Egypt wins First Place for “International Peace and Security” According to the “Good Country Index”

The Good Country Index is a new way of looking at the world. It measures, as objectively as possible, what each country contributes to the common good of our world as a whole, and conversely what each country takes away. Within the index there are seven overarching categories and therefore seven possible gold medalists.

Many will be surprised to learn that Egypt has reason to be proud because Egypt is one of the Gold Medalists, ranking #1 for the category of International Peace and Security.

Why Egypt? On the whole, countries like Egypt that score well in this category International Peace and Security, do not export arms; they do not get directly involved in international violent conflicts (except in some cases as peacekeepers); they tend to have tight cyber-security, and they often contribute significantly to UN peacekeeping missions with troops and/or funds. Generally speaking such countries do very little harm overseas, rather than doing good. Still, the net effect is positive and this is what has earned Egypt the #1 spot in this particular category.

A composite overall score of all seven categories ranks the top 20 countries as Western developed countries. However, on the whole many of these Western countries rank very low in the category of International Peace and Security; France (92nd), United Kingdom (94th), the Netherlands (97th), Belgium (100th), Luxemburg (101st), Italy (102nd), Austria (104th), Canada (106th), Germany (109th), Sweden (111th), USA (114th) and Spain (120th).  On the contrary, many lower income developing countries rank highest in this category; Egypt (1st), Jordan (2nd), Tanzania (3rd), Lesotho (4th) and Uruguay (5th) as net creditors towards international peace and security.

The other six categories and the countries that rank number one are: 2.) United Kingdom in Science and Technology, 3) Belgium in Culture, 4) Germany for World Order, 5) Iceland for Planet and Climate, 6) Spain for Health and Wellbeing and 7) Ireland for Prosperity and Equality. See http://www.goodcountry.org

In the overall composite score Ireland ranks #1 making it the “Most Good Country” in the world according to the Index, a great acknowledgement for Ireland. Developing countries that rank high in overall composite scores include; Costa Rica (22nd), Malta (23rd) and Chile (24th). Kenya (26th) scores the highest overall composite in Africa/ME.

The Good Country Index isn’t interested in how well countries are doing internally nor is making any judgment. The index is looking at countries through a new and different lens than previous indices. It is interested in how much each country is doing for the world as a whole. The concept of the “Good Country” is all about encouraging populations and their governments to be more outward looking and to consider the international consequences of their national behavior, both positive and negative.

While there are numerous indices that measure country performance in isolation (WB, UNDP, IMF): whether it’s economic growth, stability, justice, transparency, good governance, productivity, democracy, freedom, or even happiness, it’s always measured per country. The Good Country Index tries to measure the global impacts of policies and behaviors that contribute to the “global commons”, and what they take away. Try thinking of “good” as a measure of how much a country contributes to the common good. So in this context “good” means the opposite of “selfish”, not the opposite of “bad”.

Author/researcher Simon Anholt and his team have used 35 reliable datasets, which track the way that most countries on earth behave. There are five datasets in each of seven large categories that cover the big issues. Using a wide range of data from the U.N. and other international organizations each country has a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between. The ‘Good Country’ concept and the Good Country Index were developed and funded by Simon Anholt. The Index was built by Dr Robert Govers with support from several organizations.

The author-researcher (Simon Anholt) of Good Country Index is posing important questions. Do countries exist purely to serve the interests of their own politicians, businesses and citizens, or are they actively working for all of humanity and the whole planet? The debate is a critical one.

Anholt argues that this index forms a truer and more realistic global balance sheet than those that look at each country in isolation as if each sits on its own private planet.

Anholt holds that the aim is to start a global discussion about how countries can balance their duty to their own citizens with their responsibility to the wider world, because this is essential for the future of humanity and the health of our planet.

He asserts that today as never before, we desperately need a world made of good countries. We will only get them by demanding them: from our leaders, our companies, our societies, and of course from ourselves.

“The biggest challenges facing humanity today are global and borderless: climate change, economic crisis, terrorism, drug trafficking, slavery, pandemics, poverty and inequality, population growth, food and water shortages, energy, species loss, human rights, migration and more. All of these problems stretch across national borders, so the only way they can be properly tackled is through international efforts” asserts Anholt.

“The trouble is most countries carry on behaving as if they were islands, focusing on developing domestic solutions to domestic problems. We’ll never get anywhere unless we start to change this habit.”

Anholt hopes that people the world over will use this information to urge their governments to look at the total impact of their policies. Anholt is somber “It is no longer enough to provide prosperity, growth, justice and peace to one population alone. The international consequences of every action must be considered. Economic growth is a good thing, but not if it’s at the cost of the environment or the wellbeing of another country or species. Competition between nations is increasingly looking like a dangerous idea. It’s up to us to tell these things to our politicians, and the Good Country Index can help get the message across.”

Note: All data and information herein is credited to Simon Anholt and Dr Robert Govers and can be found at http://www.goodcountry.org

Nile El Wardani, PhD is a professor at the American University in Cairo and can be reached at nelwardani@aucegypt.edu

 

 

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.

In Search of Oil and Sand – Egypt 1952

Image

On location 1952

IN SEARCH OF OIL AND SAND – An Egyptian Documentary Film Review

by Nile El Wardani

A 1952 feature film within a 2013 documentary film, In Search Of Oil & Sand, directed by Wael Omar and Philippe Dib, won the “Best Arab Directors” award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival for successfully merging two historical timelines and creating synthesis between past, present, fact and fiction. Produced by Mid West Production and Sarakene Ltd., the film is guided by historian Mahmoud Sabit, an old world soul with a modern twist of savoir faire and political savvy, as he delivers both an historical detective story and political analysis of the late Egyptian Royal Family. Starring the Royals themselves, Oil and Sand (the film within) was completed just weeks before the 1952 coup d’etat that ushered in a new era for Egypt.

While Egypt’s current revolution is kept alive by today’s youth, Egyptian aristocrat and royal relation Mahmoud Sabit has unearthed never-before-seen footage and glimpses into Egypt’s second revolution, that of 1952, and the connections are nothing short of amazing. Sabit is determined to activate Egyptian historical memory and provide Egyptians with public ownership of their own history, as told by Egyptians, rather than foreigners.

Sabit is uniquely qualified to do this. The son of Adel Sabit, the cousin of Egypt’s King Farouk, and Frances Ramsden, an American Hollywood actress of the 1940s, Sabit Junior grew up in European exile after his father was wrongfully accused of spying on Egypt for the French in 1961. Until that time Adel Sabit was the publisher of the Egyptian Economic and Political Review. The first article published in the review was written by President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Adel Sabit’s life was full of adventure, not unlike that portrayed in the fictional film he co-wrote. While young Mahmoud and his mother were able to leave Egypt in 1963 with their American passports, Adel Sabit had to escape Egyptian prosecution in the trunk of a car that drove him across the Libyan border. The family reunited in Europe. Mahmoud Sabit returned to Egypt in the 1990s and now resides in the 1923 Garden City mansion of his grandmother, Fatimah Hanem Chahin, the first cousin of Queen Nazly.

Within the glamorous remnants of the mansion Sabit discovered more than 15,000 photographs which document Egypt’s Belle Epoch from 1850 to 1956. Even more phenomenal, Sabit located the 8mm black and white rushes of the amateur film shot by Princess Faiza and her entourage, the Zohreya Set, an elite group of royals, aristocrats and diplomats.

Mahmoud Sabit’s parents socialized often with Princess Faiza and her debonair Ottoman husband Mohammed Ali Bulent Rauf (1911-1987). Rauf was the great-grandson of Ismail Pasha, khedive of Egypt from 1863 until 1879.  Born into the Ottoman elite of Istanbul, Rauf was competent in French, English, Arabic and Ottoman Turkish. He had studied English literature at Cornell and Hittite archaeology at Yale. In 1945 he married his second cousin Princess Faiza and they had settled into a privileged life together in Egypt.

This was an Egyptian milieu characterized by a cosmopolitan openness to other cultures and a tolerance of different faiths. They encapsulated privileged tastes and the refinement and sophistication of both the Egyptian and Ottoman cultures.

This was also a time when Egyptian studios was producing more films than Hollywood. The Zohreya Set very much enjoyed watching films together and it was only natural that the group should decide to entertain themselves by making their own film. Influenced by the politics of the times, Adel Sabit, Frances Ramsden and Bulent Rauf wrote their script.

More than a premonition of things to come, the film told the story of a fictitious Arab monarchy who is caught up in a coup d’etat and forced into exile and tries to regain control. Replete with a love story, Western spies and oil men and a lovely ball, filmed at Zoyreya Palace, within which the real elite of Egypt are featured, the finished film was burned by the director Rauf immediately following the real coup of 23 July 1952.

Adel Sabit served as Director of Photography. Princess Faiza played a princess of course and Princess Nevine Abbas Halim played a kidnapped American woman.  British and American embassy staff played oil men and spies, while local Bedouins played the rebels. A British diplomat in Cairo played the role of an official of his country which supported the ousted monarch.

What started out as plain fun became prophetic foreshadowing of the tumultuous times soon to come. This was particularly true in regard to the tall handsome American Bob Simpson. Befriended by Princess Faiza and her husband, Simpson was a regular member of the Zohreya Set.  Simpson served in Egypt as the special assistant to the US Ambassador to Egypt, Jefferson Caffery.  Ironically Simpson played the role of a US diplomat backing the fictitious coup. In an amazing twist of fate or a well thought out plan, Simpson was the actual person ordered by the American Embassy to organize the abdication of King Farouk following the coup, only six weeks following the completion of the film.

The rights and wrongs of that revolution or coup d’etat, its impact on the wider region and the geo-political world situation over the ensuing decades, are briefly touched upon in the film, by Mahmoud Sabit. The film is a glimpse into history, said Sabit, pointing out that King Farouk had lost trust in the British. The Abdeen Palace Incident of 1942 nearly resulted in a forced abdication of the King.  British troops and tanks surrounded the palace and forced a change of government for their own purposes. King Farouk capitulated but never forgave the British.

Sabit’s historic reflections are pointed, “When push came to shove Nasser and Co. thought that the British might interfere on Farouk’s side, and seemed to have made a deal with the British over the abandonment of the Sudan, to forestall, such an eventuality. It was one of the revolutionary accusations that Farouk was a British agent. It simply was not true.”  As a result the humiliation meted out to Farouk, and the actions of the Wafd Party in cooperating with the British and taking power, lost support for both the British and the Wafd among both civilians and, more importantly, the Egyptian military. Can such a history be repeated?

During Sabit’s search for the film footage, the working title became clear; In Search of Oil and Sand. What perhaps may never be clear are the answers to such questions as; If the monarchy had survived would Egypt have been able to make the transition to a democratic parliamentary political system? Were there external actors that may not have wanted such a future for Egypt? Did external actors play a role in the 1952 coup d’etat? What could have been their motives? Were the Royals as corrupt as their accusers portrayed them to be?

Sabit does not profess to have the answers, but he hopes that his film will provoke debate and raise questions about recent Egyptian history, particularly as seen through the prism of Egypt’s ongoing third revolution. A passionate researcher, Sabit went looking for anyone from the 1952 film that might still be living. Freakishly, Simpson had simply disappeared and there was no record of his death or whereabouts. Sabit poured over his mother’s letters and memoirs. In one entry she recounts Simpson’s drunken confession, to Princess Faiza and Bulent Rauf, that he was indeed an American CIA agent and felt so badly because “they had indeed been so kind to him.”

Sabit found the last living cast member, Princess Nevyne Abbas Halim residing in a well-worn villa in Alexandria, Egypt. In the documentary, she recounts with passion and humor the making of the film, the opulent times and the trauma of the ensuing coup. The documentary ends with images of the Royal family and friends taking a night fishing trip in Alexandria harbor on the eve of 22 July 1952. When they return to shore at dawn they are struck by the knowledge that army officers, including future President Gamal Abdel Nasser, have toppled King Farouk and they are no longer welcome in Egypt.

Sabit’s film In Seach of Oil & Sand deserves to be screened throughout the world as it weaves together history, politics and the creative human energy that makes for great story-telling, the cache of all human experience. As Egyptians fight every day for the successful future of their country, they and the world need to activate their understanding of what is shaping Egypt today. In Seach of Oil & Sand is a sumptuous and compelling place to begin.

EGYPT: We need our funny man back!

BassemYousef

WELCOME BACK BASSEM – EN SHAH ALLAH
Word on the street is that Bassem will be back On Air in a matter of weeks, albeit on another Network since CBC caved into and sucked up to the Interim government and broke the contract. Why? Because Bassem took pot shots at everyone including the Interim government.

But will Bassem have the guts to take pot shots at the same Interim government who shut down 1000 Egyptian NGOs yesterday, many of whom provide much needed healthcare to the poor of Egypt? We need our Funny Man back!

Will Bassem be allowed to criticize the new law that criminalizes any Egyptians who take part in demonstrations without first acquiring a permit? A permit???? Can you imagine Egyptians WAITING for a Permit? Now that is FUNNY!!!

The good news is that Bassem and his team have TONS of new material for the upcoming episodes!!!

________Below Written 3 November 2013_______________

Life in Egypt is so unpredictable. Totally the opposite as it used to be. Nothing changed for years. One could leave for a year or four and come back and nothing had changed. Now it changes every day. The American University announced at 4pm today that it will be closed tomorrow because of the trial of Pres. Morsy and the possibility of unrest. So I don’t teach as expected. No one, including the Americans ever have a game plan in advance. Everyone seems to be responding to events instead of creating the future.

Friday I sat in front of my television set at 10pm ready to watch the much awaited second-show-of-the-season of Egyptian comedian Bassem Yousef (the Egyptian John Stewart). The entire country sat waiting and it never came on. The previous week Bassem Yousef took pot shots at everyone including the Interim Egyptian President and General Sisi (who is really in charge of the country). It was brilliant and funny and cutting edge. He spared no one as he has done for the past year – during the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)year of Pres. Morsy. Of course he was slammed with some law suits that went no where and he stayed on air. Now under a new interim government – one episode and he was Unplugged! Rumors flew on Twitter that BY even fled the country.

The fact that most of the country was sitting in front of the television (politics is now the national sport taking over football since January 2011) and then got stiffed was a BAD sign. What could the new interim government be so afraid of? A comedian? We have all taken this as a bad sign and many of us feel that this means that we are back to square one in terms of revolution and the reasons for revolt. The economy certainly has not improved – the main cause of the revolution – rising cost of living, high unemployment, poverty rising, no future for the average Egyptian, etc. Now it seems that censorship is back in style – even greater censorship than under Mubarak. The difference is that the genie is out of the bottle, meaning Egyptians have no fear any longer, they know what their rights are supposed to look like and feel like and they are not going back to the bitter days of stagnation, control and despotism.

In other words, shutting down Egypt’s number one comedian was a bad move, a very bad move. It may seem insignificant to people outside Egypt but it is very significant here in Egypt. It means the revolution is still ON! (Remember the French Revolution lasted 100 years and they rewrote their Constitution 13 times.) Is Egypt in for the long haul? Do we have the patience and the resources to endure a long lasting revolution?

No matter what camp you are in: “It’s a coup” or “It’s NOT a coup” or whether you are Anti-MB or Pro-MB blacking-out Bassem Yossef was a slap on the face of ALL Egyptians. A huge wall (15m x 4m) in my neighborhood reads: OUR REVOLUTION IS CONTINUOUS.

As I sit on my balcony overlooking this magnificent scene, this auspicious antique land of the Nile River, I see one of the main arteries of our Mother Earth. I see an ancient body struggling to regain its power and beauty. The land, the river and the people have such character and depth that even after 7,000 years of pillage and abuse it still survives. Have you ever seen faded glory? This is Egypt. I can see nine pyramids across the Nile that stretch from the Giza Pyramids in the North to Sakkara Pyramids in the South. It enfolds before my senses and gives me pause.

If Egypt is allowed to fade even further and implode politically it will be the fault of all of us. Yes, you in New York, you in Dehli, you in Beijing, you in Paris, you in Washington DC, you in Cairo, Alexandria, Assuit and Aswan. For Egypt is the Mother of the Earth (Om Il Donaya). We should all be taking care of her. Egypt has given the world so much of what we humans treasure in life; from wheat to astronomy to pottery to glass to medicine and surgery. From agricultural methods to artistic techniques… Two of the nine original Wonders of the World – the Giza Pyramids and the first Light House (Alexandria) ever built – are in Egypt. Today Egypt holds 85% of the ancient anthropological and archaeological sites of the world.

Egypt is inhabited by 90 million people who like everyone else in the world simply wish to work well, live, marry, have a family, take care of their children, eat their delicious food, enjoy their families and friends and most of all ensure the future of their children. Egyptians truly live for their children. Economic and political policies and alignments, corruption brought from outside and fomented inside the country, resources spent on military instead of education, these are the macro reasons that have led the Egyptian people to despair, poverty and revolt. And don’t be fooled these same scenarios are being played out slowly in the west as well.

Is this future foreordained? I don’t think so. I think it is a matter of choice. Our choices everywhere, no matter where you live. If you are on my email list, chances are you are not part of the 1% elite that are greedily destroying our world for profit. We the 99% need to do more to make the rulers, corporations and bankers of our world more accountable to us. They and we must be accountable and care for our Earth. We must do what is good for us the people of the Earth, our children, our animals, our rivers, lands, seas, our souls, our life. For in the end it is a matter of life or a slow miserable death. I choose life.

WE ARE ALL EGYPTIANS – A warm welcome to Margaret Warner (PBS anchor) visiting Egypt

Saturday 7 September 2013 — Mari Girgis Church, Al Fustat Old Cairo

Welcome to Margaret Warner, Anchor, The Mac Neil News Hour – PBS, USA

Samia, Konstantin and I just took a little outing this morning to Al Fustat, the ancient area of Cairo that was once the Fauborg Saint Honore (Paris) of the Silk Road. In other words it was the most lavish and wealthiest area along the ancient Silk Road where traders from every culture, religion and nation exposed their wares of silk, gold, silver, carpets and more.

Today it is a run down area and it is hard to imagine that it was once so lavish. Five hundred meters away from the souk is Mari Gergis Church, the first church built in Egypt in the 2nd century AD.  Saint George is the patron saint and the story goes that the church was built on this site because there was already a Pharaonic Temple and a Jewish Synagogue at the site. What better place than to have them all together. This was their thinking back then. Mari Gergis church is also known as the “hanging church” because it literally hangs over the two ancient temples – Pharaonic and Jewish.

The church is under renovation so we didn’t actually get the chance to go inside. We went into the dungeon where Saint George was tortured and held by the Romans. They story goes that a virgin from the community was fed to a dragon every year until one year the mother of the virgin next in line prayed to St. George and asked that he intercede. He did. He slayed the dragon and the girl was spared as well as all the other girls for years to come. There are plenty of icons of St. George slaying the dragon hanging on the walls of the dungeon and in the small adjacent chapel. The instruments of torture used on St. George by the Romans are also on display. You can even put the “original” chain which enveloped St. George around your neck.

Next to the church is a cute little gift store where a young Egyptian Coptic woman named Basma (Smile in Arabic) sells everything from Pharaonic to Christian and Muslim souvenirs. Basma is very smiley and kind and bored because we were the only ones in the vicinity.

Tourism is all but dead in Egypt, thanks in part to CNN who has covered Egypt with enormous bias for the past 2.5 years. CNN has shown Egypt up in flames pretty much every time they cover Egypt, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

We stopped to look at photos in a small shop and that is when Konstantin disappeared. He had gone to find a trash can and poof he was gone. Samia and I panicked and began scouring the street looking for him and calling his name. During this panic I noticed Margaret Warner the anchor of the Mac Neil News Hour on PBS in the US. She was standing on the side walk with a couple security men and her crew. I recognized her right away but continued looking for Konstantin. He is my priority. When I found him I scolded him for disappearing and we walked back to the entrance. I introduced myself to Margaret. Samia joined us and we had a short discussion about Egypt and the Copts.  Samia let her know that we are all Egyptians and that our identity is firstly Egyptian and not by religion. Samia feels very strongly about that and came off as such.

Margaret and the crew were having trouble getting permission to enter the area and film. Samia went over and talked to the guards at the entrance.  She told them the crew were with PBS and not CNN. This seemed to do the trick and they were allowed to enter right away.

I spoke to Margaret’s cinematographer and told him how angry we Egyptians are at CNN. We call it CN-Zift which translates to CN-Shit. I told him of my experience being in Tahrir Square often with 500 thousand peaceful people making music, eating sweets and listening to each other. I told him how CNN rarely covered the peaceful demonstrators in the square and instead went around the corner to a side street where 3 dozen boys were paid to start small fires and throw Molotov cocktails and make noise. I was in the square, saw the boys on the side street and saw the CNN coverage that followed. It was always distorted and biased. The anger we feel towards CNN, as Egyptians, grew each time we saw their biased coverage which persisted until this day.

The cinematographer a strapping handsome man with tats up and down his arms, perhaps an Australian accent, not quite sure, told me “I am not surprised. When you are behind the camera, it is easy to make a small commotion look like a huge violent affair. Listen, it all comes down to money. When the network spends $50,000 to send a crew to cover a story in Egypt, they want some action. They don’t care home many peaceful demonstrators there are, that’s not action.”

“Do you realize that this kind of coverage by CNN has destroyed our country. Everyone all over the world has the impression that there is chaos and violence everywhere in Egypt. People are afraid to come and you can see for yourself that it is not true. It is safe and peaceful almost everywhere,” I said.

He was a nice man. He got it. He understood and he seemed genuinely sorry about the plight of Egypt.

Then Samia told him how, when we took to the streets in the tens of millions on June 30th CNN hardly bothered to cover our ongoing revolution. Why? Because it is not what the US administration was supporting. The US administration has been supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and CNN might as well be state-owned-media because CNN walks the line of government policy, not bothering to tell the story of the masses of Egyptian people.

I gave Margaret my name and phone number and invited her to call if she needed any help or connections while she was here in Egypt. She has several stories to cover and file Imageback to NYC. It would be nice if she does call. Hopefully she will connect with the vast array of Egyptians who love their country with such passion and are crying buckets for their beloved Egypt.

I would like her to meet the singer Mohamed Munir and show his latest video that depicts the enormous variety of Egyptians all sitting together on a boat. Mohamed’s video captures what we all want for Egypt; the kind of cohabitation and tolerance for all people that is at the center of Egyptian culture and character for 7000 years. We are people who embrace and love the “other.” We are people who have welcomed visitors from every corner of the Earth with open arms, open hearts and minds, with the best of hospitality and food and kindness. We are people that learned all the languages of the world in order to welcome our visitors warmly.

We are a people who are the salt of the Earth and our country is the Mother of the Earth – OM IL DONYA.  This is who Egypt has always been and will always be. And that is why we passionately reject any group amongst us that want to divide us. We will not be divided. We are Egyptians. We are Nubian, Berber, Bedouin, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Secular, Young and Old, Rich and Poor, Salafi, Sunni, Shiite, Catholic, Protestant, Coptic. We are dark and we are light skinned. We are fat and thin and tall and short. We have brown and blue and green eyes and some of us even have two different colored eyes like David Bowie. And many of us are blind and handicapped in other ways, but we are all ONE. WE ARE ALL EGYPTIANS and we will not be divided.

God bless and keep the Egyptian people and our beloved land and country safe from those who would divide us.

Raising Public Awareness Through Televion

This Spring 2013 I created a new course at the American University in Cairo (School of Global Affairs and Public Policy)  called Raising Public Awareness through Television Production.  Here is a bit about the course followed by the LINKS to the Videos that the students produced under my leadership.Students were required to conduct in-depth research on their topic and create mind maps.  They were then required to conduct focus groups in the community and test their ideas and ultimately their scripts with their target audiences before filming. Their community partners were amazingly helpful.The students decided to address the following issues:
1.) Domestic Violence, 2.) Trash and 3.) Sexual Harassment.

Students talk about awareness-raising and this class gives them a chance to go beyond talk and develop the research, writing, and film-making skills to make concrete progress in that direction. My students have been very enthusiastic about this experiential learning opportunity and I hope that AUC will be able to repeat it in the years to come. We already have request from UNDP to explore working on Regional women issues and empowerment by collaborating to have PSAs on common issues amongst Arab women to be aired on Satellite Channels.

A course such as this is an excellent way for AUC students from different disciplines to work together and at the same time to work within their communities and give real service to their country during this transitional period.  I can see this course expanding to include working partnerships between students in other disciplines including environment, women’s studies, public health, urban planning, development studies, water, etc.

After decades of keeping Egyptians in the dark about issues that affect their every day life, it is time that Egyptians are given pertinent information that will help the country develop and the people become educated and aware of their problems and more  importantly their solutions. PSAs televised on Egyptian TV are one instrument that can fulfill this promise.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Meade

I am very proud of my PPAD 570 students. They have worked very hard. I admire them and I expect great things from them in the future. I know they will continue to serve their communities and their countries. They have proven to be committed, intelligent, sensitive, tolerant, hardworking, thoughtful and I believe some of them will be Egypt’s future leaders.  FYI – they are all young women.  Below are the PSAs that they produce under my teaching and leadership.

The PSAs are all in Arabic and are made for Egyptian Audiences.  (We are working on English Subtitles for international audiences).

I would love to hear your comments and reactions.

Many thanks for your consideration.
Please share the PSAs with others.
Sincerely,
Nile El Wardani, MPH, PhD

Here are the links:  Please GIVE US FEEDBACK!

Domestic Violence:

http://youtu.be/pRmA2olerAY

http://youtu.be/DKAbAQ7luX0

Trash:

http://youtu.be/L40B5Tvst-Q

http://youtu.be/qfeCsZH-dzQ

http://youtu.be/8H_B8FpRnJE

http://youtu.be/zIJtjq6H-qg

Sexual Harassment : Group 1

http://youtu.be/pq5f0xz846A

http://youtu.be/n7O3i_RhR9k

Dr. Nile Regina El Wardani, MPH, PhD
Adjunct Professor in Public Policy
Public Policy and Administration Department
School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
American University in Cairo
Cairo, Egypt
www.nileelwardani.org

Response – American Chris Stone is stabbed by homeless Egyptian man outside American Embassy – Why?

First I want to send Chis Stone and his family my very best wishes.

Second, I want to tell Mahmoud Badr that your action was absolutely despicable. Violence is always wrong. You chose to hurt an American man (Chris Stone) who is one of Egypt’s best friends. Chris and other Americans like him deeply care about Egypt and the Middle East. It is people like Chris that have made the commitment to study and learn Arabic (not easy) and to advocate and care about what is happening in Egypt and the ME. Violence is never the right way to make your concerns heard. Mahmoud you are educated. There are many groups you could have worked with for the good of Egypt.  You should start by publicly apologizing to Chris and the American people, but most of all you should apologize to all Egyptians because your stupid action will hurt Egypt more than anyone else. Your crime will make people afraid to visit our beautiful country Egypt. I hope that you will find a way in prison to do something constructive for the good of our beloved Egypt. You have made yourself famous by this crime, now use your name to do something good and honorable in front of God and your country Egypt.

Third, Egyptians and people around the world should know that many Americans are just as angry (as Egyptians) at the US Government for the US Foreign Policies that have so damaged Egypt and the ME for decades. These damaging policies include; economic, agricultural, educational, foreign and domestic policies. Many of the neo-liberal-capitalist policies that have been imposed upon Egypt by the US Government, WB and USAID (for decades) are in part responsible for the enormous unemployment in Egypt among the youth. Mahmoud Badr is one concrete outcome of these criminal policies. The US Government is also responsible for propping up dictators for 60 years in Egypt. They and the US have turned Egypt into a “soft state” with little rule of law and enormous corruption. The US Government has been the vital partner to these dictators, who could not have wielded such power and corruption without the US Government backing. Many Americans are against the US Government on these awful policies and we are trying our best to educate other Americans and especially our government.

Fourth, Americans need to know that most Egyptians see the US as a counter-revolutionary force in Egypt. Americans like myself and Chris Stone and many others are against the US policies that have totally undermined and hijacked the AMAZING EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION. Such policies are wrong, short-sighted and criminal. Egyptians are rightfully angry at the US Government for undermining their grass-roots revolution, supporting the SCAF and MB and forcing quick elections that could easily control the end result. The American Government must not continue to speak of democracy and undermine democracy at the same. The people see right through it. They are wise, even those who are illiterate. American criminal foreign policies lead to hatred and more criminality. This tragic incident is a clear outcome. (See: Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think by John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed – Gallup Press)  This extensive study done by the US Gallup Organization gives the answer. The No. 1 reason why Muslims are angry with the US is  – US Foreign Policy.

Fifth, as an American and an Egyptian I can only hope and work towards better American foreign policies that are just, honest, and truly uphold democratic and ethical standards (they currently do NOT). Most importantly the US government must support the Egyptian people and not another American puppet regime in Egypt. 

Finally, I am saddened by this incident and want to tell the world that this is not at all representative of Egypt nor Egyptians. As a woman, I still feel safer in Egypt than most places in the world and certainly safer than Los Angeles (my home in the US).

May God Bless Egypt and May God give the American Government some wisdom to change the US criminal foreign policy paradigm and begin really supporting the people of Egypt rather than propping up another puppet regime that will do the bidding for “American interests” rather than the interests of the Egyptian people to live in peace, prosperity and honor.

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Ahram Online, Friday 10 May 2013
Homeless Egyptian stabs an American near US embassy in Cairo

The man who stabbed an American in Cairo on Thursday says he was motivated by a hatred of the United States.

Mahmoud Badr, 30, who holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce, was arrested on Thursday after stabbing American academic Chris Stone in the neck outside the US embassy in Cairo.
Badr told interrogators that he took his mother’s knife, travelled to Cairo by train from Kafr El-Sheikh, and went to the US embassy in search of an American citizen to kill, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported on Friday.

Badr attempted to enter the embassy by pretending to be seeking a visa.
Stone, an associate professor of Arabic and head of the Arabic Programme at City University in New York, was going to the embassy to finish some paperwork for his wife.
Badr told interrogators that he asked Stone his nationality then stabbed him in the neck when he said he was American.

He said his motive was anger against the United States.
Prosecutors have ordered Badr’s detention pending investigations into charges of attempted murder.

According to Al-Ahram Arabic new website, the knife was successfully removed from Stone’s neck during an operation.

Chris Stone was recently appointed head of the US-based Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) by the American University in Cairo (AUC).
He has been praised for his pro-Palestine views and his interest in Arab culture.
Egyptian man who stabbed Stone in Cairo: I hate America

Mahmoud Badr says he stabbed Chris Stone outside US Embassy in Cairo because he hates the United States