11 - 17 November 1999
Issue No. 455
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Pack of CardsBy Madame Sosostris
* One of the things I enjoy most, dearies, is discussing politics with the younger generations. They have such fresh ideas about everything, and aren't as jaded and cynical as most people. That's why it will be with tremendous pleasure that I will be attending the tenth annual Cairo International Model Arab League hosted by the American University in Cairo next week. The Model will begin on Tuesday, with an opening speech to be delivered by Mustafa El-Fiqi, Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab and Middle East Affairs and Egypt's Permanent Representative at the League of Arab States, and continue for four intense days of dialogue and debate, with 300 students from around the globe participating. A fair share of those students will be from the AUC and other Egyptian schools, including Cairo University and Al-Azhar.
I was lucky to speak with the very busy Mohamed Eita, the Model's secretary-general, and his able assistant Sherif El-Sayad, about the preparations and details of the event. Eita, a mechanical engineering major, is very politically astute. He told me that the real Arab League (whose real Secretary-General Esmat Abdel-Meguid will be attending some of the sessions) opened its doors to the conference, facilitating participants' research, providing use of its libraries, as well as consulting on specific issues. The League also helped inform the organisers of the rules of conduct, and what Eita called the "finishing" touches.
This year's Model will feature a Mediterranean Arab Dialogue with such engaging topics as "The Perceptions and Alternatives Related to Dealing with Ethnic Groups in the Med-Arab Region, a Council of the Arab Ministers of Interior which will discuss ways to circumvent "Organised Crime in the Arab World" before it becomes a major problem, as well as an Arab League Reform Committee, and Arab-Arab Dialogue and an Arab Court of Justice. One of the most exciting features of any Model is always the Emergency Arab League Council, where an actual simulated day-to-day crisis will be presented to delegates, who will then have to deal with the events as they occur. Eita, of course, would not divulge this year's crisis, but it is sure to be an exciting learning opportunity for all those involved.
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* Syrian Ambassador Issa Darwish will be leaving us shortly, returning to Damascus after having completed 10 years of faithful services to his country during which he actively promoted good relations between Syria and Egypt. On 7 November, in an official ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was awarded the Egyptian Order of Merit First Class by Presidential Decree. Minister of Foreign Affairs Amr Moussa presided the ceremony and conferred the decoration. During Darwish's farewell visit at Al-Ahram, the chairman of Al-Ahram organisation and editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram newspaper, Ibrahim Nafie pointed to the excellence of Syro-Egyptian relations and gave credit to the ambassador for the important role he played in encouraging mutual recognition.
* Tomorrow at 6pm, Culture Minister Farouk Hosni and Cairo Governor Abdel-Rahim Shehata will inaugurate the first bienniale for Arab children's art at the Child Arts National Museum. The exhibition, under the auspices of Mrs Suzanne Mubarak, is organised by the Egyptian Centre for Design in cooperation with the Centre of Early Talents Improvement. The two-month exhibition, entitled "For an Arab Creative Child", includes works contributed by the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Kuwait and Algeria. On the sidelines will be conferences on children's creativity in the age of globalisation and on the improvement of the role of NGOs.
* Last Monday, the American University in Cairo Press and its director Mark Linz, held a three in one Book and Author Reception at their Zamalek bookstore, during which three of their most recent publications were launched: The Cairo of Naguib Mahfouz, photographed by Britta Le Va with a text from renowned writer Gamal El-Ghitani; Rural Labor Movements in Egypt and their Impact on the State , by James Toth and Fate of a Prisoner and other stories by Denys Johnson-Davies. As you can see, the AUC press was catering for the different moods of a demanding public. Le Va's book has interesting pictures of Al-Gamaliya where she follows with her lens the daily route of Mahfouz's famous Trilogy heroes, while Johnson-Davies, better known as an amazing translator of Arabic short stories, tries his hand this time at writing them. As for the Rural Labor Movement, it is more for those who want to dwell deeper and more seriously in the history of Egypt.