Egyptian actor Nour El-Sherif to deliver the commencement address

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-The Middlebury College Language Schools will hold commencement for the 91st summer session in Mead Chapel on Friday, Aug. 12, at 5 p.m. In honor of graduation, Alexander Solovov, a member of the Russian folk music ensemble Zolotoi Plios, currently in residence at the Russian School, will perform a carillon recital prior to the ceremony at 4 p.m. in Mead Chapel. Mead Chapel is on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). Both events are free and open to the public.

Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz and Dean of the Language Schools and Schools Abroad Michael Geisler will award degrees to about 150 master of arts candidates in French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. Three candidates will receive a doctorate in modern languages. Awards for distinguished study will also be given to select students in the schools of Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese.

Egyptian actor Nour El-Sherif will deliver the commencement address. El-Sherif has played more than 200 roles in film, television and theater. A producer and director as well as an actor, he is one of Arab cinema’s best known figures of the past 50 years. Born in Cairo in 1946, he grew up in Egypt’s capitol and entered the Higher Institute for Theater in Cairo in 1963. By his second year, he was acting in an Egyptian television series. In 1967, the same year he graduated, El-Sherif took a role in Hassan El-Imam’s “Palace of Desire” (Kasr El-Shawk), beginning his career in the Egyptian film industry. In 1980, the film “My Love Forever” (Habibi Da’eman) brought him into the spotlight.

In 1975, El-Sherif began a successful production company with his wife Safinaz Kadry, who is also known as Boussi. The company has produced a number of films and is credited with discovering Samir Seif and Atef El-Tayeb, two of Egypt’s well-known filmmakers. In 1983, he became the first Egyptian actor to receive the Best Acting Award at the International New Delhi Film Festival for his role in El-Tayeb’s “The Bus Driver” (Sawaq El-Autobees), which El-Sherif also produced.

El-Sherif has won a number of other awards as well. In 1989, he won the Best Actor Award at the Cairo International Film Festival and the Best Artist Award in 1995. He made his
directorial debut in 2000 with “The Two Lovers” (El-Ashiqan) and received a lifetime achievement award from the Egyptian Writers and Critics Association at the 2004 Alexandria International Film Festival.

El-Sherif has played a wide range of characters, including his role in the television series “Haj Motoli’s Family” (‘Ailaat Al-Haj Motoli), which made waves throughout the Arab world for its frank presentation of the issue of polygamy in Islam.

Following his address, an honorary doctor of arts degree will be conferred upon El-Sherif.

Middlebury College Professor Emeritus of Music Emory M. Fanning will accompany the commencement procession and recession on the Mead Chapel organ.

Middlebury College Language Schools

Middlebury College’s first Language School, the German School, was founded in 1915, followed by the French and Spanish Schools in 1916 and 1917, respectively. Since then, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic programs have been added. In 2003, a ninth program, the Portuguese School, opened. The language programs follow an immersion philosophy, at the heart of which is a language pledge-a formal commitment to speak, read and write only in the student’s respective language of study for the duration of the summer session.

Middlebury also offers language programs at the C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad located at 27 sites in 11 countries: Buenos Aires and Tucumán, Argentina; Belo Horizonte and Niteroi, Brazil; Concepción, La Serena, Santiago, Temuco, Valdivia and Valparaíso, Chile; Hangzhou, China; Paris and Poitiers, France; Mainz and Berlin, Germany; Ferrara and Florence, Italy; Guadalajara and Xalapa, Mexico; Irkutsk, Moscow and Yaroslavl, Russia; Getafe, Logroño, Madrid and Segovia, Spain; and Montevideo, Uruguay.