14 - 20 October 1999
Issue No. 451
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Pack of CardsBy Madame Sosostris
* Although I am confronted every day with clear proof that few women are as multi-talented as yours truly, from time to time, a star does shine more brightly than the others, and I feel compelled to point her out. This is the case of Wafaa Mussallam, the first woman in the history of the art faculties in Egypt to be appointed to the post of dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Minya. Mussallam, who is at present head of the faculty's interior decoration department, was singled out for this honour in view of her exceptional achievements. She is, incidentally, married to Ahmed Nawwar, head of the National Centre for Plastic Arts and of the Museums Sector at the Supreme Council for Antiquities, as well as the founder of the Minya Fine Arts Faculty. You have noticed, undoubtedly, that his name appears quite often on our pages. Mussallam also headed the Mahmoud Mukhtar Museum, which is affiliated to the Ministry of Culture, before occupying her new and most prestigious post.
* The Arab Women's Conference will be held soon under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, and I am quite sure that this is one event I shall not want to miss, since I have seen some of my favourite topics on the agenda. Among other important issues, the convention will study the women's liberation movement in the developing world and discuss various issues such as women's abuse, sexism and the marginalisation of women's role and contribution in different fields throughout Arab history. On the sidelines of the conference, motion pictures, documentary films and theatrical performances on related subjects will take place.
*Children are also receiving their fair share of attention this month, with the second workshop organised by the Suzanne Mubarak Culture Palace for children aged six to 15. The event, which will last from 27 to 29 October, will feature artistic activities based on environmental themes under the supervision of Nahed Hassan, who is in charge of environmental awareness at the department of environmental information and education, affiliated to the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA). According to Moussa Ibrahim, regional supervisor of the department, the two workshops have been so successful that he intends to organise an exhibition of their outcome during the coming celebrations of the Day of the Child.
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*This year, I have decided to heed the call of my alma mater. I received a colourful flyer inviting me to "be part of the action at AUC: Come experience the theatre, come hear the music, come see the art," it says and, having gone through their list of events, I just think that is exactly what I shall do.
For starters, I attended yesterday's opening of the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the English Public Lecture Series, which featured distinguished lawyer and philanthropist Rita Hauser, president of the Hauser Foundation. Her lecture was entitled Creating a Civil Society: International and Egyptian Perspectives. This is an event I was really happy to have attended, and I am certainly looking forward to more. For there is more to come: true to its word, the AUC will be regaling us not only with interesting conferences but with good music as well: in a few days, on 20 October to be precise, the Osiris Singers AUC Student Chamber Choir, under the able direction of my dear friend Larry P Catlin, will be performing selections from Grease and Kismet at the Ewart Hall. This will be followed, a week later, by a concert featuring the music of Ashraf Fouad with Valerie de Casas, soprano; Ivan Pavlov, violin; Tamara Polanskaya, cello; and Inna Javakhadze at the piano.
* Don't you think, darlings, that the last days of summer are the most romantic? Especially when your friends and relations are all still enjoying the night life in Agami and you can have a beach somewhere else all to yourself. Last week, I went to Al-Arish for a little rest and recreation and, apart from Al-Ahram photographer Adel Ahmed, whom I met quite by chance, there was almost no one on the beach. Adel kept gazing at the palm trees, a typical feature of Al-Arish, while I turned my attention towards the waves, so really we did not crowd each other in the least and were both able to enjoy the illusion of total solitude -- such a precious feeling in our over-populated, obstreperous world.
* All this intellectual activity did not prevent me from attending a lovely wedding around the Ramses Hilton swimming pool last week: my dear friend Wael Gadallah, marketing manager of Persil company and his new bride, gorgeous Marwa Mansour, insisted that I should share with them the joyous event and as the warm days are almost over, I decided that this may be my last chance to wear that stunning little number I was keeping for just such a happy occasion.