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Diplomatic briefs

Mary Fikry- Antoun Milad

10 Nov 2013 10:24 pm


Leiden collection at the Bibliotheca
To mark 400 years of Arabic and Islamic studies in the Netherlands, a stunning collection of Islamic books was put on recent display at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina,

loaned from the famous Leiden collection. Ambassador Gerard Steeghs was on hand to open the exhibition which went under the title “The Art of the Islamic Book from Leiden Collections – Eastern Beauty in Reproductions” and ran for three weeks last month.
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Faces and features
The Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) held a recent an exhibition of “Faces and Features: Caricatures of Indian and Egyptian personalities” by the Egyptian Caricature Society. The exhibition included cartoons of prominent Indian and Egyptian figures in politics, art, literature, and cinema. Among them were Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Naguib Mahfouz, Youssef Chahine, and Omar Sharif.
The exhibition, which was opened by the First Undersecretary in the Ministry of Culture, Ms Camelia Sobhi, and the Ambassador of India to Cairo, Mr Navdeep Suri. The pioneering caricaturist and President of the Caricature Society in Egypt, Ahmed Toghan, addressed the attendants.
Both India and Egypt have a rich history of caricatures and cartoons, and the exhibition is the first of a series of steps to deepen the cooperation in the field of caricature art between India and Egypt.
The exhibition runs till 14 November.
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Verdi’s grandson in Cairo
The celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Cairo Opera House coincided with the bicentenary of the birth of Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. To mark the occasion, Angelo Carrara Verdi, the grandson of the great musician, was on a visit to Cairo. In a press conference held by the Italian embassy in Cairo jointly with the Italian Cultural Institute and the Cairo Opera House, Verdi’s grandson said he had “inherited Egypt’s love” from his grandfather who was inspired by the glory of ancient Egyptian. He said that Verdi’s house was furnished with several items in the Pharaonic style.
The Cairo Opera House presented three concerts which were graced by Italian and Bulgarian sopranos who performed with the Cairo Opera Company and the Cairo Opera Ballet.
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Supporting small-scale farmers
A ministerial level meeting has been held to reaffirm political commitment towards the development of a national strategy benefiting small scale farmers and to review progress achieved to date in the implementation of the Support to Rural Development Programme (SRDP), an EU-funded pilot project currently being implemented in Fayoum and Minya governorates. 
Agriculture Minister Ayman Abou Hadid convened the meeting jointly with EU Head of Delegation, Ambassador James Moran. Also participating were Mohamed Abdel Mutaleb, Minister of Water Resources & Irrigation, Laila Iskandar, Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, along with General Salah Zeyada, Governor of Minya and Hazem Attiya, Governor of Fayoum. 
The pilot project assesses a set of interventions which work to improve the income and quality of life of farmers holding less than three feddans, in six villages of Fayoum and Minya. The implementation of these interventions is directly linked to each community’s commitment to observe an agreed set of environmental protection measures.
The conditional incentive approach is being implemented by seven grant recipients working with local communities over a period of 24 months which began in June 2013 under the guidance of the Union of Producers and Exporters of Horticultural Crops (UPEHC), the implementing agency within the Ministry of Agriculture. A comprehensive base line study is being carried out to enable assessment – by the end of the project’s duration – of the impact of these interventions on the farmers and their communities, along with improvement in the management of natural resources.
The overall budget for the SRDP pilot is 10 million Euros fully funded by the EU through the European Neighborhood & Partnership Instrument (ENPI). 
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Italy celebrates poets
On Sunday 3 November the Italian Cultural Institute in Cairo inaugurated the first round of the international festival for poetry, called Kalam le-l Shabab (Words of Youth). The festival is the culmination of a project of the same name that is funded by the institute and the European Union and took place throughout the past year. The project supplied young people in Egypt with workshops on poetry, targeting those between the ages of 16 and 25.
The festival featured ten international and 50 Egyptian poets including Hassan Taleb and Ahmed Abdel-Moeti Hegazy. 
The festival featured a series of lectures and meetings with international poets.  Poetry enthusiasts were able to meet Valter Hugo Mae and Tibor Zalam and Dante Marianacci 
The second day of the festival included a Collective Writing workshop supervised by theatre director Salam Yousry, and at night a screening of poetry performances along with the music of Ayman Sidki.
On 5 November the festival relocated to Islamic Cairo where, in the charming, spacious medieval Islamic buildings young participants of the project presented readings of their work. The night of 6 November was entirely dedicated to the work of Persian poet Rumi at Sama Khana. 
The festival ended on Thursday 7 November at Darb1718 with an open discussion that featured a number of writers and poets and a concert by Shaware3na and Yusra al-Hawwari.
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Taekwondo celebrated 
The fourth annual round of taekwondo organised by the South Korea Embassy in Cairo jointly with the Egyptian Taekwondo Federation closed last week in Fayoum, 100km southwest Cairo. The round had started on 27 October with the participation of some 100 children and young men of different ages. Korean Ambassador Young-Soo Kim applauded the event, pointing out that Taekwondo was fast spreading in Egypt. Kim gave out certificates of appreciation for all participants. 
The culture and media attaché at the embassy announced that another round was being held in the southern town of Aswan and will last till 14 November, and another will start in Cairo on 17 November. 
Watani International
10 November 2013


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