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Nuclear Security Experts’ Visit to Egypt Promises Tremendous Potential

Howard Hall and Joseph Stainback IV, as well as a visiting Egyptian political and non-proliferation scholar Haidy Ghoname, recently returned from a highly successful trip to Egypt. Ghoname, Hall and Stainback participated in a nuclear security conference organized by the UT Institute for Nuclear Security and hosted by the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs (ECFA). Ghoname, who initiated the conference, is a member of ECFA. The conference focused on building international partnerships and encouraging new ideas for helping countries develop the infrastructures needed to support peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Many countries want nuclear energy, but have not yet developed the internal foundations needed to guarantee its safe use.

Hall, Ghoname and Stainback were well-received throughout the course of their visit. Hall delivered opening remarks at the conference in Cairo. Ghoname’s presence at UT is opening new doors for cross-cultural relationships for the Institute. The trio took VIP tours across the country where they connected with Egyptian colleagues, successfully proposing memoranda of understanding with Alexandria University, the Library of Alexandria, and Aswan University. In Aswan, together with its Governor, Maj. Gen. Magdy Fouad Hegazy, Hall, Ghoname, and Stainback prompted interest in a sister city agreement for our local municipalities. And after a brief visit to Luxor, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Arab Union of Engineering, Hesham M. Rezk and Dr. Abdelelah Eltawil (respectively), presented Hall and Ghoname with an Egyptian Shield, a plaque acknowledging UT’s outreach efforts in Egypt. Back in Cairo, Egyptian Ambassador Gillane Allam invited them to dinner at the Diplomatic Club where they discussed potential collaboration with other figures. Amb. Allam is a career diplomat who held posts in India, Australia, and New Zealand.

Maj. Gen. Eng. Dr. Abdelelah Etawil, Stainback, Dr. Hedy Ghoneme, Amb. Gillane Allam, and Dr. Hall

L to R: Maj. Gen. Eng. Dr. Abdelelah Eltawil, Dr. Stainback, Dr. Haidy Ghoname, Amb. Gillane Allam, and Dr. Hall

UT’s Institute for Nuclear Security leads by example in hosting and delivering local and international workshops, lectures, and meetings designed to foster a culture of nuclear security that can address and resolve some of the toughest issues of our time. The Institute’s world-renowned experts promote excellence in global security through a vital understanding that academic and cultural exchange with government and industry is critical to building partnerships with countries interested in developing nuclear energy.

Aswan Gov. Maj. Gen. Magdy Fouad Hegazy, Hall, Stainback, and Etawil.

L to R: Aswan Gov. Maj. Gen. Magdy Fouad Hegazy, Hall, Stainback, and Eltawil

Prof. Hall is the UT/ORNL Governor’s Chair for Global Nuclear Security and directs the Institute which is housed by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. His well-established expertise covers nuclear forensics, nuclear engineering, international transparency, nuclear nonproliferation, and nuclear security science and analysis. Prof. Stainback’s expertise is based on his lifelong career in nuclear security at high-risk facilities. His specialties include domestic safeguards, physical security, nuclear nonproliferation, and domestic International Atomic Energy Agency inspections.

The UT delegates attracted plenty of positive Egyptian media during their visit. During the last week, Hall and Ghoname were interviewed by an Egyptian newspaper as well as “Good Morning Egypt”, a national TV program, (both translated into Arabic).

Stainback remarked, “We experienced the history of civilization at every turn. It was a very enriching experience.”

Over the course of the upcoming year, Ghoname will not only continue contributing her research to the Institute, but she will also devote her remaining time at UT to organizing a special INS conference slated for next May. Ghoname’s knowledge, expertise, extensive connectivity, and enthusiasm for nuclear nonproliferation and global (nuclear) security is sure to continue opening new pathways for the Institute in the Middle East.

Contributed by Sumner Brown (7.11.16)