Pack of Cards
My pack, my sweets, is alive with the sound of music this week. My first piece of news concerns China's Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, which will be performing at the Cairo Opera House's Main Hall on Friday night. Conducted by Long Yu, who will be accompanied by Egyptian pianist Ahmed Abu Zahra, the orchestra will present a repertoire of classical works by Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky and others. The same concert will be performed at Alexandria's Creativity Centre, in cooperation with the National Democratic Party, on 7 December. The Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra is one of the most important orchestras in China and East Asia. It features 135 soloists and has performed hundreds of concerts around the world. Yu is one of China's most famous maestros, and has worked as a visiting conductor with several orchestras worldwide.
Another acclaimed musician -- renowned pianist Ramzi Yassa -- will be hosting the famous French pianist Cyprien Katsaris -- at the International Music Centre at the Manasterly Palace in Al-Manial on 7 December. Katsaris -- who has won several international awards -- will play works by Bach and Liszt. He has also performed with major orchestras like the Berlin Philharmonic, led by Leonard Bernstein, and has spent much time reviving unknown musical pieces like Liszt's Hungarian Concerto, which he recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
A couple of weeks ago, the Asian Studies Centre at Cairo University, which is headed by Hoda Matikis, invited my dear colleague Mohamed Ibrahim El-Dessouki, the deputy head of Al-Ahram's foreign affairs department, to talk about the current developments in the Korean nuclear crisis. El-Dessouki, who was also Al-Ahram's Tokyo bureau chief for four years, spoke with authority about America's seemingly contradictory attitude in dealing with Korea and Iraq. The lecture was attended by a spectrum of people concerned with Asian issues, as well as dozens of students from the university's Faculty of Economics and Political Science.
Veteran writer Safinaz Kazim -- a very dear friend of mine -- has just had her latest book published. Called Ketaba: Ro'aa Wa Zat (Writing: Visions and Entity), the book includes dozens of articles written by Kazim over the years. Kazim's first book -- Romantikiat (Romantics) -- was published in 1970 to great fanfare. Nisf Al-Donia magazine's Chief Editor Sanaa El-Bessi, intellectual Wedad Metri, and Kazim's daughter Nawwara, a translator with Nile TV, attended the celebration commemorating the release of this latest book.
The Cairo Sheraton, my dears, has just launched its annual charity campaign aimed at alleviating the psychological pain of children afflicted with cancer. The impetus behind the campaign is the belief that boosting the children's morale is an important step in strengthening their immunity system and improving their chances of curing the disease.
Inaugurated by Cairo Governor Abdel- Rahim Shehata and supervised by amiable actor Mahmoud Qabil, the campaign will feature a great deal of entertaining events for the children -- including puppet shows, plays and lots of fun and games.
In cooperation with the Cervantes Institute, the American University in Cairo is hosting an Ibero-Latin American Cultural Festival from 8- 10 December, at the university's Oriental Hall, Ewart Hall and the Fountain Area. The festival showcases the cultures of eight Latin countries -- Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Dominican Republic -- and will include a programme filled with lectures, films, and even a tango performance and salsa night with a DJ and a band. There will also be an exhibition of Latin American costumes, paintings and handicrafts, as well as a fashion show featuring traditional costumes, which will take place on 8 December. The event also features a lecture on Egyptian- Latin relations, which will be delivered by assistant foreign minister for the Americas, Mahmoud El-Said, as well as a talk on Western views of Arabs and Muslims, to be given by Gema Martin Munoz, who is a professor at Madrid's Autonoma University.
A wonderful celebration was recently held, my sweets, to commemorate both Egyptian Children Day and the 85th anniversary of Romania's National Day. The event featured an exhibition showcasing the art created by talented children from both Egypt and Romania. Entitled "One World", the show was inaugurated at the Egyptian Centre for International Cultural Cooperation by my dear friends Cherif El- Shoubashi, the first under- secretary of state for foreign cultural relations, and Marcel Dinu, the Romanian ambassador to Egypt. The children who participated come from the Greek, Pakistani, and Italian schools, Baby Home, and the Alexandria Sporting Club's Young Painter Studio.