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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Hidden Grandeur

First published by Obelisque Magazine, Cairo, Egypt. Click on photo below to read article.  I would like to express my apologies for not including the names of Miss Nihal El Mogi and Miss Naela El Mogi – the daughters of the late General Salah El Mogi – along with Mr. Yousef El Mogi, son of General Salah El Mogi – in this article. Hidden Grandeur

Reflections on Work and Life in Egypt Today

Here in Egypt, despite the ongoing negative worldwide media reports, Egyptians continue to work, live, study and play.

At this moment I sit around a large rectangular table with twelve Egyptian managers (6 women, 6 men, age 35-55) who are engaged in their bi-weekly steering committee meeting at Ipsos Egypt, the country office of the 2nd largest research firm in the world. Ipsos, based in Paris, France, is located in 85 countries worldwide.

These twelve young Egyptian professionals are skilled, educated, empowered and committed to their work, families, company and country.

As the only American working with them, I can say without trepidation that they are amongst the top professionals I have had the pleasure of working with for the past 30 years of professional life.

Not only are they competent, precise, effective, professional and ethical in all their dealings, they are also supportive and kind to each other. There is no semblance of back-stabbing or negative competition. It is a real pleasure to labor with them and I feel grateful to find myself in such a healthy and positive work environment. They get the work done, creatively and professionally and they laugh and smile at the same time.

Ipsos Egypt offices are located on the Corniche El Nil in Maadi, Cairo. As we participate in our steering meeting, we see the Nile River below us and the green banks of river on the other side remind us each moment of the ageless dignity and life in this marvelous country. We can see the farmers working in their fields, the donkeys carrying their loads, the water buffalo turning around the water pumps and again we are reminded that Egyptians continue to work, taking care of their small piece of this magnificent country, whether they be a corporate manager or a farmer, despite the turmoil Egypt finds itself in.

There is something so very real and romantic about this scene….something that the world news media never begins to understand or capture or relay. There is hope. There is resolve. There is endless love for this land, this people, this country. Something I have not seen or felt, quite like this, in any other country.

I see this hope and resolve and tenacity in my fellow Egyptian Ipsos colleagues and I see it in the farmers toiling on the banks of the Nile, outside our Ipsos window.

No wonder that Egypt was rated 4th most positive economic outlook, amongst 25 countries worldwide in the Ipsos Global Advisor, for the next six months.

The Ipsos Global Economic Pulse (a monthly syndicated survey of 25 countries) welcomed the addition of a new country: Egypt in Jan. 2014. Egyptians reflect notably positive assessments of their national economy (64%), raising the global aggregate two points (39%) and the regional aggregate in the Middle East and Africa three points (54%). More than half (54%) of Egyptians rate the economy in their local area to be ‘good’ while six in ten (61%) expect it to be ‘stronger’ in the next six months. After three months without change, the average global economic assessment of national economies surveyed in 25 countries inches higher this month with the inclusion of Egypt in the global survey. When asked to consider the current economic situation in their country, 39% of global citizens rate it to be ‘good.’ Without Egypt, the figure remains unchanged at 37%.

Saudi Arabia (86%) is the country with the highest proportion of respondents rating their national economies to be ‘good,’ followed by Germany (75%), Sweden (72%), Egypt (64%), China (63%), and Australia (59%). On the other end of the spectrum, a small minority (5%) of those in Italy rate their national economies as ‘good’, followed by Spain (7%), France (8%), South Korea (17%) and Hungary (17%).

So lift up your heads Ipsos colleagues because we have something to smile about.