Letter of Solidarity With Dr. Khaled Ouda From Rutgers

I am writing to express my consternation and disbelief in the in the arrest and continued detention of Professor Khaled ouda, Professor of Geology at the University of Assiut.
I have had the privilege to work with Professor Ouda since 1998. At that time, I was the President of the International Working Group of the Paleocene/Eocene boundary of the International Sub commission on Paleogene stratigraphy, itself part of the International Sub commission on Paleogene stratigraphy, itself part of the International commission on Stratigraphy under the auspices of the International Union Geological Scientists (IUGS).

Professor Ouda and I began collaboration in January of 1998 for field work in the Luxor area. Professor Oude was the leader of the Egyptian team of Geologists from the University of Assiut, and I was the leader of the international group (with colleagues from Belgium, England, France, the United States of America). I found out quickly how committed and diligent Professor was/is. Thanks to his persistent and enthusiastic efforts, he has brought Egypt to the forefront of the international, stratigraphic scene, which culminated with the ratification by the IUGS of the definition of the base the Eocene (GSSP) in the Dabayia Quarry, 25km south of Luxor. This area is now protected and has been “designated by En. Maged George of the Ministry of State for Environmental affairs and Qean Governate as Natural Park n26m as approved by Dr. Ahmed Nazif, Prime minister of Egypt. “(extracted from the official description of the GSSP in Episodes, the international of the IUGS, submitted ).

This site has been visited in February 2004 by over 80 scientists from at least 25 countries around the world, and as a reference locality it will be regularly visited by interested parties of the broader scientific community. This international recognition largely owes to the constant effort of Prof. Khaled ouda, who, as a result, has been recently honored by the geological and paleontological societies of Egypt.

This recognition has also led the involvement of Prof. Ouda in international projects abroad. Thus at the invitation of the organizations (Profs. Werner Piller [University of Graz, Austria], William A .Berggren [The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Rutgers University, USA], lan Zelazievich [University of Leicester, England], Brian Mc Gowran [University of Adelaide, Australia] and John Van Couvering [the Micropaleontology Project, New York, USA] he participated a year ago in a one week long Penrose Conference held in Graz, Austria. He has participated as well in international meetings in Goteborg (1999, Sweden), Powell (200, Wyoming, USA) and Leuvin (2003Belgium). Professor ouda was invited to take part in a forthcoming (16-20 june2007) international conference in Zumaia (Spain) to address stratigraphic problems to which Egyptian geology may bring a conclusion. Bescause of Prof. Ouda’ s detention Egypt will not be represented at meeting, and his absence will be sorely felt .

Professor Khaled Ouda was arrested last January while we were visiting with him stratigraphic in the Luxor area and writing manuscripts on our current research. His arrest has put all these projects on hold, alarming both the Egyptian and international geological community. His students, his colleagues in Egypt and abroad are suffering from his detention which is becoming costly to the reputation of Egypt and may jeopardize all of Professor Ouda’ s effort to bring Egyptian stratigaphy on the international scene. The prolonged absence of Professor Ouda which prevents him from leading scientists to the Dababiya GSSP, is likely to result in dissatisfaction on the part of the international community and the transfer of the GSSP section of Egypt.

From a personal point of view, I have come to appreciate Professor Ouda for his exceptional humanistic qualities. He is a man of exceptional integrity, who loves his country and worked very hard at giving it a scientific statute in geological sciences. He is highly respected by everyone who has met him. His honesty, compassion, generosity, devotion to his family, friends, colleagues, his commitment to peace and justice have touched the heart of many, I only hope that Professor Ouda will be allowed in the best delays to resume his duties at the University of Assiut to continue to play a leadership role in Egyptian sciences.
Marie-Pierre Aubry
Rutgers University

Dr. Khaled Ouda is among a group of 42 MB leaders who have been unjustly arrested by the Egyptian government since March 2007,  and currently standing military trial

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