Al-Ahram Weekly Online   30 March - 5 April 2006
Issue No. 788
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Pach of cards

photos: Ghada Abd El-Kader

All of which is not to mention the intellectual highlight of the week, my beauties. The Salon of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) held a seminar on "Developments and Negotiations for Establishing a New Council for Human Right at the United Nations", on the premises of one of my favourite venues, dears, the Diplomatic Club. Hefty topic though it was, the seminar was oodles of fun, with guest speaker Naela Gabr, assistant minister of foreign affairs, addressing the pitfalls into which current UN human rights provisions have fallen and outlining future plans. All of this aside, dears, it was a chance to meet my good friend endocrinology-cum-musician Tareq Ali Hassan.

A seminar on higher education in the 21st century with both US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone and Minister of State for Higher Education and Scientific Research Hani Helal. Global challenge? But of course. It was all in the framework of the Fulbright New Century Scholars' (NCS) mid-term meeting, dears, and an excellent opportunity to catch up with AUC President David Arnold and US Counsellor for Public Affairs (Press and Cultural) Haynes Mahoney...

The Egyptian Indian Friendship Association (EIFA) party in honour of ambassador Gopinathan, in the pleasant company of President of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs Abdel-Raouf El-Reedi, EIFA Deputy Chairperson Nadia Gardini and the members of EIFA and Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs...

Arab women celebrating World Women's Day saw my friend the Secretary-General of the Afro-Asian Writers Organisation Mohamed Morgan celebrating at the Shephard Hotel. Honoured guests galore, and what guests, dear: the wife of the former Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikha Latifa Al-Fahd Al-Salem Al-Sabah, former Egyptian minister of insurance and social affairs Amina El-Guindi, Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League Nancy Bakir, and head of the Egyptian Nile Thematic Channels Tahani Halawa.

photos: Ayman Barayez

A concert in honour of that great composer Mohamed Abdel-Wahab, mes cheris, and the Secretary-General of the Arab League Amr Moussa was at the main hall of the Cairo Opera House to honour pop star Khaled Selim. The event brought together many dear, dear friends: Opera Director Abdel-Moneim Kamel, Secretary-General of the Arab Music Festival Ratiba El-Hefni, and several ambassadors.

Our well loved colleague Mustafa El-Menshawy received the European Commission for Journalists' Lorenzo Natali Prize for Press for 2005 in a ceremony held in Brussels. It was for his article "Growing anger at arrests", about human rights violations that took place in North Sinai, Egypt, following the Taba terrorist bombings of October 2004.

Speaking of which, dears, my archrival Ghada Abd El-Kader attended a GlaxoSmithKline party in honour of 327 Egyptian physicians who passed the company's training courses, organised in collaboration with Harvard University. Given partly by video by such high-profile professors as Scott Harris, John Stakes, David Kanarek and Thomas Lynch, the courses dealt with pulmonary and asthma- related diseases. The Nile Hilton once again, Abd El-Kader, at the Alf Laila Ballroom, no less. There you met former minister of health and population and head of the Egyptian Society for Pulmonary and Tuberculosis Diseases Mohamed Awad Tageddin, Chairman and Managing Director of GlaxoSmithKline Egypt Amr Mamdouh and my own friend doctor Hisham Qandil, who told me, later, "you should have been there. Hope prevails."

photo: Sherif Mahmoud

Dear, oh dear! The Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs Mohamed Hegazi, a hulk of a friend if ever there was one, undertook a tour with all those beautiful African ambassadors at the Cairo International Trade Fair. The aim? To reinforce commercial ties between the two countries, dears, to bolster up investment and promote Egyptian-African relations. Black rules, baby.

What do you get if you cross one talented photographer and an art space in Havana, Cuba? My friends Hani El-Goweili and Hamdi Reda representing Egypt at the ninth Havana Biennale. "Unveiling Cairo", El-Goweili 's project, transcends light and shadow to the very core of the city.

On 25 March, Bridges, the project in question, saw many, many young volunteers working with special-needs children under the auspices of the British Council and the Egyptian Association for Comprehensive Development (EACD), which undertake the project in Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan, and the UK.

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