even two “virtual reunions” for the classes of 1980 and 2007!

    That’s the eagle spirit we know and love about CAC. CAC will always be the home that keeps us united together. Go Eagles!

  • Chris Khalifa’s’01 Zooba Has Been Added to Bon Appetit’s NYC 100

    Our alum Chris Khalifa’01 is the founder and owner of Zooba restaurant chain, an Egyptian street food concept. He started vast numbers of branches across Egypt years ago and recently opened a new branch in New York.

    We were so happy to learn that Zooba just got added to Bon Appetit’s NYC 100 (click here to read). “I’m in a bit of a state of disbelief” said Chris. In Chris’s words,”I’m so proud of our whole team and so thankful to everyone who worked with us on making this happen. It’s been an unbelievable 5 months. Feels like 10 years. 6 months ago no one in NY had a clue what Egyptian food was and now we’re on the NYC 100. Crazy stuff”.

    “You’ll fall in love with Zooba before you even taste the food, thanks to all the delightful details—graphic murals, wheatpaste-style posters, colorful LED patterns on the ceiling—inspired by the streets of Cairo. But this fast-casual spot serving Egyptian street-food classics is more than a feast for the eyes. The ta’ameya (freshly fried balls of mashed fava beans), hawashi (a tender meat-veg patty stuffed in fluffy baladi bread), and dips come in a variety of flavors and options, including easy-to-tote salads and sandwiches. Though, with this much to look at, you might choose to grab a seat and stick around.

  • Michelle Johnson’82 Nominated for Las Vegas Black Music Award (BMA) for Best Female Jazz Artist


    Our talented CAC alumna Michelle Johnson’82 has just been nominated for a Las Vegas Black Music Award (BMA) for Best Female Jazz Artist. The gala is on January 19th, and in addition to the BMA’s, Dr. Martin Luther King is being honored that night.

    So who is this alumna making us proud you ask?  Singer-songwriter Michelle Johnson’s style – best described as Carole King meets Ella Fitzgerald – draws from jazz, pop, soft rock, musical theater, gritty blues, & soul. The Las Vegas based singer has recorded, performed, or shared stages with some of the biggest names in entertainment: Paul McCartney, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Barbra Streisand to name a few. Her aesthetic has roots deep in the singer-songwriter tradition with traces of gospel & folk, & echoes of the vocal masters who ruled the radio waves in the days before rock & roll.

    That voice lights up “I’m All In,” the artist’s warm & vibrant latest single, which premiered on September 23, 2019. The song and its accompanying music video are both up for an Independent Music Award. You can vote here and watch the music video here. Once a background singer, she’s now stepping into the spotlight, so keep your eyes on her!

    In Las Vegas, Michelle Johnson is known as the “First Lady of Jazz”, but her sold out shows cover a multitude of genres. After years of singing backups for many musical legends, she is currently recording her first solo album and working on a book about the music business.

    Michelle is also an accomplished producer of corporate events, concerts, workshops and private functions, and she is in the process of developing The Artist Development Academy of Las Vegas.

    Take a tour of her site, featuring pictures, videos, and her ongoing blog, and be sure to check the calendar for upcoming appearances, and be sure to watch the video for Michelle’s latest single, “I’m All In”.


  • Our Alumna Sahar Shehata’15 Gives This Year’s University of Maryland Commencement Speech



    Our CAC alumna Sahar Shehata’ 15  just graduated from the University of Maryland from the School of Engineering and was chosen as this year’s commencement speaker. She has accomplished so much while at university and has already landed a job after graduation as a mechanical engineer at NPR Associates in Virginia with a focus on the power sector. During her time in university, she has been part various programs, clubs, and initiatives that have helped give back to society.  Sahar is truly making CAC proud.

    Below is a link to the video commencement speech (it starts at 36: 30 minutes with an introduction about what Sahar did while in University….very impressive). Go Eagles!

  • Maryem Hassan Tollar’85 Wins Performing Arts Prize in Ontario

    Our CAC alumna Maryem Hassan Tollar’85 shared amazing news with us this week. She shared the following:

    I graduated from CAC in 1985 and since then I have become a vocalist/composer and a public school teacher in Toronto, Ontario Canada. At CAC I was very active in the musicals, and theatre performing in Godspell, West Side Story and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania). I was Maryem Hassan when I was at CAC. I’m now married to another musician (Ernie Tollar) and changed my last name to Tollar – so am known as Maryem Tollar. I recently won a Prize for Performing Arts in Ontario. I’ve attached the press release”.
    Maryem Hassan Tollar

    The Press Release:
    Gmail – Metcalf Foundation announces winners of the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prizes_Les Prix Johanna-Metcalf des Arts de la scène (1) (1)

  • Our Alumna Zeinab El Gammal’19 Tackling Climate Change



    Our alumni after graduation from CAC always make us proud as they try to change the world for the better.
    Our CAC alumna Zeinab El Gammal’19 has been advocating taking action against the impending horrors of climate change. Zeinab joined thousands in protests alongside Greta Thunberg and sent us the following article about her thoughts and experience in her own words.

    “This Was Written to Scare You

    As I march on the streets of Montreal, 500,000 people surrounding me, I know I am witnessing history. On September 27th, 2019 I joined this massive crowd in protesting for the climate alongside Greta Thunberg who I would peg the voice of our frustrations, the voice of our urgency, the voice of our generation. Across the world, millions of people participated to urge their governments to take action against the impending horrors of climate change, many of which we are already beginning to experience. If that doesn’t scare you, the overwhelming amount of science, which some choose to deny despite it not being a matter of opinion or politics, should. The worst impacts of climate change could be irreversible by 2030, including intensified natural disasters, higher ocean levels and temperatures, shifting seasons, and an overall drop in the quality of life we lead. Not only that, but the five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2010 and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. Humans aren’t the only ones affected by climate change, more than one million species are at risk of extinction which will have detrimental effects on ecosystem resilience, affecting entire communities. This suggests that we are in the midst of the 6th mass extinction, fueled by, you guessed it, human activity. 

    Now that you are, I hope, worried about your future, you may be itching to take action. I am fortunate enough to have many accessible ways to take part in the fight against climate change, but I understand that living in Egypt, it is not as easy to do the same. But, as they say, “Think globally, act locally.” You don’t necessarily have to try and do whatever will cause a ripple across the world, you need to consider what you can do as an individual and as a member of your own community. There are the obvious steps like taking shorter showers, unplugging anything you are not using and recycling, but how do you go beyond that? 

    The first step would be to educate. You would probably be amazed at how many people lack any knowledge on the matter at hand because not everyone is fortunate enough to receive that kind of education, even at prestigious institutions. Even my roommate in university knows close to nothing about the climate’s situation and I can guarantee that many organizations are trying to change just that. Within our CAC community, you can get involved with the Global Issues Service Club which I was lucky enough to be a part of throughout High School. This is a group of eager students and faculty who are willing to better their community in any way they can and if you approach them with a goal of your own, such as educating others on climate change, they will be happy to help. There are also many others popping up on the scene which you can find in this article by Egyptian Streets. 

    Another plan of action I would suggest also happens to be the least favored by most people; cutting out meat and dairy or at least significantly reducing your consumption of it. Aside from the increased risks of obesity, heart disease and cancer, the level to which we consume meat generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks and automobiles combined. On top of that, the amount of land that needs to be cleared for significantly reduces the size of our “carbon sinks” which are extremely important in reducing the greenhouse effect. Industrial livestock production is a front runner in the list of the biggest contributors to climate change and by avoiding meat and dairy, farmland use could go down by 75%. According to Joseph Poore’s study, “meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.” Therefore, a vegan diet is the single biggest way you can reduce your impact on our planet. You can always start small, I myself have adopted a pescatarian diet as of the day of the Climate March and am aiming to gradually achieve a full vegan diet. 

    You should also look into reducing your plastic consumption. I was very pleased to hear that CAC is going green and will eliminate all single use plastic from campus. This is a great first step. It is not easy to completely avoid plastic, but by actively thinking about your level of use, you will easily be able to make a change. For example, taking your own grocery bags to the supermarket or buying the products with less packaging. There are always small steps that can lead to a positive lifestyle change. As we saw with CAC, you can always pressure your institutions into reform. Concordia University was successful in getting its administration to divest from fossil fuels and I am active in Divest McGill’s efforts to do the same. Getting involved is where it all starts. 

    This is not the time to give up and feel helpless. I am sure that many of you have the “there’s nothing we can do now to change it” mentality, but that is our biggest enemy, perpetuating what is still not inevitable. Do it for your future, your children’s future and the planet’s future. Whether you follow the steps above or start small in your own way. This is a rare time where you are allowed to be selfish, allowed to try and save yourself and if you are reading this, you have the means to make even the slightest changes that will significantly reduce your impact on our planet”. 


    “5 Terrifying Climate Change Facts to Scare You into Action This Halloween.” Earth Day Network, 30 Oct. 2019, www.earthday.org/2019/10/29/5-terrifying-climate-change-facts-scare-halloween/. 

    “Climate Change Evidence: How Do We Know?” NASA, NASA, 30 Sept. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/evidence/. 

    “Eating Less Meat, More Plants Helps the Environment.” Greenpeace USA, www.greenpeace.org/usa/sustainable-agriculture/eco-farming/eat-more-plants/. 

    Carrington, Damian. “Avoiding Meat and Dairy Is ‘Single Biggest Way’ to Reduce Your Impact on Earth.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 31 May 2018, www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way -to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth. 


  • Lara Zureikat ’90 Wins Aga Khan Award

    Our alumna Lara Zureikat ’90 is an internationally renowned landscape architect and the Associate Director at the Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE). She worked on numerous amazing projects such as developing a participatory design program that has impacted schools across the country, involving students in the development of their own educational environment (click here to know more).

    Lara recently was presented an Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2019 certificate for her work creating the Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, Palestine, by His Highness the Aga Khan and Mintimer Shaimiev, State Counselor of the Republic of Tatarstan.

  • CAC Alumna Yasmine Kamar’08 Is Making CAC Proud

    Our CAC alumna Yasmine Kamar’08 graduated from the American University in Cairo (AUC) in 2011, with both a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a minor in Economics.

    She began her career working at HSBC’s corporate banking unit. After which, she started her journey with startups in 2012 at Flat6Labs, MENA’s first and largest startup accelerator in which she supported early stage startups raise funds from various investors.

    In 2014, she joined her family business (KAPO Group), working with the group’s Egyptian- Dutch joint venture “Koudijs Kapo Feed” in the agricultural feed industry. During 2016- 2017, she spearheaded the launch of a 10 million USD fish feed business targeting Egyptian fish farmers. As of 2018, the business is now making EGP 80M+ in revenue and has become profitable in less than 2 years.

    Kamar was recognized as one of the “Top 50 Most Influential Women in Egypt (2016)” under the auspices of former Egyptian Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail and Amwal El Ghad. Thereafter, she was chosen by the U.S. Department of State as one of 30 women in the Sub-Sahran and North African region to represent Egypt in the “African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (2017)”; part of the U.S.’s International Visitor’s leadership program.

    In 2018 Yasmine was named “Distinguished Young Alumni” by AUC and is the youngest to receive the award since its inception.

    As of 2019 Kamar became a member of Cairo Angels, Egypt’s first and largest angel investment network with chapters in London and Dubai. Building off her experience, she hopes to be able to contribute to the growth of promising startups.

    When asked about her time and memories with CAC, she said, “Looking back at my time at CAC I can honestly say that it shaped me in a big way to become the person I am today. From art classes with Ms.Seaton to heated debates in the Model United Nations and week without walls adventures in China, my journey in CAC molded my character. It allowed me to think outside the box and acquire a variety of skills that are ingrained in me. CAC was not your typical “memorize the textbook” kind of school; on the contrary it challenged you to break the status quo and to be your full self.

    Just like any student, my time at school still had its downs but I never felt alone. No matter how different you are, you can always find that one friend or teacher who gets you – and that is something very special. There is a place for everyone.

     Most importantly I was exposed to unparalleled diversity that shaped me to be able to connect with others regardless of their background. This exposure helped me succeed in both my personal and business life.

    The gifts that I cherish the most from CAC are the friends and everlasting memories we made together.  The older I get the more I’m able to appreciate these gifts and my parents for having provided me and my siblings the opportunity to have the CAC experience”.

  • Jennifer Cate’s ‘89 Hands Along The Nile

    Jennifer Cate’89 visited CAC this year and shared her stories from graduation until her current Hands Along The Nile.

    “When I graduated from CAC in 1989, I had no idea that I would ever return to Egypt. Apparently, I hadn’t heard the Egyptian proverb that states “if you drink from the Nile, you’ll always return.” It seems I had taken quite a gulp, for Egypt has remained a large part of my life. I returned to Omm Iddunya for graduate school, landed my first post-grad school job there, and eventually, after working in places like Kazakstan and Syria, found myself in Washington, DC, engaged once again with Egypt! (more…)