Diplomatic briefs

24-03-2013 09:36 PM

Mary Fikry - Antoun Milad

* Pyramids go green
* Learning initiative
* Women in Science
* Egyptian artichokes
* Jazz festival
* Consumer Rights Day
* Consumer Rights Day

Pyramids go green
The Giza Pyramids and Sphinx are the most important addition this year to Ireland##s ‘Global Greening’ initiative during which famous world landmarks turned green for St Patrick’s Day mid-March. The campaign has been running for several years and has generated extensive global interest, goodwill and publicity both for Ireland and the participating countries. 
Speaking at a reception in Giza overlooked by the green Pyramids, Ireland’s Ambassador to Egypt Isolde Moylan, said: “We are delighted to be co-operating with the Ministers of Tourism and Antiquities and the Misr Company for Sound, Light and Cinema on the Greening of the Pyramids initiative. While celebrating Ireland’s National Day, Ireland’s Presidency of the EU, and our friendship with Egypt and its great people, we also aim to ensure that the Greening of Egypt’s renowned Pyramids will serve as a reminder that Egypt remains a unique, fascinating and welcoming country for visitors”. 
The Global Greening 2013 campaign has seen over 50 iconic international landmarks across the globe illuminated in green. In addition to the Pyramids and Sphinx, they included the Temple of Hercules in Amman, the Burj al Arab in Dubai, the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls, the leaning tower of Pisa, Sydney Opera House, Table Mountain in South Africa, the iconic Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro and many more. 
Learning initiative
The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF), Discovery Channel Global EducationLearning initiative.jpeg Partnership (DCGEP), and the U.S. Government celebrated the success of their Learning Centre Initiative, implemented in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Education. Over 150,000 students and over 5700 teachers at 126 Egyptian schools participated in the project which has improved teacher performance and increased student enjoyment of school.
“As a result of this partnership, teachers are more interested and engaged in their work, and students have a more positive attitude towards learning,” said Lisa Franchett, Education Director at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). “The US and Egypt have a long history of cooperation in education and this is another example of our continuing commitment to quality education for all of Egypt’s children and youth.”
The partnership began in 2009 and provided schools in Beni Sweif, Alexandria, Fayoum, Minya, Aswan, and Qena with a package of computer hardware, educational software, and an educational video library that is aligned with Egypt’s school curriculum. Teachers were engaged in extensive training on student-centered teaching techniques, effective school and classroom management, and the use of video in furthering curriculum objectives. 
Women in Science
US Ambassador Anne Patterson recognised the outstanding contributions of Egyptian women Women in Science.jpgin science during reception held earlier this month and co-hosted by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the US Consulate General in Alexandria.  At the event, Ambassador Patterson inducted Alexandria University Professor Dr Bushra Salem into the State Department’s 2013 Women in Science Hall of Fame for the Middle East and North Africa.
Dr Salem is one of Egypt’s leading ecologists and an expert on sustainable development in arid lands. She co-founded Alexandria University’s Department of Environmental Sciences, where she teaches and manages a remote sensing laboratory. Her research applies advanced remote sensing and geographic information systems to wildlife and conservation, with a particular focus on Egypt’s northwest coast. Dr Salem is also involved in desert development through UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme, most recently working on a project to bring solar desalination technology to Bedouin communities in Egypt and 10 other countries.
“Across Egypt, women are doing groundbreaking work in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Ambassador Patterson. “Through this award, we acknowledge not only the remarkable contributions of our honoree, but we also hope to inspire younger generations of women and girls to pursue a life of intellectual challenge and discovery.”
Egyptian artichokes
Earlier this month, US Ambassador Anne Patterson met with artichoke farmers and workers of the Agrocorp company in Beheira to promote exports to the US through the QualifiedEgyptian artichokes.jpeg Industrial Zone (QIZ) program. 
“Egypt is the world’s third largest producer of artichokes, and this program has helped Agrocorp export USD5 million worth of artichokes to the US duty-free annually since 2008,” said the Ambassador.  “This provides both export dollars and over 1,500 permanent and seasonal jobs in the farms and canning factories in Beheira and Cairo.”
Products produced in a QIZ can enter the US duty free if they are completely or partially made in one of the QIZ areas, provided they have 10.5 per cent Israeli content and a total value-added of at least 35 per cent from Egypt, Israel, and/or the U.S.
Jazz festival
Jazz festival.jpegAfter four successful rounds, the international Cairo Jazz Festival ran its 5th round held for three days, from 21 to 23 March, with the contribution of Egypt and 16 other countries including France, Holland, Austria, USA, Morocco, Portugal, Germany, Japan, Bulgaria, England, Lithuania, Brazil, Canada and Lebanon. The event is sponsored by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, and the cultural centres and embassies of the participating countries. On the side of the festival, a number of educational activities aimed at spreading musical awareness and enabling young musicians to interact with professionals and exchange experiences were held. The festival organisers insisted that holding the festival during the political turbulence in Egypt was aimed to raise the spirits of the community and improve the reputation of Egyptian Tourism.
 Consumer Rights Day
The US Government and the Egyptian Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) have celebrated together World Consumer Rights Day.
“The US Government supports consumer protection initiatives that combat counterfeitConsumer Rights Day.jpeg products, promote fair competition, and attract foreign investment,” said William Butterfield, Senior Economic Advisor at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). “I applaud the efforts of the CPA in raising consumer awareness and assisting them to exercise their rights.”
The World Consumer Rights Day event gathered hundreds of participants, including government officials, representatives of political parties, NGOs, and civil society. Discussions focused on market control and regulation and initiatives to combat counterfeit products. 
In addition to consumer rights, the CPA focuses on regulating Egyptian markets, protecting trademarks, preventing counterfeit products, increasing fairness in competition, and attracting more foreign investment. 
On 15 March 1962 President John F Kennedy formally addressed the issue of consumer rights with the US Congress. He was the first world leader to do so, and the consumer movement now marks 15 March every year to raise global awareness of consumer rights and the crucial role that consumer protection plays in making societies safer and fairer.
Watani International 
24 March 2013
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