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Pack of CardsBy Madame Sosostris
* I am sure, my darlings, that, like me, you find our very own penseur and political analyst Mohamed Sid-Ahmed's articles, which appear regularly in the Weekly, extremely interesting and informative. Personally, I never fail to go over every line he writes quite thoroughly. Well, on Tuesday, Sid-Ahmed's erudition and eloquence was recognised once more, this time by the Legal Research and Resource Centre for Human Rights, during a moving ceremony which took place at the Shepheard's Hotel. The centre wanted to recognise in Sid-Ahmed's work half a century of dedication to the betterment of human relations and understanding.
Esmat Abdel-Meguid, secretary-general of the Arab League, unable to attend, deputised one of the League's ambassadors to speak in his name. Nuri Abdel-Razzaq, secretary-general of the Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity Organisation (AAPSO) and an old and close friend of Sid-Ahmed introduced a personal note in the more official discourse.-
Amir Salem, the director of the centre, spoke a few words in the name of his organisation and was followed by prominent columnist Kamel Zoheiri, former head of the Press Syndicate and director of the Greater Cairo Library, who discussed "Mohamed Sid-Ahmed, the writer and journalist". Then came Aleieddin Hilal, dean of the Faculty of Economy and Political Science at Cairo University, with a talk entitled "Mohamed Sid-Ahmed and the Peace Settlement", followed by Nabil Abdel-Fattah, head of the social studies unit at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, who analysed Sid-Ahmed's thoughts on globalisation while Fakhri Labib, managing editor of Al-Tadamoun, concluded by imparting his intimate knowledge of Sid-Ahmed's political activism.
We at the Weekly are happy and proud to join our voices to those of the numerous friends who praised him and wish to congratulate our distinguished contributor on the occasion.
* Darlings, you know how we at Al-Ahram Weekly get excited about architecture, the preservation of ancient monuments and all the fascinating topics which have to do with urban planning. This is why I thought I should share a little bit of wonderful news. This year, architecture students from Misr International University (MIU) joined in an international competition titled "Urban Housing of the 21st Century" organised by the International Union of Architects (IUA) and UNESCO. More than 480 project proposals were submitted from schools of architecture the world over. Two groups of third-year students at MIU won fifth and 17th prize respectively for their distinguished projects. The fifth prize was shared by Ahmed Ibrahim El-Khodari, Mohamed Essameddin Said, Mustafa Zakariya El-Attal, Sherif Hosni Hassanein and Tareq Ossama Hassanein, while the 17th went to Heba Mohamed El-Begawi, Ibrahim Ayman Abdel-Fattah, Mohamed Medhat El-Abd and Sherine Samuel Moussa. Professors Ashraf Salama and Youhansen Eid supervised the projects, and what is interesting is that these are not just product-oriented tasks but, rather, emphasise the process of working with people, talking to them to find out what their needs are in other words being exposed to the city and gaining hands-on experience.
The prizes will be awarded during the IUA congress, to be held in Beijing in June, where the students will be representing their universities.
* Everyone cannot be architecturally minded, of course, dears, and for those of you who prefer brawn to brain, the Italian artist Ottorino Mancioli has put on display 60 paintings recounting the history of 50 years of sports at the Akhnaton Gallery in Zamalek. The paintings show a number of sportive activities such as fencing, running, parachuting, jumping hurdles and playing tennis. The artist has concentrated mainly on the work of muscles in activity. Well, dears, if you are going to visit this unusual exhibition, please hurry since it will only last till 27 May.
* I always wonder why teenagers are accused of selfishness and lack of feelings for others. I find some of them quite ready to volunteer their time and skills to a good cause. Listen to this, for instance: last Friday, the American University in Cairo's Volunteers in Action organisation (VIA) invited 30 children picked from two orphanages, Dar Ali Ibn Abi Taleb and Gam'iyyat Awladi, to the university's Greek Campus, where they took part in a competition to enhance their computer skills.
According to VIA's Mohamed Diab, the organisation had offered computers to the two orphanages and the children had been given training during 1998. Now was the time to test their new knowledge. There were other, more traditional, competitions of course, such as painting and quizzes in general knowledge. Ramsis, the famous caricaturist, penned the portraits of the 30 children and professor Dina Rateb from AUC presided over the award giving, which was followed by a hearty breakfast. This little celebration was aimed at promoting the VIA's main project which is to provide, through fund raising, an apartment for every orphan when he/she grows up and leaves the orphanage.
* The Committee for the Development of Services in Doqqi and Mohandessin, an offshoot of the Central Committee for the Preservation of the Environment, was also distributing prizes last week, under the auspices of Minister of Environment Nadia Makram Ebeid. The topic the children were to consider was entitled "microbes and how you imagine them". I bet some of the entries must have been quite interesting. I do hope, however, that the children will not develop nightmares and be visited in their dreams by creepy crawly little creatures. Someone should tell them that a few microbes here and there will not do them mortal harm.