Issue 5, Sep 07
Review of activities March 2007 – September 2007
We would like to wish our Muslim friends a peaceful and blessed
Ramadan. This is a time of year when work slows down in Egypt, but it
is also a period in which many personal contacts are fostered.
Firstly, I would like to thank the many people who have sent me
their best wishes during my recent period of ill health, which was a
repeat of the health issues I faced in 2000. Three weeks ago I was
diagnosed as having blood clots (which could have resulted in a
stroke or lung embolism) and as a result I have spent a week in
hospital, a week of 100% bed rest at home, and now my activities are
very limited until it is all under control.
The doctors have attributed this to many reasons, which include
long working hours and the stresses of trying to press forward with
many initiatives in the challenging bureaucratic environment here in
I would also like to publicly thank my wife Sawsan and the entire
team at CIDT / Arab West Report for their commitment and support
during this difficult period. They do a fantastic job and are highly
motivated in their work – without their efforts everything would
have come to a stand still over the past 3 weeks.
Earlier in September, several of our interns accompanied me to
hear HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan deliver a lecture
entitled, ‘The Dialogue of Cultures: Toward an Arab Perspective,’
hosted by the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo
University. I also had the privilege of interviewing Prince Hassan
for Christianity Today during his recent visit to Egypt, and we hope
to see this in print in the near future. All of us at CIDT and Arab
West Report were greatly encouraged by Prince Hassan's compliments
about our work.
The European Institute for the Mediterranean invited us to write
an article explaining why opposing media distortions is so important
for intercultural dialogue. The article provides examples of media
distortions that have led to serious tensions [AWR, 2007, 14, 2].
As a result of previous discussions with HRH Prince Hassan, we
were invited to speak about our work at the Arab Thought Forum in
Jordan on March 28. Our presentation was entitled, ‘Media
Distortions: Presenting a New Media-Watch Project.’ [AWR, 2007,
14, 3]. An Arabic translation of the text was published by the Arab
Thought Forum in their magazine.
Development of the Electronic Documentation Center
We continue to make good progress on developing the EDC (our
electronic archive of over 15,000 articles published since 1997).
The 'who-is-who' feature is almost completed, thereby enabling users
to access an overview of someone’s background as they read an
article. An Arabic version of the search interface is completed and
we are currently working on cross matching our index with the Dewey
classification system to provide better access for academic libraries
in our network of partners.
We welcome your feedback on our work and invite you to visit the
Arab West Report Web site, log in (username: promotion password:
promotion) and search the EDC, both for subjects and names of people.
Promotional use is valid for one month.
The ENAWU Project
Following several months of negotiations, we are delighted to have
been awarded funding by the Anna Lindh Foundation for the first
stages of developing the Electronic Network for Arab-West
Understanding. This project will eventually link the electronic
libraries / archives of academic institutions in the region and
internationally to widen the amount of relevant information available
and to provide wider access to research and media on the subject of
Arab-West understanding and intercultural dialogue.
We are grateful to the Program for Civilization Studies and
Dialogue of Cultures at Cairo University for giving us the
opportunity to present our plans for the network to over 20 different
organizations, including university departments, the Arab League, the
Council for Foreign Affairs, Islam-on-Line, and many others.
We already have partner organizations in Egypt, Jordan, Syria,
Lebanon, The Netherlands, Germany and the Czech Republic. It is our
aim that this network gains prominence in the academic world and we
welcome inquiries from organizations who may like to join (and share
their electronic archives) or who are interested in obtaining access
to the network for research purposes. For more details and to
download information please visit www.enawu.com.
Our strong relationship with the Danish-Egyptian Dialogue
Institute continues and is enabling us to continue writing
biographies of prominent individuals in the sphere of Arab-West
dialogue. Salma Anwar (now on staff) and Ane Skov Birk interned
during January to August and Mads Holm and Baher Dokhan have just
joined us from the DEDI program. We have had eight other
(self-funded) interns during the period, researching a variety of
topics, and providing valuable contributions to our work. Marie
Lunddhal (Denmark), Katrin Koehler (Germany), Christian Fastenrath
(Germany), Nushin Atmaca (Germany), Maria Rezzonico (Italy), Clare
Turner (UK), Dimitri Niklas (USA) and David Grant (USA). These
internships provide a great opportunity for students to absorb and
experience the Egyptian culture and to work in a truly multicultural
Nick Truscott (UK) has joined our team to coordinate the ENAWU
project develop our marketing / promotional efforts. Dietrich
Mueller (Germany) is providing invaluable technical IT advice and
consulting on data management related to all aspects of our work - we
are looking forward to welcoming Dietrich and his wife to Egypt
Mohamed Saleh, an Arabic language instructor at AUC, has joined
our team as Senior Translator and Arabic Editor to further develop
the Arabic version of Arab West Report. His team consists of Salma
Anwar, Inas Hussein, Hanaa Eshak, and Viola Shafik.
We also welcome the very well known Dr. Tarek Heggy to our board
Our work could not continue here without the faithful support of
individual subscribers and donor organizations. In the coming months
we hope to greatly develop our subscriber base through a highly
focused promotional campaign and to restructure the categories of
subscribers to AWR and the EDC to make it more available to a wider
Invoices have been sent out for 2007 but not all have paid yet.
Please stay with us, your subscription is not only giving you access
to the weekly issues of AWR but now also to the EDC for the period
you have subscribed. Your subscription not only pays for our day to
day expenses, but also helps us to further develop our work.
If you are an existing subscriber we encourage you to pass on this
newsletter to friends and colleagues you think may be interested in
our work, so that they can consider a subscription. If you do not
already have a subscription, please subscribe on
European Lectures – December 2007
I have been invited to lecture on ‘Christian activists'
contributions to Christian migration from the Arab world; can
Christianity survive in the Arab world?,’ on December 4 in
Antwerpen during an UCSIA international workshop on Christian and
Muslim minorities in transition in Europe and the Middle East. Click
here for a synopis of the lecture.
IVOC, Radboud University of Nijmegen invited me to lecture, as
part of a course on Eastern Christianity, on December 12 and 13.
Anyone interested needs to sign up with IVOC. The number of places is
limited. More information can be obtained from their Web site at
Ayad Mossad of the Stichting Arab-West Understanding is
coordinating my program while I am in The Netherlands in December.
Please contact him if you would like me to give a lecture on
Muslim-Christian and/or Arab-West relations, media reporting on this
subject, etc. He can be contacted in The Netherlands at 036-5337418
or write him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Arab West Understanding (CAWU)
As we have previously reported, the Council of State decided to
recognize the Center for Arab-West Understanding as an NGO in
February of this year. However, the decision has still not been
finalized by the appropriate authorities. Our lawyer assures us that
there are no reasons to believe this will not be completed but we are
certainly dealing with a lot of bureaucracy. We greatly appreciate
the many congratulations and good wishes that we have received but we
regret that CAWU cannot yet start working as an NGO.
Changes on the internet
Finally, regular visitors to our websites will have noticed some
changes. I would like to invite you to visit them to find out more
about the entire range of activities we are involved in:
www.arabwestreport.com is the online home of the Arab West Report and
gateway to the Electronic Documentation Center.
www.enawu.com is home of the Electronic Network for Arab West
Understanding, linking academic libraries, archives and documentation
centers around the world.
www.cidtegypt.com reflects the proper legal status of
CIDT in Egypt and we hope to develop our work for clients in Egypt
and around the world.
www.holyfamilyegypt.com is a great opportunity to discover a little
known part of Egypt's great culture.
We are thinking of making a calendar to make our work and websites
known to a larger public and would like to know who could help us
distribute the calendar to people you expect to have an interest in
the work we do.
As always, thank you for your interest in our work and please do
not hesitate to contact us for further information.
Kees Hulsman & Sawsan Gabra