In 2004 Sawsan Gabra and Cornelis Hulsman, sociologist and journalist, with over 30 years of experience in Egypt and intercultural dialogue, founders of the well known electronic journal Arab West Report, and a group of prominent individuals committed to improving intercultural awareness between Arab-West communities, applied to the Egyptian government to establish a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the name of the Center for Arab West Understanding.
The aim of CAWU is to foster better understanding between Muslims and Christians and between the Arab world and other cultures. This is done through, encouraging students, journalists, academics, religious leaders and politicians to be well informed and speak and write about people belonging to other cultures or religions in mutual respect, and helping them refrain from polemics, exaggerations and other distortions.
CAWU's goal is to achieve this purpose by:
CAWU is extremely grateful for the support received from many Egyptian dignatories and overseas supporters (both individuals and organisations) during the period that our application was processed, in particular:
Helping to provide access to accurate, credible and reliable information;
Improving the public's understanding of Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt,
Improving the public's understanding of the contemporary Islamic world in non-Muslim countries and vice versa.
Encouraging the accurate reporting and analyses of Arab-West cultural, religious and other key issues involving civil society, both in the Arab world and in the West.
- the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in February 2005,
- former Dutch Prime Minister Andreas van Agt, and for his visit in May 2006,
- the Minister for Endowments, and
- the Secretary General of the Arab League
- H.H. Pope Shenouda III,
- Grand sheikh Dr. Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi,
- all of whom expressed their explicit support for our initiative during Prof. van Agt's visit to Egypt in 2006
- HRH Prince el-Hassan bin-Talal during the launch of the Electronic Network for Arab-West Understanding, June 2008,
- Scholars, Muslims and Christian leaders
In February 2007 the Egyptian Council of State ruled that that CAWU should be recognized as an NGO under Egyptian law. The procedure continued and on January 28, 2008, the Deputy Minister of Social Solidarity wrote us a letter stating that CAWU has been recognized under Egyptian law, number 6985 for the year 2007. CAWU obtained in December 2008 its own bank account and now seeks financial support for its activities. For financial support from outside Egypt we need, as the NGO law stipulates, approval of the Ministry of Social Solidarity.
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If you require any further information please don't hesitate to contact us.
Cornelis Hulsman & Sawsan Gabra