Diplomatic briefs

13-01-2014 08:00 PM

Mary Fikry- Antoun Milad

In cooperation with the Indian Embassy in Cairo, the Social Fund for Development (SFD) has held an exhibition at India House in Cairo where heritage crafts and pieces were on sale at competitive prices. The exhibition, entitled “Our Heritage”, is part of the SFD strategy to support small enterprises and provide marketing and promotional services to distinguished projects.

Visitors were treated to a collection of diverse heritage products and handicrafts at competitive prices. Nine NGOs and more than 45 enterprises for Egyptian handcraft products participated. There were carpets, kilims, handwoven rugs and handbags, Siwa products, candles, telli (a typical fabric used for shawls and elegat dresses by Upper Egypt women), lampshades, woodwork from Hegaza, leather products, jewellery, sand paintings, earthenware, copper items, Akhmim linen fabrics, seashell and bamboo items.
The SDF is keen to promote Egyptian handicrafts not out of concern for preserving the heritage, but also to enhance a manufacturing sector geared for small and medium enterprises and battling unemployment. 
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) had signed a tripartite MOU with Social Fund and the World Bank under which SIDBI and its associates provide consultancy for three year period to SFD and establish credit guarantee system for micro, small and medium enterprises in Egypt. India has established itself as one of the leading countries in the field of SMEs.
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Stolen antiquities back
Egypt has received from France five pieces of antiquity that had been stolen and smuggled out of the country during the wave of lawlessness that had prevailed in Egypt the wake of the 25 January revolution.
“We have been monitoring sites that sell cultural property of countries of civilizations to see if they came out of Egypt in legitimate ways or were stolen and smuggled,” the Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said.
Two of the pieces were displayed in an auction in Toulouse and the other three in a bazaar. They date back to the Ptolemaic era in the 3rd century BC.
The pieces were taken to the Egyptian Museum for restoration.
Ali Ahmed, director of the Repatriation Department, said the first piece is of a head carved in glass, the second features part of a chest and the third features a full arm. They were discovered by the French mission in East Qantara by the Suez Canal in 2010.
The Antiquities Ministry has succeeded in recently recovering several antiquity artefacts from the United Kingdom and Germany, in addition to more than 90 pieces that were displayed in an auction hall in Jerusalem.
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Indo-Islamic architecture
The Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) has recently hosted a photography exhibition on “Facets of Indo-Islamic Architecture” by Muhammad al-Deeb. The exhibition included a selection of photographs from a variety of different Islamic monuments in India, including the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort and the Charminar in Hyderabad. 
Indo-Islamic architecture encompasses a wide range of styles from various backgrounds that helped shape the architecture in the Indian subcontinent upon the advent of Islam in the 7th century. The Mughal Empire, an empire that ruled India from 1526 to 1764 left a mark on Indian architecture that was a mix of Arab, Persian, Turkish and native Indian architecture. A major aspect of Mughal architecture is the symmetrical nature of buildings and courtyards.  The most important symbol of Indo-Islamic architecture in India is the tomb or the mausoleum, which evolved from the basic cube and hemisphere of the early phase into a more detailed form during the Mughal period. The tomb chamber houses the cenotaph below, which is the grave. The most famous example of a tomb in India is the Taj Mahal.
Dr Deeb is an orthopedic surgeon and passionate photographer, with numerous exhibitions to his credit. He is the General Secretary of the Egyptian Salon of Photography and member of various Societies of Photography, including the Royal British Society and the Saudi Photography Society. 
Glimpses of India
Prizes of the 2013 painting competition on “Glimpses of India” have been handed to 100 Egyptian school children aged 6 – 18 years by the Indian ambassador to Cairo Navdeep Suri.
To commemorate Mahatma Gandhi, father of the nation, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, independent India’s first Education Minister, the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) has been conducting a painting competition for Egyptian school children on “Glimpses of India” in November every year in cooperation with the Ministry of Education of ARE. This year, around 1800 children in the age groups from 6-18 years including children with special needs from 437 government, private and national institutes in Cairo and Giza governorates participated in the competition. The winning works were printed in a special catalogue and distributed with the prizes. 
Watani International
13 January 2014
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