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Diplomatic briefs

Mary Fikry -Antoun Milad

24 May 2014 3:50 pm

Decreasing infection rates
More than 100 health professionals recently celebrated the completion of a five-year programme sponsored by the U.S and Egyptian governments to improve the performance of nurses in Egypt.

  The project strengthened the management and leadership skills of 780 nurses in Upper Egypt, who in turn trained more than 1,000 additional health care professionals.  As a result, infection rates decreased and clinical care realised life-saving improvements in Qena, Luxor, and Aswan.
“The improved leadership, management, and communication skills of nurses have led to measurable improvements in infection control, maternal and child health care, and service delivery,” said Dr Mary C. Ott, USAID Mission Director in Egypt.  “USAID is honoured to work with these nurses, who provide critical services every day.” 
Nurses play a central role in health service delivery, especially in remote areas where they are often the frontline providers of care.  From 2009-2014, USAID and the Ministry of Health and Population have partnered on this programme to build the management and leadership skills of young women nurses. Participants have said that the training greatly improved their ability to initiate solutions to obstacles and to interact with physicians and facility managers, which has improved the quality of the services they deliver to their patients.
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Stop harassment
The Swedish Institute in Alexandria is teaming up with regional and local partners to carry out a series of activities to help better understand the drawbacks of harassment. The main partner in this initiative is the National Council for Women in Egypt, with whom the institute is addressing recent efforts at new laws to combat sexual violence, as well the role of NGOs and civil society in combating this type of violence.
In cooperation with HarrassMap, Egypt, the institute will conduct a two days interactive workshop in Alexandria on examples of how to combat sexual harassment. The workshop will include a session by Walaa’ al-Hawari, a young Egyptian female biker who has written a book about her experiences biking in the busy streets of Cairo. Participants in this workshop are youth ranging in age from 18 to 35.
The institute will also organise a bike ride around the Cairo upscale suburb of Zamalek where the bikers will be asked to wear T-shirts, caps, and pins with the logo “Stop sexual harassment”, and a second bike ride on the Cornish, the main thoroughfare in Alexandria. The aim of the bike ride is to demonstrate the equal rights of citizens to safe public space free from harassment.
India by the Nile
The biggest foreign cultural festival after 2011, the 20-day long India by the Nile festival, was held in Egypt during the month of April. Jointly organised by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism and the Cairo Opera House, the India festival brought to Egypt some of the biggest names in Indian art and culture. It started in Cairo then moved to Alexandria, Luxor and Hurghada.
The festival opened with a dance workshop on 1 April then followed with Bollywood Love Story, a musical that features 35 Indian artists dancing and performing to the music of Indian cinema. Described as an international sensation, the musical received standing ovations and was performed all over the world, including Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Italy, China and Japan. Some of the diverse choreography includes different dancing styles such as Kathak from North India and Bharat Natyam from the South.
Mughlai cuisine was offered as part of the festival. Known for its richness of flavour, and originating in the imperial kitchens of the Mughal era, it is famous for using ground and whole spices, dried fruits and nuts.
One of the main themes was the celebration of successful women in both India and Egypt. To this end, feminist writer Urvashi Butalia was in conversation with her Egyptian counterpart Sahar El-Mougy.
“One of the things we’ve really learned from last year from the festival was that it’s not just about coming and doing a show and getting applause, but building enduring relationships between individuals,” said Indian Ambassador Navdeep Suri.
A five-day panorama of Indian film celebrated actress Shabana Azmi through screening her most successful films. Film critic Samir Farid was on hand to comment.
Other activities included a Kathak dance recital by Mariam Mehdi, a Sari exhibition to showcase Indian textiles with a workshop on Sari draping and an Indian folk music show by Rajasthan Josh, as well as an exhibition of the works of India’s famous cartoonists, Sudhir Tailang. 
Treating weapon wounds
A three-day seminar on surgical techniques for weapon-wounded patients was recently held in Cairo. The event was held jointly by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Curative and Critical Care Sector of the Ministry of Health and Population, and was attended by 40 doctors.
“We have some good and well-trained doctors, but when you work in emergency situations or amid violence other important skills are also needed,” Dr Hisham Atta, assistant minister of health said. “The aim of this workshop is to train doctors in these necessary skills.”
The event was organised by the ICRC delegation in Egypt as part of a series of seminars on treating weapon-related injuries and courses on emergency department and trauma services. Two senior ICRC surgeons ran the seminar, which included lectures and videos.
“The ICRC would like to share the considerable know-how it has acquired through long experience in treating patients with weapon-caused injuries,” said Marianne Gasser, who heads the ICRC delegation in Egypt. “The techniques will help Egyptian doctors deal with certain kinds of injuries they may face in their daily practice.”
The ICRC has been working in Egypt intermittently since 1914. Its primary activities focus on working closely with the Egyptian Red Crescent to boost its preparedness to respond to emergency humanitarian needs, especially in the field of first aid, and promoting the incorporation of IHL into domestic legislation, military training and academic curricula throughout the Arab world.
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Sari exhibition 
The Indian Embassy in Cairo has organised at the Mahmoud Mukhtar museum in Gezira, Cairo a Sari exhibition. It shed light on the forms of traditional and contemporary design of the Indian sari and the diverse natural materials and techniques that go in sari’s colour design. The exhibition was a tribute to the craftsmanship and skills of countless Indian spinners and weavers in seven of India’s states in the north, south, east and west of the country. The exhibits reflected both traditional and contemporary design interpretations, highlighting a diversity of natural materials and techniques, as well as an evolving aesthetic and colour story.
The exhibition also will showed photographs by Tarun Chhabra, a photographer famous for celebrating people, places and culture.
The sari, an unstitched draped garment with a fluid grace, goes back at least a thousand years in concept. It continues to be worn in India even today as it still captures the imagination of Indian women, with the sensuous pleasure of draping the unstitched garment over and around the body and adjusting it to suit one’s own particular form. 
Italian financing the North West Coast
Egypt has signed a grant agreement with Italy worth one million Euros, to finance the North West Coast Social and Economic Development Project 
The purpose of the project is to develop and improve agricultural resources and existing irrigation methods in Matrouh Governorate, some 300km west of Alexandria. Agricultural labourers will be trained to set up small businesses that depend primarily on olives and figs which are abundantly cultivated in that region.  This should help generate and increase incomes for farmers in general, and woman who provide for their families as well as youth in particular.  The Desert Research Center affiliated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR) has participated in overseeing and following up the execution of the project.
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Depicting Egypt
Celebrating French illustrator and artist Golo’s 40 years of work in Egypt, an exhibition in La Viennoise opened on 15 May to sizeable crowd. The exhibition celebrated the 40 years since Golo’s first visit to Egypt.
Along with Golo’s exhibition, the popular Egyptian comic, Tok Tok, launched its 11th edition featuring the artist’s work on its cover, and an essay on his life within its pages. 
Golo focuses on everyday life in all of his illustrations. His work features scenes from street life in Cairo, including unique characters, political commentary, reinterpretations of Egyptian history, and humorous visual gags.
The exhibition consisted of several rooms with different themes, such as Ancient Egypt. The work humorously depicted ancient Egyptians in modern Egyptian situations. In one piece, for example, an ancient Egyptian is pictured taking orders from clients at an ahwa, or coffee shop. Another reinterpreted a judgment scene from the ancient Egyptian funerary text, the Book of the Dead, through a modern lens.
Golo also tackles modern topics, with pieces illustrating former president Muhammad Mursi’s year in office and the dissatisfaction that led to his 3 July ouster. Prints, posters, notebooks, post cards, and mugs featuring the artist’s work were available for sale, as well as previous issues and posters of Tok Tok. The exhibition, a fascinating look at Egyptian life, runs till 31 May.
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WATANI International
23 May 2014 


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