May 23, 2012
Egypt’s Indecision 2012
NPR Air Talk with Larry Mantle
Day one of polling has just closed in Egypt’s presidential election, with another voting day
This race is the first chance for Egyptians to elect a new president since the stunning fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime more than a year ago. City streets boast billboards of the thirteen candidates. It’s expected none of them will secure more than 50 percent of the vote in this round, which will trigger a run-off election in mid-June.
What type of leader does Egypt need at this juncture? What should be his top priorities in leading the country out of its struggle? When will a constitution be finalized? Who did Egyptian-Americans vote for?
Dr. Nile El-Wardani, PhD works in public health and development in the Middle East and
Africa. She holds dual American and Egyptian citizenship.
Osama Shabaik, local Egyptian-American with family on Cairo, hold a double bachelors in
international studies and economics from UC Irvine.
Dr. Maher Hathout, M.D. senior advisor, Muslim Public Affairs Council.
Click to listen: Egypt’s Indecision 2012, Nile El Wardani, PhD and Maher Hatout, MD guests on NPR’s “Airtalk” with Larry Mantle
November 26, 2009
Poetry and Music of the Levant: Four women poets and Distinctive Arabic taqsim music
Host/Producer Nile El Wardani speaks with
• Riad Abdel-Gawad (Violinist/Composer) Born in Cairo, Egypt, Riad is a graduate
of USC, the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Harvard University
where he received his PhD in music composition. Riad Abdel-Gawad is considered
amongst his peers to be one of the finest artists of his generation whose linage to a
remarkably distinct school of Arab music and a mastery of its improvisatory practice
was developed by Abdo Dagher, legendary violin accompanier to Egyptian singer
Oum Kalsoum. His site is http://www.riadabdelgawad.com
• Nathalie Handal, a Palestinian American, is an award-winning poet, playwright, and
writer. She is the author of several poetry books and anthologies, most notably,
The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology (Academy of American
Poets Bestseller; winner of the Pen Oakland/Josephine Miles Award); and co-
editor of Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East,
Asia & Beyond (Norton, 2008). Her work has been translated into more than fifteen
languages. Her site is nathaliehandal.com.
• Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian American poet and writer, author of The Scar Saloon,
Rooftops of Tehran and Sin: Selected Poems of Forough Farrokhzad. She is the
associate editor of Words Without Border (Norton, 2010), the editor of The Atlanta
Review—Iran Issue (2010), and her poems, translations, essays and reviews have
appeared in scores of literary journals, periodicals and anthologies worldwide, and
have been translated into several languages. Her site is sholehwolpé.com.
• Tina Demirdjian is an Armenian American poet with roots in Turkey whose first book,
Imprint, received a grant from the L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs. The winner of
numerous awards, she says she “writes about love. I write about being Armenian. I
write about my grandmother and about being a woman.”
• Vanessa Hidary is a Syrian Jewish American hip hop poet, actress and playwright,
who goes by the moniker the Hebrew Mamita, due to her close association with
New York’s Nuyorican poetry scene and her fluency in Spanish (from her Sephardic
roots). She is a core member of the troupe “Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad” and
performs the solo show “Culture Bandit.” She has been featured in Def Poetry Jam
and was a Grand Slam Poetry Finalist at The Nuyorican Poets Café. Her site is
Click to listen:
Music and Poetry
March 13, 2009
Radio Host/Producer Nile El Wardani speaks to four Arab women to commemorate International Women’s Day giving an update on the status and state of women in Iraq, Palestine and Egypt.
El Wardani engages four distinguished Arab women from Gaza, Palestine, Egypt and
Iraq. Experts in the field of women’s health, development, civil and human rights, they
are activists, journalists and academics. They have worked at the grass roots level with
the women of Gaza, Egypt and Iraq and are witness to their daily struggles.
• Amina Shafik (Egypt) is a journalist with Al Ahram, Cairo, Egypt She has served for 28
years as an elected Board member of the Egyptian Press Union and is a member of the National Council for Women
• Vivian Fouad Fahmy (Egypt) is the Coordinator of the National Program for
Combatting FGM & Violence Against Women/Girls within the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, Cairo, Egypt
• Mona Al Shawaah (Palestine) is the Director Women’s Unit at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights
• Dr Nadje Al-Ali (Iraqi born) is a Reader in Gender Studies and Chair of the Centre
For Gender Studies at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London
Click to listen: Women in Egypt and Iraq
January 15, 2009
Radio Host/Producer Nile El Wardani addresses: The Gaza Bombardment and implications to its neighbors, with a focus on Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
• Precisely one year before the Egyptian Revolution was to take place El Wardani
tapped into the views of Ms. Asmaa Mahfouz who would become known throughout
the world as one of the youth leaders of the Revolution. Asmaa Mahfouz orchestrated
the first ever-nationwide strike in Egypt in May 2009 that mobilized over 70% of the
workers to strike.
• Dr. Richard Falk is the UN’s special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories and
professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University.
• Dr. Naiem Sherbiny is a former World Bank economist and Senior Advisor of the
Egyptian Ibn Kaldoon Center for Democracy Studies.
• Lisa Adler is a Jewish American activist who chained herself to the steps of the Israeli
Embassy to protest Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza.
Click to listen:
The Seize of Gaza
November 20, 2008
Radio Host/Producer Nile El Wardani addresses the issue of Human Rights in Middle East with a focus on Egypt
• Heba Morayef is a researcher in the Middle East and North Africa division of Human
Rights Watch. She investigates human rights abuses in Egypt and Libya. She
produces detailed reports, news releases and op-eds based on her findings and
conducts local and international advocacy.
• Asmaa Mahfouz has become known throughout the world as one of the youth leaders
of the Revolution. Asmaa Mahfouz orchestrated the first ever-nationwide strike in
Egypt in May 2009 that mobilized over 70% of the workers to strike.
• Omar Afifi is a former Egyptian ranking policeman of 20 years turned Human Rights
attorney where he practiced in Egypt. Always above the radar in his legal practice
the GOE left him alone until he wrote a book which spelled out the rights of ordinary
citizens in regard to police search and seizure, harassment, and abuse. Written in
simple street language Arabic, he wrote it to educate the common people of their legal
and constitutional rights. In just ten days over 50,000 copies were sold on the streets
of Cairo and the book was subsequently uploaded to over 10,000 websites and read
throughout the Middle East.
• Basem Fathi is a Bedouin from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. He has been a victim of
and has witnessed many human rights violations against his people, including death.
April 17, 2008
Radio Host/Producer Nile El Wardani addresses EGYPT TODAY: Nearly two years before the Egypt revolution which began in January 2010 Nile El Wardani interviewed noted Egyptians asking them: Who’s Will will prevail? The people or the government?
• Young Egyptian Blogger Wael Abbas winner of the 2007 Knight International
Journalism Award was honored in part because of his commitment to basing his
blog on solid, factual reporting, rather than unsupported opinion. Abbas has faced
numerous threats and a government “smear campaign” against him.
• Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim is a leading Egyptian pro-democracy activist and a world-
renowned political sociologist. Ibrahim is credited for playing a leading role in the
revival of Egypt’s contemporary research-based civil society movement which led to
his arrest and imprisonment under Mubarak. A professor of sociology at the American
University in Cairo, he is the founder of both the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development
Studies in Cairo, the Arab Organization for Human Rights, and the Arab Democracy
• Dr. Mohamed Sayed El Said, Deputy Director of the Al Ahram Center for Strategic
Studies in Cairo Egypt and co-founding director of the Egyptian Movement for Change
more popularly known as the KIFAYA movement – which means in Arabic ENOUGH.
He has been a life long advocate in Egypt for Human Rights and Democracy.
Click to listen: Egypt Today
August 30, 2007
Radio Host/Producer Nile El Wardani addresses Iraqi Refugees: A people with a broken country and few options for life.
The displacement of Iraqis is now the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world. As
of 2007 the UN estimated that over 4 million Iraqis have been displaced by violence
in their country, the vast majority of which have fled since 2003. Over 2 million have
vacated their homes for safer areas within Iraq, 1.5 million are now living in Syria, and
over 1 million refugees inhabit Jordan, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, and Turkey.
• Stephen Tomlin with International Medical Corp
• Sean Garcia with Refugees International
• Saif Al-Qassser (23 y.o.) Iraqi refugee in Amman, Jordan who was separated from his
family after his two brothers were kidnapped and held for ransom.
• Zaid Al-Qasser (24 y.o.) is now a refugee inside his country. The Al-Qasser family
has had numerous death treats and are now living as refugees within their own city of
Baghdad. The two brothers have been separated for more than four years due to their
refugee status and the Iraq War.
Click to listen: Iraqi Refugees
September 14, 2006
Radio Host/Producer Nile El Wardani addresses the memory of the great Egyptian Novelist and Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz.
The recent death of Mahfouz has marked the end of an era, the slow death of the
values of Arab liberalism and egalitarianism that were so much a part of this writings.
Our purpose this hour is to celebrate the life and work of Mahfouz and glean what we
can from those that knew him well; four great Egyptian novelists.
• Somaya Ramadan’s first two books were short story collections – Khashab wa Nohass
(Brass and Wood, 1995) and Manazel el-Kamar (Phases of the Moon, 1999). Her
first novel Awraq Al-Nargis (Leaves of Narcissus) was published to great acclaim in
2001 and won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal. Ramadan has also worked extensively as
a translator. Among her notable translations is Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.
She is a founding member of the Women and Memory Forum and teaches English
and Translation at the National Academy of Arts in Cairo.
• Mohamed Salmawy – Has written numerous works including short stories, novels
and theatrical plays. He has received numerous honorary distinctions including
Commandeur of the Ordre of the Crown by King Albert II of Belgium in 2008, the
Order of Merit “Grande Officiale” by the Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in
2006 and was decorated as Chevalier (Knight) of the Arts and Letters by the French
Government in 1995. He is Editor in Chief of Al-Ahram Hebdo newspaper, writer in Al-
Ahram daily and syndicated columnist in a number of other publications.
• Hala El Badri is both a journalist and novelist. She is deputy editor of an Egyptian
radio and television magazine. Muntaha, a novel published in 1995, is set in the
fictional village of Muntaha in the Nile Delta. Imra’atun ma (A Certain Woman), Hala
El Badry’s fourth book, was named best novel of 2001 at the Cairo International Book
• Yusuf Abu Rayya wrote over a dozen books including novels, children’s books and
short story collections. His best known work is Wedding Night, published in 2002. This
novel won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal. Abu Rayya served on the governing board of
the Egyptian branch of PEN International.
Click to listen: Discussion of Naguib Mahfouz
July 20, 2006
Radio Host/Producer Nile El Wardani interviews four Arab political analysts from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt to discuss the 2006 Israeli Incursion of Lebanon and Gaza.
• Mohamed Sayed El Said is Deputy Director of the Al Ahram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo Egypt and the co-founding director of the Egyptian Movement for Change more popularly known as the KIFAYA movement – which means in Arabic Enough. He has been a life long advocate in Egypt for Human Rights and Democracy.
• Osama Siblani is the Publisher/Editor in Chief of The Arab American News in Dearborn, Michigan.
• Mounzer Suleiman is the Bureau Chief of Mustqbal al Arabi in Damascus, Syria.
• Nidal Ibrahim is the Executive Director of The Arab American Institute in Washington DC.
Click to listen, part 1: Israeli Incursion of Lebanon and Gaza, part 1
Click to listen, part 2: Israeli Incursion of Lebanon and Gaza, part 2