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Cairo University Prepares for Obama

  • Jessica Desvarieux

The stage is being set for President Obama's speech to the world's Muslims. The White House has confirmed Cairo University as the location of the address, and the campus is getting a quick makeover to host Obama. Many students welcome the changes to their campus but they are more eager to hear the President's message.

Preparing for US President

The clean up is underway. Sidewalks are being repaired. And there's heavy lifting.

It's official. Cairo University will be the site of President Obama's speech to the world's Muslims.

On Thursday June 4, from the university's domed Great Hall, the president will take center stage.

But for now, the public university is concentrating on landscaping, planting flowers and giving some of these landmarks a fresh coat of paint.

Many students welcome the changes, but change in U.S. foreign policy is really what they're looking for.

Salam means peace in Arabic. These four students said that's what they hope President Obama will bring to the region.

Students are hoping for a message of peace

"The American President Barack Obama will hopefully speak about the actions he plans to take to make the Middle East, the Arab world, and the whole world better," Hytham Said states. "And God willing it will work."

"He will affect the Middle East, for example, with the conflict in Palestine and anything economical, in my opinion. I hope that there will be peace," Asma Gamal said.

Gamal huddles with her friends. They're chatting about upcoming exams, not about Mr. Obama's visit.

Exams were scheduled for this week, so the university cancelled Thursday's tests to make way for the heightened security.

A few hundred students will be chosen to attend the speech, according to news reports.

Outside the university, there are more signs that an important guest is coming.

A bridge is being painted in preparation. Chief painter Michel Labeeb says Egyptians are inspired by Mr. Obama. "In the Middle East, there will be peace God willing. We are optimistic about what to expect from Obama," he said.

It's a view many hold. They like the newly paved roads, like this one, but they hope Mr. Obama's visit will pave a new path in US-Muslim relations.