Italy at the Cairo International Book Fair
Italian participation at this year’s Cairo International Book Fair was devoted to literature and its ties with cinema. This year’s fair, the 44th annual event, held in Cairo from 23 January to 9 February, attracted entrants from more than 50 nations with a heavy presence from the Arab World. Together with the presentation of the most recent translations into Arabic of important classics in Italian literature, including I Malavoglia by Giovanni Verga, Cristo si è fermato ad Eboli by Carlo Levi and Cronaca familiare by Vasco Pratolini, translations of well-known living authors were on hand. Among these were La lunga vita di Marianna Ucrìa by Dacia Maraini, Lo spazio bianco by Valeria Parrella and Io non ho paura by Nicolò Ammaniti. Also included in the Italian presentation were screenings of films by Franco Rosi, Roberto Faenza and Francesca Comencini.
An important event took place on Tuesday 22 January with the opening at the Italian Cultural Institute of a watercolour exhibition by Franco Cajani inspired by Dante’s Divina Commedia. Alessandro Quasimodo, the son of Nobel prize-winner Salvatore Quasimodo, read passages from the Divine Comedy, joined by students from Cairo University’s Italian department. The Italian participation came within the framework of a project to relaunch Italian books and literature for young people.
India supports Egypt’s economy
In a press conference held on 23 January, the Indian Ambassador Navdeep Suri spoke about the necessity of supporting Egypt’s economy during this critical period. India, he said, was one of the first countries to invest in Egypt post-25 January 2011 Revolution. Mr Suri said that 25 Indian companies were investing in Egypt, operating in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Ismailiya. These companies provided direct jobs for Egyptians, and the amount of trade between the two countries exceeded USD2.5 million last year.
“Egyptian officials have to attract more and more Indian investments and propagate the investment loan facilitated by the Egyptian government,” Mr Suri said. “Indian businessmen are the best ambassadors for India in Egypt.”
He also announced the launch next September and October of an event related to Indian cinema as India celebrates the centenary of its first film production. The festival will be called: “India on the banks of the Nile”.
Did you sense the spirit of Gandhi in Tahrir Square?”
The Embassy of India in Cairo has held an exhibition at the Cairo Opera House of various posters received by the embassy during the Gandhi contest entitled, “Did you sense Gandhi’s spirit in Tahrir Square?” Launched on 2 October 2012, as India celebrated Ghandi’s birthday, the contest included participants from India, Egypt and several other African countries. The jury had received 84 artworks in the adults department, and 37 from children.
The exhibition was opened by the Egyptian Minister of Culture, Mohamed Saber Arab, and the Indian Ambassador, Navdeep Suri. The popular Egyptian actor Khaled al-Nabawi was a guest of honour and gave a speech during the prize giving. The poster contest, Mr Suri said, was India’s way of saluting the Gandhian spirit of the Tahrir Square revolutionaries.
World Hindi Day
The Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC), Embassy of India, Cairo celebrated the Vishwa Hindi Diwas or World Hindi Day on 14 January 2013. Hindi, the official language of the Republic of India, is spoken by a majority of Indians and is among the most widely spoken languages in the world. With the popularity of Indian, particularly Hindi films, Hindi has become a familiar language to many non-Indians.
The programme of the day included speeches in Hindi, recitation of Hindi poetry and rendering of Hindi songs and Indian dance.
Women’s health in Islam
In the name of piety and the misconceptions of religion, many women in the MENA region fall victim to practices that degrade their humanity and profoundly affect their physical and psychological wellbeing – sometimes to a degree beyond repair.
The World Health Organisation offices hosted Al-Azhar University in a recent collaborative consultative seminar under the title “Women’s health in Islam: addressing harmful traditional practices”.
Health experts along with religious figures from the international Islamic centre for population studies and research at Al-Azhar University went over the current situation, including the various traditions affecting women’s health and laid the foundation for improvements in the near future.
Alaa Alwan, WHO Regional Director for Eastern Mediterranean, stressed that, according to the statistics releases by the WHO, Egypt was among the countries that topped the list in female genital mutilation; 91 per cent of girls are subjected to this practice and, most shockingly, 31.9 per cent of the procedures are performed by educated medical professionals who are aware of the consequences.
These efforts aim to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, where ten countries in the region are still at risk of falling behind by the end of the specified period, targeted for the end of 2015.
In addition to female genital mutilation, the panel discussed the problems of early marriage and child bearing, which is still deeply rooted in the community. It was highlighted that for females between the ages of 14 and 19 years of age, the leading cause of mortality is pregnancy and birth complications because they are so young and lack of adequate medical care.
For the sake of human rights
The Canadian Embassy in Egypt has organised an advanced two day training course on human rights for Egyptian journalists. The course was sponsored by JHR (Journalists for Human Rights) an international media development non-governmental organisation whose goal is “to make everyone in the world fully aware of their rights”. The course was lectured by Kathryn Sheppard Head of International Programs, and Alen Bonny
Women of New Egypt
The fifth photography competition organised by the European Union’s delegation to Egypt concluded on Thursday with an awards ceremony for the top 12 photographs, attended by the head of the delegation, Ambassador James Moran. The theme for this year was the role of women in Egypt and the title of the exhibition was Women of New Egypt.
The ambassador presented the photographers with certificates while the top three images won prizes ranging from 1,000 Euros in cash for first place, a digital SLR camera for the runner-up, and an honourable mention for the third-placed photograph.
A new award titled the Mohamed Hassan award was created this year, in the memory of one of the winners of the first EU photography competition in Egypt. The award was presented for the photo with the best “journalistic skills.”
The remainder of the 30 photographs will be shown on the delegation’s website and will be exhibited around the city throughout this month.
The pictures focused on women’s roles in rebuilding Egypt and most took a special interest in the revolution and numerous protests that took place over the last two years. One of the images featured a woman, dressed colourfully, against a sea of central security forces, taken during the 18 days of the revolution.
Others like Marwa Morgan’s “Optimistic” featured a female friend and inspiration of the photographer, holding her hand up with the word “optimistic” and a smile drawn on it.
The images were said to have been judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit, with personal vision being taken into account by the jury, which included photography experts.
From teaching children to leading protests and screaming in anger over the revolution’s martyrs, the photographs captured the different roles women play in the changing Egyptian landscape. Though most images focused on the revolution itself, others displayed a different kind of impact that lies outside the political scene. Where some photographs focused on feminist concerns, others struck a more general, nationalist chord contributing to a diverse exhibition.
The land in our hands
“The Land in our hands” was the theme title of an exhibition inaugurated by Egypt’s Minister of Scientific Research, Nadia Zakhary, jointly with the French ambassador in Cairo, Nicolas Galey, on 12 January, in the new Children’s Museum, Heliopolis, Cairo.
The exhibition, organised by the French centre of scientific culture and industrial technology in both the French and Arabic languages, will move to various governorates in Egypt: Ismailia, Wadi al-Gadid, Sohag, Alexandria and Tanta, until next June.
Through highlighting different experiments, the exhibition targets young people on scientific research for the benefit of sustainable development.
The exhibition focuses on three main topics: living with climate change; consumption and production in future; and management of resources in a responsible way.
This exhibition is among the ongoing scientific activities within the framework of the French-Egyptian year for Science and Technology, which began in 2010.
“Eunostos” was the theme title of an exhibition of the latest work of the Greek artist Sofia Datseri held at al-Hanager Arts Centre at the Cairo Opera House under the auspices of the Greek Embassy in Cairo and the patronage of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Egypt, the Cultural Development Fund and the Greek Cultural Centre in Cairo. The exhibition was inaugurated by the Greek ambassador to Cairo Chris Lazaris.
Eunostos is the return to a world full of archetypes and symbols, genuinely Greek and Mediterranean, a happy return back to the roots.
Datseri was born in Ierapetra, Crete, in 1971. After her history studies at the Ionian University, Datseri continued painting, working with various artists in her home town of Ierapetra. Since 2000 she has been painting, holding and participating in several exhibitions.
6 February 2013