7 November 2010
Last month saw Cairenes enthralled by the first Cairo International Circus Festival in which 14 circus groups from 12 countries gave performances at several theatres as well as streets and public squares. The shows included acrobatics, comedy shows, magic shows, fire shows and various other circus arts. Participating were circus groups from Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, France, Hungary, Italy, Lebanon, The Netherlands, Palestine, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The festival manager Ashraf Qenawy said that the aim was to revive the simple entertainment spirit that folk circus creates. “It was hard finding European and Arab folk circus groups,” he said, “since street circus is not as popular as it used to be”. This is why the festival included workshops by European and Arab circus artists for the children of al-Darb al-Ahmar arts school.
Italian as a friend
“A language as a friend: our Italian language and the one others use” was the theme of the 10th week of the Italian language and culture in the world, an initiative for the diffusion of the Italian language abroad under the auspices of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. The week focused on Italian as seen by others, those who choose to write in Italian even if they’re not Italian: the migrant writer or the writer born in Italy to immigrant parents. The programme included a diversified range of events: theatre, music, cinema, literature and the arts.
24 hours of French
The French TV channel “France 24”, which broadcasts 24 hours a day, has been officially launched in Cairo. The launching ceremony was held at the French embassy in Cairo. “We are proud of the multilingual France 24,” Christine Ockrent, the executive general manager said. “It is an independent channel founded three years ago and broadcasted in three languages: French, English, and Arabic. The Arabic broadcast started with four hours daily but is now up to 10. Special effort and care were given to the Arabic broadcast because most Arab countries have direct relations with France.” said Ockrent. She said the launching was celebrated in Cairo and Casablanca, but the broadcast takes place from Egypt. “Among international TV channels,” she said, “viewers will find we have our own special character. Some 60 competent correspondents in 35 countries provide balanced news coverage, and we offer talk shows, host celebrities, artists, intellectuals and celebrity chefs.”
France 24, which was founded in 2008, broadcasts in 180 countries and reaches more than 125 million households.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, the British Council in Cairo last month held workshops for some 450 English teachers on teaching English language, using the Internet, in four Upper Egypt towns: Aswan, Hurghada, Luxor and Qena. The workshops are part of “English for the Future” programme which aims at improving the skills of English teachers in Egypt and the Arab region, and training them to make use of the new-age electronic tools at hand. This is the second time such training is held; the first involved 950 teachers as well as students of faculties of education from the governorates of Assuit, Aswan, Beni Sweif, Luxor, Minya, Qena, the Red Sea and Sohag.
The graduation ceremony of 31 Afghan practicing midwives from all around Afghanistan was recently held in Alexandria. On hand to congratulate the graduates were the USAID Director in Egypt James Bever and Hassan Sallam, Director of the Suzanne Mubarak Regional Centre for Women’s Health and Development. The training programme focused on the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to provide care to women throughout their pregnancy cycle with the ultimate goal of ensuring and achieving safe motherhood. The participants were trained on a variety of topics related to safe motherhood including the performance of physical assessments and antenatal history; identification of health risk factors during pregnancy; application of basic principles of health education and counseling; provision of nursing care during labour and delivery; provision of care in case post-partum complications occur; and care of the newborn. Training topics also included providing counseling and health education on breastfeeding and contraceptive measures as well as providing basic principles of infection control.
Cultural heritage in Siwa
“Siwa and Tangier: a Heritage for a Better Life”, a project funded by the European Union within the Euromed Heritage programme, will introduce students from five primary schools in the Siwa oasis in Egypt’s Western Desert to their heritage. The programme, which started 30 October, runs till the end of the school year 2010/2011. The programme presents the heritage of Siwa to students aged 10 to 12 in an exciting and interactive way, including three thematic field visits to historical sites, water springs, cultivation sites and other important heritage sites. The programme will involve two schoolteachers and the headmaster of each school, a guide from the Antiquities Department and local storytellers. Students will be asked to research the mentioned themes, involving their parents and relatives.
This activity will produce some materials to create a collective board game: “the game of the goose”. The game will ask the players questions about the history of the architecture, traditions, and characters within the oasis. The question cards will be created with the participation of the students during workshops and the field visits.
The programme was designed by the SCDEC (Siwa Community Development and Environmental Conservation), COSPE (Cooperazione per lo Sviluppo dei Paesi Emergenti) and the association al-Boughaz in Tangier, Morocco. The methodology of implementation was discussed with and endorsed by the Ministry of Education. The action builds around creating effective management tools for sustainable protection of the tangible and intangible heritage in Tangier and Siwa by fostering community participation.
With the aim of fighting hunger and raising the abilities of schoolchildren in needy communities in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Assiut, Star Care—an NGO established in 2008 by Mercedes Benz in Egypt—is joining the World Food Program (WFP) in providing daily morning meals to the schoolchildren. The children’s families will also be given monthly quotas of rice, as an incentive to keep their children in school. Some 2000 children in 80 community schools in Manfalout, Assiut, are expected to benefit from the project, as well as some 10,000 family members who will make use of the rice quotas.