This article traces the influence of international networks in three Middle Eastern universities from the 1920s onwards: the American University of Beirut, the American University in Cairo and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It shows how American, internationalist, imperial and religious actors competed and how the universities were placed in these often overlapping or interconnected networks. It illustrates the complicated process of institutionalizing the new universities, for instance in financing them or validating degrees. The article also looks at the role the universities played in the attempt to transform local societies, as they devised outreach programmes and language policies that aimed to spread English, to simplify Arabic, or to modernize Hebrew.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Adult Education (1942/1943). Extension lectures and courses of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. TNA: CO 733/468/16.
Altan-Olcay, Ö. (2008). Defining “America” from a distance: Local strategies of the global in the Middle East. Middle Eastern Studies, 44(1), 29–52.
America’s Outpost in the Middle East (1921). AUB Archives: AA 1.6.1.
Anderson, B. S. (2011). The American University of Beirut: Arab nationalism and liberal education. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Bashshur, M. A. (1964). The role of two western universities in the national life of Lebanon and the Middle East: A comparative study of the American University of Beirut and the University of Saint-Joseph. Ph.D. thesis, University of Chicago.
Bentwich, N. (1944). Note to Christopher Cox, 10 October. TNA: CO 733/468/16.
Bentwich, N. (1967). The Hebrew University of Jerusalem: A historical survey. Cahiers d’Histoire Mondiale, 10(8), 801–817.
Bertelsen, R. G. (2012). Private foreign-affiliated universities, the state, and soft power: The American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo. Foreign Policy Analysis, 8, 293–311.
Bickers, W. M. (1967). American University of Beirut. Journal of the American Medical Association, 200(13), 1162–1168.
Bliss, H. S. (1901). “This great factory of power”: The evolution of the foreign missionary enterprise in Syria. The Congregationalist and Christian World, 671–677.
Bliss, H. S. (1920). The modern missionary. The Atlantic Monthly, May.
Bourse Egyptienne (1934). Article on the American University, 15 August. TNA: FO 141/564/17.
Brenner, M. (2003). Zionism: A brief history. Princeton: M. Wiener.
Bristow, N. K. (1996). Making men moral: Social engineering during the Great War. New York: New York University Press.
British Council (1944). Letter to Christopher Eastwood, 29 September. TNA: CO 733/468/16.
Chancellor, J. (1931), Extract of letter to Sir J. Shuckburgh, 11 April. TNA: CO 733/202/2.
Chowers, E. (2012). The political philosophy of Zionism: Trading Jewish words for a Hebraic land. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Clavin, P. (2013). Securing the world economy: The reinvention of the League of Nations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cohen, U. (2007). University vs. society in a period of nation building: The Hebrew University in pre-state Israel. Historical Studies in Education/Revue d’histoire de l’éducation, 19(1), 81–100.
Cooper, F., & Packard, R. M. (Eds.) (1997). International development and the social sciences: Essays on the history and politics of knowledge. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Dodd, S. C. (1931). Social relationships in the Near East: A civics textbook of readings and projects for college freshmen. Beirut: AUB.
Dodge, B. (n.d.). The American University of Beirut, International College and Damascus College 1910–1948. TNA: BW 86/1.
Dodge, B. (1958). The American University of Beirut: A brief history of the university and the lands which it serves. Beirut: Khayat’s.
Ducruet, J. (1995). L’université et la cité [The university and the city]. Beirut: Université Saint-Joseph.
Ekbladh, D. (2010). The great American Mission: Modernization and the construction of an American world order. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
El Calamawy, S. (1981). The American influence on education in Egypt. In A. F. Davis (Ed.), For better or worse: The American influence in the world (pp. 139–140). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Elshakry, M. (2013). Reading Darwin in Arabic, 1860–1950. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Engert, C. (1934). Letter to Miles W. Lampson, 5 August. TNA: FO 141/564/17.
Fawaz, G. (1987). AUB in the early thirties—Its golden age: Reminiscences of an alumnus. Kulliyah, 5(1).
Fortna, B. C. (2000). Imperial classroom: Islam, the state, and education in the late Ottoman Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gorman, D. (2013). The emergence of international society in the 1920s. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hanna, F. M. (1979). An American mission: The role of the American University of Beirut. Boston: Alphabet Press.
Hauser, J., Lindner, C., & Möller, E. (Eds.) (2015). Entangled education: Foreign and local schools in Ottoman Syria and Mandate Lebanon (19 th –20th centuries). Würzburg: Ergon.
Herzstein, R. (2008). Saint-Joseph University in Beirut: An enclave of the French-speaking communities in the Levant, 1875–1914. Itinerario, 32(2), 67–82.
HU [Hebrew University] (1972). The Hebrew University of Jerusalem 1918–1948. Jerusalem: Department of Information and Public Affairs.
Huber, V. (2013). Channelling mobilities: Migration and globalisation in the Suez Canal Region and beyond. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Huber, V. (2015). Education and mobility: Universities in Cairo between competition and standardisation, 1900–1950. In L. Kozma, A. Wishnitzer, & C. Schayegh (Eds.), A global Middle East: Mobility, materiality and culture in the modern age, 1880–1940 (pp. 81–108). London/New York: IB Tauris.
Iram, I. (1982). Higher education traditions of Germany, England, the USA and Israel. Paedagogica Historica, 22, 93–118.
Jeha, S. (2005). Darwin and the crisis of 1882 in the medical department. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency (1933). Extract from Daily News Bulletin, No. 137, 13 June. TNA: CO 733/235/3.
Kotzin, D. P. (2010). Judah L. Magnes: An American Jewish nonconformist. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
Landau, J. M. (1997). Arab and Turkish universities: Some characteristics. Middle Eastern Studies, 33(1), 1–19.
Longuenesse, E. (2004). Système éducatif et modèle professionnel: Le mandat français en perspective: l’exemple des compatibilités au Liban [Educational system and professional model: The French mandate in perspective: The example of compatibilities in Lebanon]. In N. Méouchy & P. Sluglett (Eds.), The British and French mandates in comparative perspective (pp. 537–547). Leiden: Brill.
Macleod, R. (2008). Balfour’s mission to Palestine: Science, strategy, and the inauguration of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Minerva, 46, 53–76.
MacMichael, H. (1944). Telegram to Secretary of State for the Colonies, 30 August. TNA: CO 733/468/16.
Magee, G. B., & Thompson, A. S. (2010). Empire and globalisation: Networks of people, goods and capital in the British world, c. 1850–1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Magnes, J. L. (1933). Extract from a letter to Arthur Mayhew, 19 December. TNA: CO 733/235/3.
Manchester Guardian (1945). Jewish culture: Hebrew University’s achievements, 2 April. TNA: CO 733/468/17.
Mazower, M. (2013). Governing the world: The history of an idea. London: Allen Lane.
Mayhew, A. (1939). Letter to Mr. Luke, 29 November. TNA: CO 733/402/6.
McClenahan, R. (1921). Another strategic center occupied. AUC Archives, AUC history, articles, books, and notes collection, Box 1.
Ment, D. M. (2011). The American role in education in the Middle East: Ideology and experiment, 1920–1940. Paedagogica Historica, 47(2), 173–189.
Midgley, J., & Piachaud, D. (Eds.) (2011). Colonialism and welfare: Social policy and the British imperial legacy. Northampton: Edward Elgar.
Minute sheet (1934a). 11 April 1934. TNA, FO 141/564/17.
Minute sheet (1934b). 21 August 1934. TNA, FO 141/564/17.
Möller, E. (2013). Orte der Zivilisierungsmission: Französische Schulen im Libanon 1909–1943 [Locations of the civilizing mission: French schools in Lebanon 1909–1943]. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht.
Murphy, L. R. (1987). The American University in Cairo: 1919–1987. Cairo: American University Press.
Myntti, C., Zurayk, R., & Mabsout, M. (2009). Beyond the walls: The American University of Beirut engages its communities. Paper presented at the Arab Regional Conference in Higher Education, Cairo, May/June 2009.
Owen, R. E. (1997). The metamorphosis of Cairo’s Midan al-Tahrir as public space: 1870–1970. Harvard Middle Eastern & Islamic Review, 4(1–2), 138–163.
Pedersen, S. (2006). The meaning of the mandates system: An argument. Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 32(4), 560–582.
Reinharz, J. (1984). Laying the foundation for a university in Jersualem: Chaim Weizmann’s role, 1913–1914. Modern Judaism, 4(1), 1–38.
Senator, D. W. (1944). Letter to Christopher Eastwood, 28 September. TNA: CO 733/468/16.
Sayah, E. N. (1988). The American University of Beirut and its educational activities in Lebanon, 1920–1967. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Texas, Austin.
Sharkey, H. J. (2008). American evangelicals in Egypt: Missionary encounters in an Age of Empire. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Shils, E., & Roberts, J. (2004). Die Übernahme europäischer Universitätsmodelle [The adoption of European university models]. In W. Rüegg, et al. (Eds.), Geschichte der Universität in Europa, vol. III: Vom 19. Jahrhundert zum Zweiten Weltkrieg (1800–1945) (Vol. III, pp. 145–196). Munich: Beck.
Smith, R. (1973). A scholarly bridge between two cultures. Scholarly Publishing, 4(2), 175–182.
The Syrian Protestant College (1863). New York/Boston: Missionary Board. AUB Archives: AA 1.6.1.
Tyrrell, I. (2010). Reforming the world: The creation of America’s moral empire. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Weizmann, C., Buber, M., & Feiwel, B. (1902). Eine jüdische Hochschule [A Jewish University]. Berlin: Jüdischer Verlag.
Whitehead, C. (2003). Colonial educators: The British Indian and Colonial Education Service 1858–1983. London: I.B. Tauris.
Wigoder, G. (n.d.). The crown of wisdom: Sixty years of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2 vols. HU Archives.
Zachs, F. (2005). From the mission to the missionary: The Bliss family and the Syrian Protestant College (1866–1920). Die Welt des Islams, 45(2), 255–291.
About this article
Cite this article
Huber, V. International agendas and local manifestations: Universities in Cairo, Beirut and Jerusalem after World War I. Prospects 45, 77–93 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-015-9348-z
- American University of Beirut
- American University in Cairo
- Hebrew University
- Outreach programmes
- Elite formation
- Language policies