Al-Ahram Weekly Online   25 October - 31 November 2012
Issue No. 1120
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Pack of cards

Let's boogy

The Dani Pannullo Dance Theatre Company's Desordances 5, a contemporary dance show, was performed at the American University in Cairo Falaki Theatre last week -- and captured here by Bassam Al-Zoghby. The company was founded in 1999, when Pannullo felt compelled to channel his individual aesthetic energy into a stage performance that would touch the Spanish public in a way that had never been done. COMMUNION, which premiered in the same year, was the result. The troupe brings together dancers from a wide variety of backgrounds: break-dance, Japanese butoh, rhythmic gymnastics as well as contemporary -- with a corresponding variety of musical styles ranging from hip-hop to acoustic, jazz and pop.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the pivotal WWII desert battle (23 Oct-4 Nov 1942), the American University in Cairo (AUC) Press celebrated the publication of the book, El Alamein and the Struggle for North Africa: International Perspectives from the Twenty-first Century, edited by AUC history professor Jill Edwards. The book offers a detailed yet broad reassessment of the complexities of the pivotal war in North Africa between 1941 and 1943 through an insightful collection of studies by distinguished military historians.

The same ceremony also saw the inauguration of a photography exhibition inaugurated by European Union Ambassador to Egypt James Moran at the AUC Legacy Gallery, AUC Tahrir Campus. Present were the AUC Press Promotion Manager Nabila Akl, American publisher Neil Huston, Al-Ahram journalist Gamal Zaida and former ambassador of the European Union Marc Franco.

In commemoration of the sacrifices and heroism of Indian soldiers in the two battles of Alamein, a memorial service was organised by the Embassy of India in Cairo at the Indian Memorial. Indian Ambassador to Egypt Navdeep Suri and a number of senior diplomats and defence officials of friendly countries placed wreaths on the tombstones. The simple but solemn ceremony was part of the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Alamein. On the occasion, Suri drew attention to the book, North African Campaign 1940-1943 by JKW Bingham and Warner Haupt, which says that the capture of Ruweisat Ridge in a combined attack of the Indian Division and New Zealand Division on 15 July 1942 was the turning point in the battle.

photos: Ayman Barayez

The Champollion Rotary Club (CRC), headed by John Terzian, celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Nile Maxim boat overlooking the Nile. Terzian announced collecting donations for the benefit of various charitable projects. Present were former foreign minister Mohamed Al-Orabi, British Ambassador to Egypt James Watt, French Ambassador to Egypt Nicolas Galey and society figures Randa Haddad, Omar Geddawi, Mano Shousha, Mohsen Faltas and Magdi Rizkallah.

"An Egyptian Constitution for All" is the title of a seminar organised by the Garden City Lions Club (GCLC), presided over by Awatef Serageddin, which took place at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel. Lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr was the keynote speaker, and he discussed the obstacles facing the constitution. Present were musician Mohamed Sultan, TV anchor Soheir Shalabi, fashion designer Hani Al-Beheiri and members of the GCLC Bahiya Youssef and Rabab Abdel-Ati.

The Catholic Centre for Egyptian Cinema, headed by Father Boutros Daniel, honoured the cast of the TV series Al-Khawaga Abdel-Kader. The ceremony featured a seminar about the work, which was voted best Ramadan soap opera for promoting modernism of Islam and accepting the other. The star of the show, veteran actor Yehia Al-Fakharani and its director, Al-Fakharani's son Shadi and star figures Mahmoud Al-Guindi, Ahmed Fouad Selim, Salah Rashwan and Salma Gharib were all present.

Congratulations! Al-Ahram Weekly's very own Environment Editor Mahmoud Bakr was honoured for his tireless efforts in raising environmental awareness among Egyptians by the Arab Union for Youth and Environment -- affiliated to the Arab League, headed by Magdi Allam -- Luxor governor Ezzat Saad, President Mohamed Morsi's adviser for environmental and scientific research affairs Khaled Alameddin, the new head of the union Ahmed Ashour, Secretary-General of the union Mamdouh Rashwan as well as the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) representative Mustafa Eid. The event took place on the fringe of the fourth African-Arab Environmental Youth Conference that tackled the issue of the River Nile under the title, "One River, One People". The five-day conference took place in Luxor with the participation of 36 African and Arab countries.

With a view to more cultural exchanges between Egypt and China and to deepen the bonds of friendship between the two countries, the Chinese Cultural Centre in Cairo, in cooperation with the Fayez Farah Cultural Salon, held a Chinese cultural evening under the title "Tourism in China". The dialogue was directed by the Chinese Cultural Councillor to Egypt and Director of the Chinese Cultural Centre in Cairo Chen Dong Lyon together with former deputy of minister of information Fayez Farah. A Chinese documentary was screened, showing the phases of evolution and progress China has been going through for the past 30 years, and how China has adopted the policy of reform and opening up as a target to achieve renaissance and prosperity. Lyon talked about the most important tourist destinations in China while the audience inspected pictures highlighting China's many landscapes and breathtaking views. Among several interesting topics tackled in the course of the evening were the award of the 2012 Nobel Prize in literature to distinguished Chinese writer Moi Yan and the rapid economic development in China. Before the attendants left they were treated to a feast of Chinese cuisine and handed books as souvenirs.

The first Egyptian provost at the American University in Cairo (AUC) Medhat Haroun, died last Thursday after a heroic struggle with pancreatic cancer. Haroun was a world-renowned expert on earthquake engineering, and has been AUC's dean of School of Sciences and Engineering (SSE) since 2005 till 2010. He occupied this position from January 2011 to October 2012. As provost, he launched a new strategic academic plan for the university and signed a number of agreements with national and international entities, including a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the "Ma'an" NGO to help transform slums into sustainable communities and an MOU with the Arab League to support the development of teachers' capacity across the Middle East. During his tenure, the School of Continuing Education signed an MOU with the Egyptian E-Learning University to enhance its programmes of distance learning, and the Centre of Translation Studies signed an agreement with the Ministry of Culture to provide support for its activities. Describing Haroun's lifelong commitment to the university, President Lisa Anderson said, "As all of you who knew Provost Haroun will attest, he devoted much more than his extraordinary intelligence to AUC; he gave his heart to the education of generations of young Egyptians, to the advancement of world-class research -- his own and that of countless others -- and to fostering a university community as humane and generous as he was himself."

photo: Abdel-Hamid Eid

The new satellite channel MBC Egypt, scheduled to go on air on 9 November, celebrated its launch at a legendary ceremony with attendance from a host of luminaries, artists, journalists, media figures and writers; among others: Minister of Information Salah Abdel-Maqsoud, Al-Ahram journalists Essam Abdel-Moneim, Ahmed Al-Meslemani, TV anchor Moataz Al-Demerdash, director Khaled Youssef, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Fagr newspaper Adel Hammouda, scripter Wahid Hamed, actors Ashraf Abdel-Ghafour, Ezzat Al-Alaili, Rania Youssef, Mohamed Riad, Dalia Al-Beheiri, Ahmed Bedeir, Ashraf Abdel-Baki, Aida Riad, Rami Imam, Maged Al-Masri, along with popular talk show host Mona Al-Shazli, who will be presenting her new talk show on the channel under the title Gomla Mofida (A Meaningful Sentence).

On 22 October, Google celebrated the alignment of the sun to the face of King Ramses II's statue in the inner sanctuary of the temple of Abu Simbel -- a biannual event which occurs on the date of the ancient king's birth (22 February) and the date of his coronation (22 October) -- the latter also signifying the start of the harvest season for ancient Egyptians. The spectacle of the solar alignment draws thousands of tourists every year to Abu Simbel.

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