Diplomatic briefs

04-11-2012 05:43 PM

Mary Fikry -Maged Samir -Antoun Milad

To commemorate the sacrifices and heroism of the Indian soldiers in the two battles of Alamein, a memorial service was organised by the Embassy of India, Cairo at the Indian To commemorate the sacrifices and heroism of the Indian soldiers in the two battles of Alamein, a memorial service was organised by the Embassy of India, Cairo at the Indian Memorial on 20 Oct 2012.  Mr Navdeep Suri, the Ambassador of India to Egypt and a number of senior diplomats and defence officials of friend countries placed wreaths at the memorial. The simple but solemn ceremony was a part of the 70th anniversary of the battle of Alamein celebrated at Alamein and memorialised the selfless service of the courageous Indian soldiers, thousands of kilometers away from their motherland.
The stellar role of the Indian soldiers in Alamein, Ambassador Suri said, was recognised by German Field Marshal Rommel himself. Suri drew attention to the book ‘North African Campaign 1940-1943’ by JKW Bingham and Warner Haupt which says that the capture of Ruweisat Ridge in a combined attack of the fifth Indian Division and New Zealand Division on 15 July 1942 was the turning point in the battle.
Almost 25,000 officers and men of the Indian army participated in the North African campaign, and over 3000 laid down their lives. The famous Battle of Alamein alone accounted for 800 of these. Suri pointed out that a majority of those martyred were still in their teens. They included Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims from different parts of the Indian subcontinent and the annual memorial service was meant to ensure that their sacrifices were not forgotten.
38 US-technology-equipped schools in Alexandria
US and Egyptian officials celebrated the development of 38 schools which participated in a US-sponsored project that equipped them with technology and digital resources, and delivered training to teachers, supervisors, and local administrators.
US Consul General in Alexandria Candace Putnam said, “The contributions of the Alexandria zxcdf.jpgGovernorate secretaries and the education directors are instrumental in the success of these schools. I am particularly impressed by their commitment to the sustainability of this programme by applying it to 90 more primary and preparatory schools in Alexandria.”
To date, over 94,000 students and 5500 teachers in Alexandria are impacted by the project, which is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).  The project also develops key public private partnerships to maximise sustainability and reach its goals to improve learning outcomes.  Alexandria is one of six governorates in Egypt where the project implements its Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership/Coca Cola Africa Foundation public private partnership.  This partnership has customised and integrated 150 Discovery Channel educational video segments into teacher lesson plans in primary schools.
fgfgf.jpgWho##s left of “The Italians of Egypt”?
On 22 October 2012, the Italian cultural centre screened the documentary “The Italians of Egypt”, directed by Sherif Fathi as part of celebrating the 12th round of the world Italian language week.
“The Italians of Egypt,” which is co-produced by Al-Jazeera Documentary, Fathi and his wife Ramona Di Marco’s company, Spot1 TV, is the result of two years of research undertaken by Fathi and Di Marco. Fathi previously also made two related documentaries: “The New Italians,” which focuses on the second generation of Egyptian migrants to Italy, and “The History of Sicilian Muslims.”
The 80-minute documentary tells the history of the Italian community, one of the most spread community in the Egyptian society and major contributors to modern Egypt. The film reviews the lives of seven Italians of Egypt; two of them are living now in Rome, one left Rome after retirement and went back to Alexandria, and the other four characters still live in Cairo and in Alexandria. The seven characters## testimonies tell the history of the Italian community in Egypt which reached its peak in the 1930s of the twentieth century until the advent of the World War II, marking the end of the oldest European community in Egypt.
From among these characters: architect and chief of Islamic Endowments Mario Rossi, who designed the famous al-Mursy Abu al-Abbas Mosque in Alexandria and the Omar Makram Mosque in Cairo. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti one of the prominent Italian poets and intellectuals lived in Egypt. Alvise Orfanelli, the pioneer of filming in Egypt, and taught many Egyptians in that field. He never stopped putting his utmost effort in that field until he died in Cairo.
The number of Italians in Egypt was over 80 thousand in Cairo and Alexandria until the 1920s. They participated effectively in the different sectors of the Egyptian community and were greatly welcomed and appreciated by Egyptians.
In “The Italians of Egypt,” Fathi reconstructs an intimate story of families, friendships and work when the cultures and destinies of the two countries seemed closely tied, and how political changes over the past 50 years have changed the lives of the migrants.
Besides the documentary, a series of seminars were held under the name of “10 Italians in Egypt – Characters honoured in Italy and Egypt”.                                       233423.jpg
The Mediterranean Film Festival in Cairo
Within the celebration of the 12th round of the world Italian language week, the Mediterranean Film Festival in Cairo was held on 23 and 24 October where a group of selected short films related to Middle East and North Africa were screened.
The festival presented a number of films made by filmmakers from the Mediterranean region. It focused on films from Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt; from among Egyptian films: “5 pounds” by Mohamed Abed and “The Pillars” by Mustafa Zakariya.
The festival started in 2003 as a small event but after nine years of intensive work and effort it became one of the biggest events that gather a lot of young filmmakers from all over the world. It is the only festival that presents films made on the same day. It is also considered the longest roaming festival (3.800 Km in 72 days) since it travels around most Italian cities. Throughout the last nine years, the age of the festival, it has hosted some 230 characters of national and international filmmakers who held seminars and workshops. These included Ken Loach, Giuseppe Tornatore and Giuliano Montaldo. 
Young Egyptians sing in Korean
On 21 October, the Korean Embassy in Cairo organised the Korean Song Festival for the second year in succession at Maadi Theatre. The attendants enjoyed listening to some of the most famous pop Korean songs by 15 Egyptian bands formed of Egyptian young people fond of Korean music and culture.
Korea’s ambassador to Cairo Kim Yung Su expressed his admiration of the exceptional performance of the Egyptian young people who sang so well in Korean. Su said that culture Young Egyptians sing.jpgwas the tool to get peoples closer and stressed the importance of cultural exchange between Korea and Egypt.
He then distributed the prizes and shields to the first four winners, as well as the encouragement prize and the audience prize.
Watani International
4 November 2012

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