First meeting of Cairo 18 initiative
"Cairo 18" initiative has launched the first session of a series of meetings to designate the purpose and goals of the project and put a work plan into effect.
The initiative, founded by Sawsan Morad Ezzelarab, chief editor of El-Beit Magazine published by Al-Ahram Media Foundation, is a non-profit initiative that aims at re-enlisting Cairo on the world cultural agenda as a hub for culture and creativity, attracting creatives from all over the world.
The three-hour first meeting was held at the conservation centre of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza, and attended by officials, designers and writers, including Sawsan Morad Ezzelarab, founder of the initiative, and Tarek Tawfik, director general of the GEM.
The meeting recommended forming a board of trustees for the initiative that will be responsible for communicating with official and private bodies and associations, pursuing concrete steps towards organising "Cairo Design Week," a major design and arts event that the initiative hopes will attract artists and designers from inside and outside Egypt.
The meeting recommended taking advantage of the GEM while it is still under construction to hold events that will promote tourism, Egyptian heritage and museum itself, also recommending that the shops of the museum sell high quality Egyptian merchandise to represent the best of the industry and Egypt's heritage.
Morad said that it was necessary to end the first meeting with serious recommendations that lay out a framework for the initiative's mission of promoting Cairo's heritage and its design industry.
She underlined the need to hold a big exhibition alongside the aspired to Design Week, as other significant world capitals do. She also suggested holding an art symposium on the GEM grounds, to document the story of the building of such this new Egyptian icon.
Mohamed Amin, head of the board of trustees of Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, said that the initiative is a great chance to plan for Cairo's future after the cabinet and government buildings move to the new Administrative Capital.
Director of UNESCO culture programme in Egypt, Tatiana Villegas, expressed his organisation's support for the initiative and its goals, adding that the UNESCO office in Cairo is willing to put efforts in organising the initiative's events.
Mohamed Abu-Se'da, head of the National Organisation for Urban Harmony, said the initiative is a golden opportunity to plan for a good and healthy environment in which creativity and design can thrive. He stressed the importance of organising a Cairo Design Week, and said it can be a starting point and chance to spread awareness of the importance of design in our lives.
Designer Nadine Abdel-Ghaffar highlighted the importance of partnerships between the public and private sectors, saying that such partnerships would allow the initiative to gain funding for its intended projects.
The meeting was attended by journalist Mohamed Amin, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, Tatiana Villegas, director of the Culture Unit at UNESCO's Cairo office, Mohamed Abu-Se'da, chairman of the National Organisation for Urban Harmony, Ahmed Helmy, chairman of the Chamber of Furniture Industries, designer Azza Fahmy, board chairman of Azza Fahmy Jewelery, Mohamed El-Taher, CEO of Ismailia Real Estate Investment, Adham Nadim, managing director of NADIM Industries and founder of NADIM Heritage and Development Foundation, Amr Helmy, designer and founder of Amr Helmy Designs, Randa Fahmy, designer, board chairman of Randa Fahmy Designs, Omar Hekal, CEO and head of strategy at The Brand Company, Sherif Abdel-Hady, chairman of Mohm, Moahmed Faris, designer, architect and founder of Alchemy Design Studio, and Nadine Abdel-Ghaffar, designer, founder of ART D' Egypte, among others.