Welcome to our revamped website. After 8 years of the old website we felt it was time for a fresh look.
The British Egyptian Society, now a Registered UK Charity, has existed since 1990 and was created by Ambassador Mohamed Shaker and Sir Michael Weir. The Founding Executive Committee included Dr. Ahmed El Mokadem (founding Vice Chairman), Mr. Said Bassily, Mr. Terry Bishop, Mr. Vivian Davies, Dr. Zohni Farrag, Dr. Sabri Gabriel, Dr. Ashraf Marwan, Mrs. Gihad Moustafa, Miss Anna Hodson Pressinger and Miss Mira Takla. I succeeded Sir Michael in 2006. having been a Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and have travelled extensively around the Middle East. Presently I am Chairman also of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce. Our Vice Chairman is Professor Magdy Ishak Hanna, FRCS, CCIM, MRSM who, apart from being a surgeon and entrepreneur, is a Trustee of the Sir Magdy Yacoub Heart Hospital in Aswan, Chairman of the Egyptian Medical Society in the UK and a Freeman of the City of Glasgow. The Rt. Hon. Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles KCMG, Sir Derek Plumbly KCMG are Honorary Life Members. Our Patron and Founder Member is Dr. Ahmed El Mokadem who is a distinguished Academic and Economist.
18 November 2012 At last I have been able to access my Blog again. We have a wonderful new Website, masterminded (may I say that if it is a lady?) by our wonderful Treasurer Dina Soliman-Pedersen, but I have been trapped in the past. Now I am back in the present and can w… Read more >
6 January 2012 It’s very difficult to keep up to date with events happening in Egypt. I visited Cairo in October with members of our Education Conference sub-committee, led by our Vice Chairman, Professor Magdy Ishak Hanna. The conference, which is scheduled to ta… Read more >
Secretary’s Blog 14th February 2013
I am ashamed that his latest Blog is so long after the previous one. My sincere apologies and at least I am thinking of you on our website on Valentine’s Day!
However our New Ideas and Events Sub Committee has been working on New Events. The remarkable Dina Soliman-Pedersen (our Treasurer and the mother of tiny “Maya” since my last blog) will do one of her rather smart Diary Notices which shortly we will be posting on the main website.
Some items of immediate interest:-
We are waiting for H M the Queen to meet the H.E. Mr. Ashraf Elkholy soon so that he can present his credentials and formally take over as the Egyptian Ambassador. Once this has taken place we will organise a Reception to welcome him to London on behalf of the British Egyptian Society. (This will be preceded by the postponed AGM)
I have sent all members details of our forthcoming Day Trip to Cambridge. However, it is open to non-member’s and the flyer for it appears elsewhere on the website. Do Search!
We have been working with the new Cultural Counsellor, Professor Nadia Elkholy (no relation to H.E.) on some future events at the Cultural Centre. However, she is frustrated at the rate of progress on the re-building and is having to look elsewhere to hold events. Our Board Member, Dr. Elisabeth Kendall who is a Senior Research Fellow in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Pembroke College, Oxford has had discussions with the British Academy, 10 – 11 Carlton House Terrace, London and they have agreed to hold a Reception for a talk by Dr. Ismail Serageldin, Director of the Biblioteca Alexandrina on 28th May; Professor Elkholy had persuaded him to visit London and give the talk on behalf of the Cultural Centre. The British Egyptian Society is delighted to be associated with such a prestigious event and more details will follow.
Well, I have missed two New Years; ours and the Chinese which started on 10th February. So, may I wish you “Kung Hei Fat Choy” (“Congratulations and a lot of money”) and hope that 2013 is happy for all of you.
P.S. Oh, don’t forget also to follow us on Facebook.
Any new readers who are interested in joining the BES just e.mail me at email@example.com and I will be happy to e.mail joining forms.
ecretary’s Blog 18th June 2013
Yet again I have been dilatory and this Blog is long delayed. Anyway, since my last one we have done rather a lot.
The visit to Cambridge on 12th April was quite splendid and a great deal was crammed in – the Fitzwilliam, Queens’, King’s, the Parker Library, lunch at Corpus and drinks with the Master and his wife. But at the same time the day was not too tiring.
Many people played a helpful role, notably the energetic Sibella Laing, unfailingly cheerful despite the weather, but also the ladies at the Fitzwilliam who gave us a tour of the Egyptian Galleries (we split into 2 groups, Cairo and Alexandria), the catering staff at Corpus, Christopher de Hamel from the Parker Library (who put on a special Egyptian themed exhibition just for us), Stuart Laing the Master of Trinity, a well adjusted group assembled, and even the coach driver (despite his merciless abuse of the clutch) who was extremely prompt and enabled us to leave bang on time.
On 29th April we had the best attended AGM ever, followed by the Reception for H.E. Ambassador Ashraf Elkholy and Mrs. Elkholy. The evening included a book launch and John McHugo’s book, A Concise History of the Arabs, really is quite splendid. By the way, the AGM increased Annual Membership from £20 to £25 pa for a single person and from £25 to £30 for a couple. (Student Membership at £5 pa and Corporate Membership at £50 remain the same) I do hope this doesn’t put you off. I have emailed or written to every member, asking them either to sign a new Bankers Order or call their bank and amend the old one. The Membership year starts on 1st July and I await with interest the payments coming in!
A month later we had another very special evening, this time at the British Academy in their headquarters, the former home of 19th Century Liberal Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone. Professor Nadia Elkholy had invited to London Dr. Ismail Seregeldin, Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and my colleague Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, secured the venue. Dr. Seregeldin gave a stimulating talk (followe3d by a reception where we were able to mix and mingle and talk informally to the speaker) and I was so impressed that I went to his second talk at the Institute of Education the following evening.
On 1st June, H.E. Ambassador Ashraf Elkholy invited us to the Residence to see a photographic exhibition featuring work by Lorraine Ishak (our Vice Chairman’s daughter) on Professor Sir Magdy Yacoub’s Heart Hospital in Aswan. The evening raised £22,000 for the Aswan Heart Centre, funds which are greatly needed for the cardiac consumables and intensive care drugs which are used on a monthly basis, now that there is continuous activity at the Centre, and unfortunately cardiac medicine is not cheap. The film, showing the children and how they responded to treatment (which is provided free to all regardless of income), was very moving.
We are working on new events and these include:-
July Iftar which will be organised by Dr. Vivian Ibrahim
July/August Book Launch and talk by Alaa Al Aswani, date to be agreed.
August 20th Pompeii Exhibition Private View – Taz Restaurant afterwards?
October Film Week - to be organised by Yasmin El Derby
Nour Festival – Tarek Osman The effect on the Region’s Culture of the Arab Spring – October 21st
November Nour Festival – Sandro Vannini -The difficult situation of antiquities in Egypt, Slide presentation and interview – November 20th
December Sir Michael Weir Lecture – Yosri Foda and Gameela Ismail – Friday 5th December
We are looking also at a Jewellery exhibition with Azza Fahmy and a view of the Pyramids app with Touchpress.
May I conclude by saying that we are looking always for new ideas and suggestions. I long to be able to organise a Thames evening river cruise, for example. If you have any ideas, do please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. Don’t forget to look at our Facebook Page!