3 - 9 June 1999
Issue No. 432
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Pack of CardsBy Madame Sosostris
* Some of our ministers are always on the run, but still manage to find time to attend special ceremonies organised in their honour. This is the case of our Minister of Foreign Affairs Amr Moussa, who recently received the Venezuelan Order of the Liberator in his office at the ministry. Ambassador Dario Bauder had to cut short the usual formalities and forgo the customary Embassy reception since our minister was about to catch a plane. These were replaced with a short speech in which he praised the role played by Egypt in promoting peace and stability and in fostering Arab-Latin American relationships.
I would not be in the least surprised to hear in the near future that Moussa is planning a tour of several Latin American countries, which could well take place in early August.
|* Another reception at another embassy was an altogether sadder affair. Of course you have guessed that I am referring to the feelings of the crowds who came to bid British Ambassador Sir David Bratherwick and his charming wife goodbye. Hundreds of guests queued up to shake hands with the outgoing ambassador and Lady Bratherwick. Ministers, diplomats, businessmen, members of the media, all tried to exchange a few words with the couple before they were forced by the throngs to move on. I think there were almost as many people as for the celebrations of the Queen's Birthday.|
|* It is not only Embassy receptions that are attracting the crowds. The other day I thought I would take myself to the annual Afro-Asian bazaar at the Marriott Hotel. The Aida Ballroom was absolutely packed, and I just managed to glimpse the wife of our prime minister, Mrs Karima El-Ganzouri, talking to Mrs Ohara, wife of the Japanese ambassador and organiser of the bazaar, before I discovered that I had been gently pushed and shoved by the numerous visitors so close to a tray of delicious canapés that I manged to polish them off before any one even noticed they were there.|
|* And if you are weary of all these purely social occasions, why not skip along to the Italian Cultural Institute, where you will be able to rest your eyes on rare photographs of Egypt and Italy? The views have been captured by the lenses of both amateurs and professionals. While I was viewing the items so artistically displayed on the walls, I suddenly espied the unmistakable style of our very own veteran photographer Antoune Albert. I am sure that you are quite familiar with Antoune's beautiful photographs, which have graced the pages of Al-Ahram for so many years, so I need say no more. Beautiful Egypt-Bella Italia was inaugurated at the end of last week by the undersecretary at the Ministry of Culture, Mohamed Ghoneim, in the presence of Ambassador of Italy Francesco Aloisi de Larderel. The exhibition will be on until 15 June, which gives you ample time to plan for a long visit.|
|* Guess who will be appearing in the International Who's Who of Professionals? My dear friend Mariam, daughter of our colleague Aziz Kirollos, has been selected from among many candidates for this honour. I know Mariam best for her sweet temper and kind disposition, but it is her professional achievements in anthropology and social sciences that have merited her inclusion in this exclusive century-old fraternity of outstanding young men and women. Although Mariam will be hobnobbing with her qualified and intelligent peers, I am sure she will not forget me. After all, I myself am a distinguished, albeit incognito, member of the club.|
|* Once more, under the auspices of Mrs Suzanne Mubarak, the Culture Palaces have organised a great festival in the framework of the National Reading for All Programme which will keep our younsters occupied for the summer. Mustafa El-Razzaz, head of the organisation, outlined this year's programme which will be supervised by Gamal Sadeq, head of the central administration for studies and research. Six more camps will be established, bringing their total number to 17, while the amount allocated for the purchase of new books will be doubled. Several workshops in creative writing, plastic arts, music, theatre and folklore.are being planned and the season will be crowned by a competition aimed at discovering new talents.|
|* Wedding bells were still ringing as the distinguished guests at Nadim and Inji's wedding stepped out of their cars at the Marriott Hotel last week. Nadim, the son of of businessman Antoine El-Shaer, looked quite dapper in his tuxedo while Inji, the daughter of engineer Maher Ramzi and Sonia Abadir, head national heritage preservation at UNESCO, was simply stunning. Guests came from all over Europe and the United States to wish the happy couple well.|