Nasser’s educators and agitators across al-Watan al-‘Arabi: Tracing the Foreign Policy Importance of Egyptian Regional Migration, 1952-1967

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The Egyptian state’s policy of dispatching trained Egyptian professionals, primarily educational staff, across the Arab world rarely features in analyses of Egypt’s foreign policy under Gamal Abdel Nasser. This article relies primarily on newly declassified material from the British Foreign Office archives, unpublished reports from the Egyptian Ministry of Education, and an analysis of related articles in three main Egyptian newspapers (al-Ahram, al-Akhbar, al-Jumhuriya) in order to provide a detailed reconstruction of regional migration’s importance for Egyptian foreign policy. It debunks the conventional wisdom that Egyptian migration became a socio-political issue only in the post-1973 era, arguing that the Nasserite regime developed a governmental policy that allowed, and encouraged, Egyptians’ political activism in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and the Persian Gulf according to state foreign policy priorities in the 1952-1967 period. By presenting a cache of archival material in analytical and critical context, this article offers concrete evidence of how migration buttressed Egypt’s regional ambitions under Gamal Abdel Nasser.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-341
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Issue number3
Early online date4 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2016