27 April - 3 May 2000
Issue No. 479
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Pack of CardsBy Madame Sosostris
* The Faculty of Mass Communications was celebrating its silver jubilee last week, and a festive event it was in the domed hall of Cairo University. The distinguished guests marched down the main alley, lined for the occasion with torch bearers. There were so many very important members of the media who received awards that by the end of the ceremony my arms were acheing from too much clapping: Safwat El-Sherif, minister of information; Mufid Shehab, minister of higher education and scientific research; Aleyeddin Hilal, minister of youth and sports; Mustafa Kamal Helmi, head of the Shura Council and head of the Supreme Press Council; our very own Chairman of the Board and Editor-in-Chief of Al-Ahram Ibrahim Nafie, in his capacity as head of the Egyptian Press Syndicate and Arab Press Federation; Abdel-Malek Ouda, professor of political science; senior journalists Ibrahim Se'da and Makram Mohamed Ahmed; radio and TV personalities Soheir El-Etrebi, Saad Labib and Amin Bassiouni... The younger generation of press luminaries were not forgotten, of course, and awards were handed to Amr Abdel-Sami', director of Al-Ahram's bureau in Washington; Osama Saraya, editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram Al-Arabi weekly magazine; and Emadeddin Adib, editor-in-chief of the economic daily newspaper Al-Alam Al-Youm.
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* I was privileged to attend another very interesting event at the Artillery Club: the ceremony crowning this year's literary competition, organised jointly by Al-Ahram and the Morale Affairs Department of the Armed Forces, in the framework of the protocol of cultural cooperation signed by Al-Ahram Organisation and the Armed Forces.
There were a total of 14,000 entries in the three categories of short story, children's story and classical poetry, which yielded 30 winners, 10 in each category. The prizes were handed out by Assistant to the Defence Minister Major-general Mansour Ayed and Major-general Ahmed Anis, head of the Morale Affairs Department. I noted the great number of prominent academics, writers, poets and journalists in the crowd, among them Hamed Ammar, Osama Anwar Okasha, Bahaa Taher, Sekina Fouad and Gamal El-Ghitani.
Colonel Tareq El-Hariri, editor-in-chief of Al-Nasr monthly magazine, was very pleased to announce that the Head of the Culture Palaces, Ali Abu Shadi, was offering all the publications of his organisation to the winners, while Head of Egyptian Broadcast Hamdi El-Kunayessi promised that the winning entries will be adapted and broadcast on the radio. As you can see, dears, talent is given a fair chance to shine.
* Aren't all these photography exhibitions devoted to celebrating the Egyptian landscape wonderful, dears? For someone who has been collecting old photographs and postcards of the 19th and early 20th centuries, I am not ashamed to tell you that I am green with envy at the thought of the wealth of material our descendants will be finding a hundred years from now. I was reflecting on a plan I have to leave some misleading information here and there to complicate the task of historians when I received the invitation to attend on 2 May, a photography exhibition entitled "Lights and Shadows: Upper Egypt 2000" by Jeni Costea, wife of the Romanian Ambassador to Egypt at Al-Hanager Art Centre, Cairo Opera House. It will be inaugurated by Director of the Giza Plateau Zahi Hawwas and Croatian Ambassador to Egypt Drago Stambuk, who is, as you may know, a renowned poet and art critic. Stambuk will be speaking at the opening ceremony.
The exhibition, lasting until 8 May, will include 70 colour photos and 18 textile panels on which images from Upper Egypt are printed. The photos were taken in January 2000, at Abydos, Dendera, Karnak, Luxor, Edfu, Kom Ombo, Aswan, Philae, Kalabsha and Abu Simbel.
Costea is an architect whose passion for photography was born in Kuwait, leading to an exhibition of work on Kuwaiti mosques in 1995. It was the first of its kind.
* With summer upon us the American University in Cairo is staging its last theatre event of the season, "The Road to Salvation," a play by Saad El-Din Wahba directed by AUC brilliant drama professor Mahmoud El-Lozy at the Wallace Theatre. There will be several performances but if I were you and really do not want to miss it altogether, I would start reserving tickets now and I mean now dears, knowing how packed such a performance will be.
* AUC is also organising a concert featuring the musical compositions of Visiting Professor and Dean Emeritus of the Crane School of Music Robert Washburn, performed by the Cairo Choral Society, The Osiris Singers,The New International Bass Quintet and other instrumental ensembles, this event will only take place once, on 4 May at Ewart Hall.
* And if you want to see an exhibition with a difference on that very same day, why not take time to attend Amir Wahib's vernissage at Extra Gallery. If you do miss the opening however, there is plenty of time to see it on regular days until 27 May.
* Did you know dears that the AUC students receiving the three-year-old Mohamed Salmawy Award for writing the best plays were Ramzi Lehner who won first prize with El-'Elba (The Box), Mustafa Hashish who was awarded second prize with "The School of Hope" while the third prize went to "The Moving Chair" by Hala El-Qusi. Congratulation to all, who thanks to our dear friend and renowned playwright (among other things) Mohamed Salmawy have had a chance to see their works performed in front of a vast and informed public.
* Coming our way from Spain (well almost), on 4 May, a lecture by Cairo University professor Ahmed Mursi will be delivered at the Spanish Cultural Centre. Mursi, adviser to the minister of culture since 1996, will talk about one of his 13 books: Popular Literature and the Society Culture. He is a pioneer on the subject of local folklore, having founded the Culture Ministry-run Institute of Folklore in 1981. Mursi, who headed the Egyptian Institute of Islamic Studies in Madrid for many years, was granted a State Incentive award in 1985 and the Spanish Civil Order of Merit in 1991.
* More arts, from our Italian cousins this time, with Licia Martini's exhibition held at the Italian Cultural Centre in Zamalek from 4 to 18 May. The exhibition, whose theme is emotions, is done in pastels. I am sure it will be very pretty. Martini, a member of the Cairo Art Guild, has had her works displayed at the Cairo Opera House, the International Cairo Cultural Centre and the Spanish Culture Centre.
* This evening, if you live in Alexandria, you should be able to attend quite an interesting event that will tickle your palate to no end: a special Indian night at the Montazah Sheraton, Alexandria. The event will be inaugurated by the Indian Ambassador to Cairo S S Mukherjee. There will be an Indian food buffet prepared by executive chef Ravi Wason as well as entertainment with Indian music.
* Finally something to look forward for next week: At AUC Sony Gallery, "Cairo and the Mamluks", an exhibition of photographs by Christian Langtvet a Canadian photographer who used 19th century equipment and techniques to produce these unusual images of 14th century architecture.