Mohamed Berray is from Cairo, Egypt. He is a Fulbright Professional Exchange Visitor and is in his second year as an iLEAD (International Librarians Enhancing Access and Development) fellow. He recently sat down with us to share his thoughts on being an iLEAD fellow and a UNCG student.
Tell me about your academic background?
I have a Masters degree in Political Sciences, and a Post-graduate diploma in Migration and Refugee studies, both from the American University in Cairo.
What were you doing prior to coming to UNCG?
I worked as a research specialist with the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies (CMRS) at the American University in Cairo. Part of my responsibilities was to build a collection of current unpublished academic research (grey files) in the field of migration and refugee studies. This collection later became the largest of its kind in the region, and our university was the hub for social and policy research on migration issues in the Middle East and North Africa.
In a proposed merger between the Law Library and the CMRS Grey Files Collection, I then moved to the Law Library, first as Assistant Director, and later as Director of the Law Library, where I assisted with legal research and instruction in the Law Department.
What got you interested in library work?
As part of my job with CMRS, I worked as Reference Librarian and as Subject Specialist with the University’s Main Library. There, I received training in cataloging and collections management, and was introduced to different departments in the library.
What attracted you to the iLEAD program?
ILEAD recognizes diversity in the field of librarianship and it encourages overseas librarians to work in the field whilst studying away from home. It is an opportunity to be an ambassador for international librarianship.
What projects have you worked on here at UNCG?
I am currently assisting the Chair of the Department with the coordination of IFLA’s International Comparative Librarianship (ICL) Communitas. The ICL Communitas is a forum for librarians from all over the world to share their experiences and expertise, as well as identify common and differing themes in the field of librarianship across the cultures.
I also assist with faculty research in the department as they relate to my area of expertise.
Have you picked a library concentration?
I am interested in academic librarianship, especially law librarianship.
What will you do once you graduate?
I will have to return to my institution in Egypt where I expect to serve in a more professional capacity.
Any idea where you want to be in 5 years?
Added to one day being the President of Egypt or the Secretary General of the United Nations (smiles), I also intend to engage in education consultancy that promotes LIS education in the developing world.
I also intend to work on increasing access to legal materials in the developing world so overseas researchers can gain access to these materials from anywhere, as well as use them for human rights discourses in countries of interest.
Sounds terrific! Thanks for meeting with us.