Mr Ibrahim Abdou (2019)
As a younger student and architect, the paradox that is Cairo’s Urbanism had me spellbound. Cairo is a thrilling yet frustrating megacity of endless contradictions that malfunctions beautifully. Throughout studying and later teaching Architecture and Urban Design at the German University in Cairo, I derived immense gratification from trying to untangle the complexity of the city. I have been specifically interested in questions of housing, its provision, use and perception. Alongside, I was exposed to on-ground parallel participatory initiatives and urban research offices which tackle urgent issues in the city. Accordingly, I became inspired to passionately explore these issues as an MPhil student at the University of Cambridge. In my PhD, I aim to question the condition of housing vacancy, its differentiated categories, and varied underlying reasons and mechanisms of occurrence. As I continue to be exposed to further research on Cairo within a vibrant network of mentors and colleagues, my thirst for learning keeps increasing with a growing commitment in me to treat my education as a life-long endeavor. Yet, I believe research must be consistently geared to have meaningful impact on people’s lives. I am honored to belong to the Gates community and hope to use the platform to pursue my aspiration of becoming an academically well-grounded individual who is able to critically think, inspire, educate, advocate, mediate and ultimately drive meaningful change.