Diaa Rashwan (File photo: Al-Ahram)
General Coordinator of the National Dialogue Diaa Rashwan announced on Thursday a list of 16 names of acclaimed figures that will join the committees, including veteran actor Ahmed Abdel-Aziz and screenwriter Abdel-Rahim Kamal.
Nabil Abdel-Fattah, an expert in political Islamist movements at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, economic researcher Salah Zaki Murad, and political activist Yasser El-Hawary will join the committees.
The list also includes lawyer and human rights activist Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, , and Nasserist lawyer and women’s rights advocate Maha Abu Bakr.
Rashwan said poets and writers Ibrahim Dawoud, Ibrahim Abdel-Fattah, and journalists Mahmoud El-Sakka and Mostafa El-Kilany will join the committees.
Civil society experts Ahmed Abdel-Qader Tammam, Reda Shoukry, Mahmoud Mortada, and Mona Ezzat, and civil society activist Zeinab Abdel-Rahman Kheir are also on the list.
The addition of the 16 figures expresses the National Dialogue Board of Trustees’ keenness to ensure the participation of Egyptians from all walks of life in the dialogue, said Rashwan, stressing that these figures will “further enrich” the dialogue.
The coordinator added that the list of names was handed to the dialogue’s Board of Trustees by attendees of consultative meetings that he held with head of the Technical Secretariat of the National Dialogue Mahmoud Fawzy and a group of the figures chosen to join the committees.
The announcement comes a few days after the Board of Trustees announced that the dialogue, which has been in preparation since it was launched by El-Sisi in April last year, will commence on 3 May after the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan and the holidays of Eid El-Fitr, Sinai Liberation Day, Easter, and Labour Day.
Attendees of the consultative meetings affirmed the need for the dialogue to start at the announced date and expressed confidence in the keenness of all parties to secure the positive climate required for the success of the dialogue, Rashwan said.
The dialogue, which is set to bring together intellectuals, unions, and political parties, seeks to reach a common ground on priority issues in three main discussion tracks -- political, economic, and social -- via 19 subcommittees.
The National Dialogue has been active over the past year despite being in preparation.
Earlier this week, El-Sisi directed the government to study a proposal made by the dialogue’s Board of Trustees to renew the 10-year- legislation which regulates the work of the National Election Authority (NEA) to renew judicial supervision over all elections and referendums, which is set to expire in January 2024.
The dialogue participated in the Egyptian Economic Conference 2022 held in October, raising eight questions to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on critical economic issues, including inflation, budget deficit, and public debt.
*Correction: An earlier version of this article identified Mohamed Abdel-Aziz as an MP, member of the Presidential Pardon Committee and deputy head of parliament's Human Rights Committee