|Al-Ahram Weekly Online
7 - 13 February 2002
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Arab culture and the fairON THE fringe of the 34th Cairo International Book Fair, preparations are underway for the establishment of the Arab Council for Children's Books headed by Mrs Suzanne Mubarak. Culture officials from various Arab countries met to establish the objectives and bylaws of the council.
Among the institutions involved are the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALESCO), the director- general of which, Mongi Bousnina, has announced the launching of the Reading for All project in all Arab countries. Inspired by the annual Reading for All Egyptian summer festival patronised by Mrs Mubarak, the project hopes to extend the celebration of books and reading to younger generations around the Arab world.
Electronic publishingTHE LIBRARY of Alexandria has issued its first series of CDs as part of its electronic publishing project. The project, library director Ismail Serageddin explained, aims to keep up with technological advancement as well as promote Arab-Muslim heritage worldwide. The user-friendly CDs issued so far include Al-Busairi's poem Al-Burda, Salama Ibn Gandal's diwan and Al-Guwaini's Ghayth Al-Umam fi Iltibas Al-Dhulm.
Abdel-Wahab museum MINISTER OF Culture Farouk Hosni has announced the establishment of the Mohamed Abdel-Wahab Museum to be housed in the Arabic Music Institute where, over 60 years ago, Abdel-Wahab performed in honour of late King Fouad I. The museum's director, Imad Hamdi, is in the process of building up a collection of the late musician's memorabilia and personal belongings. It is hoped that his personal piano, now in the possession of his daughter, might become part of the museum's collection.
Badawi recoveringEGYPTIAN philosopher Abdel-Rahman Badawi has returned to Cairo from Paris where he has been living for the past decades. Badawi who had suffered from a fall last December was invited by the Egyptian government to return to Cairo for treatment at the Nasser Institute at its expense.
Born on 4 February 1917, Badawi earned his masters and PhD degrees from Cairo University in existentialist philosophy. In 1950, he founded the Department of Philosophy at Ain Shams University, which he chaired until 1971. He has taught at universities in Libya, Tehran, Kuwait and Paris. The author of some 80 volumes, Badawi was the first to receive the Mubarak Award in Social Sciences in 1999.
Badawi's breadth of scholarship encompasses the thought of Islamic philosophers such as Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina, Al- Ghazali and Al-Farabi. His writing is considered a bridge between East and West by many critics, an oeuvre presenting a view of Arab Muslim thought and civilisation markedly different from traditional Orientalist fare.
Minister of Health Ismail Salam, who visits the philosopher regularly, assured reporters that his condition was stabilising.
Go Amman!AS OF 18 April Amman will be transformed into the Arab cultural capital of the year, where over 50 cultural events and projects have been organised: publications (including the second volume of Amman's Historical Encyclopaedia, as well as new editions of classics by Husni Fariz, Mohamed Adib Al- Amri and Abdel-Halim Abbas, among others), symposia, exhibitions, competitions, book fairs, concerts, and events intended for children and young adults.
The celebration will also include weeks devoted to promoting the cultures of specific Arab countries such as Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Tunis, and Iraq.
Egyptian film festivalMOHAMED Khan's Ayyam El-Sadat has reaped the prizes for best actor (Ahmed Zaki) as well as best director in the 50th round of the Egyptian Film Festival. Other films that won prizes were Ula Thanawi (best actress for Mervat Amin, and special prize for Nur El-Sherif) and Asrar Al-Banat. Best TV drama went to Lil-'Adala Wuguh Kathira whose leading man, Yehia El-Fakharani also won best TV actor.
The Egyptian Film Festival is organised by the Egyptian Catholic Centre.
Muscat Film FestivalTHE MUSCAT FILM Festival wrapped up its second round this week. Among the film's making news is the Egyptian Al-Sahir starring Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz (who won best actor). Audiences were pleasantly surprised that Omani censors did not mutilate the film despite some controversial scenes.
The golden dagger went to the Taiwanese film Human Comedy, the silver dagger to the French production Puppy Love, and the bronze to the Lebanese film Ashbah Beirut (The Ghosts of Beirut). Best director went to Syrian filmmaker Abdel-Latif Abdel-Hamid for his Qamarayn wa Zaytouna (Two Moons and an Olive).
Critics were astonished that the Muscat Film Festival did not showcase any Omani films. Yet there are reports that an Omani feature production of 1.25 million dollars is indeed under way.
Voice of the GulfA NEW FM broadcasting station, Sawt Al- Khalig (Voice of the Gulf) -- which seeks to promote Arab art and culture to face the challenges of globalisation and westernisation -- was launched in Doha on Saturday as part of the Third Doha Song Festival whose concerts it will air live. The opening ceremony featured leading Saudi singer Mohamed Abduh.
Royal toursJORDAN'S King Abdullah II has announced that the Raghdan Royal Palace, Amman, will be opened to visits by school children. The palace was built by the late King Abdullah I in 1925 in a neo-Islamic style inspired by various monuments in Damascus and Aleppo.
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