About nileelwardani

Nile Regina El Wardani, MPH, MPhil, Ph.D. writes about art and culture in the Middle East with an emphasis on Egypt. She has worked in arts production with many esteemed organizations including the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and La Jolla Music Society. She has worked for 27 years in Africa, the Middle East and the US in the fields of public health and development with an emphasis on human rights, reproductive health and women's empowerment. She received a Master in Public Health from UCLA and a PhD from the renowned London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She was awarded the Middle East Award for Social Science Research for her research on policy, governance, human rights, and civil society. Nile has consulted for UNESCO, UNIFEM, WHO, and the Egyptian Ministries of Health, Education and Information. She has worked with bilateral donors including USAID, Finnida, Danida and Dutch Aid. As a professor and teacher she has taught at the American University in Cairo, UCSD, SDSU, UCLA, The Bishops School and study abroad programs in Europe.

The New Hermopolis—A Cultural Village

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By Nile El Wardani

The New Hermopolis is a cultural village, which is the vision and creation of the social alchemist Dr. Mervat Nasser. Coined by Nasser, social alchemy refers to transmutation of society through the Unity of Being as a fundamental principle that leads one to the desire of helping humanity to evolve into greater perfection.

The New Hermopolis aims to capitalize on the unique spiritual and cultural heritage of this ancient city towards the economic, spiritual and cultural revival of a largely neglected and impoverished fragile fragment of Egypt.

Alchemy, which originally comes from the Arabic word “Al Kimiya” (300 BC) literally means “the transmutation” was adopted by the Arabs from the Alexandrians and thence spread to Europe via Spain in 711 AD. Nasser was drawn to this spiritual location, once the ancient city of Hermopolis, located near Tuna El Gebel, Mallawi, El Minia.

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Galal Gouma—the art of Mohamed Khandil Mandour

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By Nile El Wardani

Little is unique about the components used in the art of Mohamed Khalil Mandour. They are simply water, clay, a wheel and kiln—the tools of a potter. What is exceptional is his use of those elements to express his artistic vision, capturing an experience of perfect balance and abundance within the confines of a vessel.

The purpose of his art, he says, is in the impression.

“The beauty of art is in its simplicity. You leave yourself and you produce.”*

Born in 1950 near the centuries-old mosque of Amr ibn al-As and raised in the al Fawakhir (Potters) district of Fustat, the artist began his childhood without a father, who died before the young Mandour reached the age of one.

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ReCreate—ReUse—Revive in Obelisque

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By Nile El Wardani
Obelisque Magazine, Cairo

Recently OBELISQUE discovered Reform Studio. Based in Cairo, their maxim is: ReCreate – ReUse –ReVive.

Created – or should we say – REcreated by two dynamic Egyptian women, Hend Riadand Mariam Hazem – REform Studio is an Umbrella of many RE’s. They seek to REcreate existing idea, REdevelop objects, REuse materials, REvive cultures and REform our world. This dynamic two won the Silver A’ Design Award 2014 for sustainable products and green design, as well as the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award for sustainable impact and business plan competition. OBELISQUE congratulates them!

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