Activity report 2005-2008
Four-year report Center for Arab-West Understanding, 2005-2008
The Center for Arab-West Understanding requested recognition from the Ministry of Social Solidarity in August 2004. The request was denied with the advice that the request should be presented to the Council of State. Lawyer Nagy Matta was hired to present this request in the Council of State. On December 29, 2004 the request was presented to the Council of State.
Meetings followed at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs followed by a recommendation from the Ministry on February 3, 2005 to the Ministry of Social Solidarity to recognize the application for NGO status. On February 14, 2005 the Stichting for Arab-West Understanding in The Netherlands was founded to support the work of the Center for Arab-West Understanding in Egypt.
On April 14, 2005 Ambassador Mona Omar, Egyptian Ambassador to Denmark wrote, following her meeting with the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs a recommendation letter for the Center for Arab-West Understanding.
Delays in the application for recognition as an NGO resulted in the foundation of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation as a civil company, a much easier procedure than the application for NGO status. The procedure started in the summer of 2005 and was completed on October 26, 2005. From 2006 onwards staff were hired and paid by CIDT. The costs that lawyer Nagy Matta required for the recognition procedure as an NGO were paid for by CIDT.
The three organizations agreed to continue as Arab-West Group, all dedicated to the same goal of building an electronic magazine Arab-West Report and database to foster dialogue, understanding and peace-building between people of different cultures.
The ‘Mufawadiya’ or legal advisory committee of the Council of State presented the Council of State on January 22, 2006 with a report providing the Council with a recommendation to recognize the Center for Arab-West Understanding as a legal entity.
The Social Solidarity Department of the Governorate of Cairo decided to recognize the Center for Arab-West Understanding as an Egyptian NGO on June 11, 2007 under number 6985.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity completed the procedure for NGO registration with a letter of recognition on March 2, 2008. The Center is now obliged to open a bank account.
The Commercial International Bank did not accept that the treasurer of the Center for Arab-West Understanding, Dr. Amr Assad, did not have a valid Egyptian ID. His passport was not accepted as ID to open an account for an NGO. The treasurer was changed from Dr. Amr Assad to Dr. Mary Massoud on October 27, 2008. The Ministry of Social Solidarity recognized this change and Dr. Mary Massoud filed a request with chair Eng. Sawsan Gabra Ayoub Khalil to open a bank account on November 18, 2008. This procedure is expected to be completed within one month.
Membership national network Anna Lindh Foundation:
The Center for Arab-West Understanding applied for membership of the national network of the Anna Lindh Foundation in March 2005 and was accepted as a member. In 2007 the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation also became a member of the national network of the Anna Lindh Foundation. The Anna Lindh Foundation recognized a request from the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation for building the Electronic Network for Arab-West Understanding in which the Center for Arab-West Understanding participates. The Center for Arab-West Understanding could not become the lead partner in this project because it had not yet completed the legal registration procedure and the Anna Lindh Foundation recognized that both organizations served the same goals.
The Websites for the Center for Arab-West Understanding, www.cawu.org, the Arab-West Foundation and the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation were built in 2007. Costs of this were carried by the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation. These websites contain an explanation of the Arab-West Group.
The board agreed that as long as the legal procedure for the Center for Arab-West Understanding was not finished that all activities for Arab-West Report and the documentation center would be carried out through the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation. For this reason, for a report of its activities the board refers to the year report of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation in 2006. Once the legal procedure for the Center for Arab-West Understanding is finished and the Center has its own bank account, activities between CIDT and CAWU will be split.
Petition against film Geert Wilders and reception Dutch delegation to Egypt:
The board approved the text of a petition against Geert Wilders' film and obtained the signatories of over 100 prominent Egyptian religious leaders and scholars as well as students from different countries. The board also organized the visit of a Dutch delegation consisting of representatives of prominent Dutch Muslim organizations and Christian churches in March 2008. Reports of the visit were placed on www.cawu.org
Since the Center for Arab-West Understanding thus far has no bank account and all costs have been paid for by the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation, the Center for Arab-West Report does not have its own financial year report.
Board meetings in 2008
February 18, 2008 – main topic of discussion: recognition by Ministry of Social Solidarity, split activities between CIDT and CAWU. CIDT will remain responsible for translation, editing, website building. Intern activities go to CAWU.
March 12, 2008 – agreement on logo, petition against Geert Wilders' film, Fitna
May 1, 2008 – discussion of future activities, introduction of Nesreen Gomaa to start working as Arab network coordinator for CAWU to the board, discussing public launch of CAWU in Egypt
October 27, 2008 – board met with Jielis van Baalen, director of the CIDT office from July 2009 onwards. Decision to change the treasurer of the board from Dr. Amr Assad to Dr. Mary Massoud in order to facilitate the procedure for obtaining an NGO bank account.
November 12 - board decides to apply for funding with Zivic for conflict resolution.
Cairo, November 20, 2008
Eng. Sawsan Gabra Ayoub Khalil, Chair
Drs. Cornelis Hulsman, Secretary-General