(L-r) Alexey Tevanyan, Georgy Borisenko, Sherif Gad, Fathy Toughan, Makarem El-Ghamry Photo courtesy of the Russian Cultural Centre
The newly named Russian ambassador to Egypt started his activities in Cairo meeting a delegation from the Egyptian Association of Graduates from Russian and Soviet Universities, to discuss means of enhancing bilateral relations.
Ambassador Georgy Borisenko was welcomed this week by Alexey Tevanya, director of the Russian Cultural Centers in Egypt, and Sherif Gad, president of the association at the Russian Cultural Centre in Dokki.
Gad underlined the success of the association's initiative to welcome Borisenko’s arrival in Cairo, in which notable members of the Egyptian community — including governmental figures, representatives of civil society, university presidents and public figures — participated.
The delegation of the association included Fathy Toughan, secretary-general of the Egyptian Association of Graduates from Russian and Soviet Universities, Professor Makarem El-Ghamry, who was recently awarded the Pushkin Medal from President Putin, former cultural advisor in Moscow Ali Ghaleb, together with members in the association, professors Samia Tawfik, Noor Nada, Mona Zeidan and Ayman Montaser.
During the meeting, members of the association seized the opportunity to present their vision for boosting bilateral relations between Egypt and Russia, suggesting the postponement of the Egypt-Russia Cultural Year 2020, which came at the initiative of presidents Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Vladimir Putin, for the coming year in order that the importance of this unprecedented historical event is not lost.
They also highlighted the importance of the friendship associations between the two countries and conveyed the proposal of the General Egyptian Book Organisation to sign the exchange of translation rights agreement, and the need to provide Russian language sections in Egyptian universities with more books and professors, and to facilitate visas for Egyptian businessmen while providing the necessary information about the Russian market, in addition to developing cultural relations and exchanging visits of ministers of culture in the two countries, which stopped 40 years ago.
Members of the delegation also expressed their desire to include the cultural field with all its branches in annual Russian grants, alongside the scientific field, taking into account the importance of developing technical and scientific relations in the field of mineral industries and organising joint scientific conferences.
For his part, Ambassador Borisenko welcomed the efforts and suggestions of the association’s members, confirming that Russia values the role of Russian and Soviet university graduates in building bridges of communication between the two peoples and a key partner in supporting and developing cooperation in all fields.
“Bilateral relations are witnessing a qualitative breakthrough thanks to the support of presidents Putin and El-Sisi, and Egypt being its largest country is key to the region,” he pointed out.
Borisenko disclosed in the meeting that the Egypt-Russia Cultural Year will be celebrated immediately after the Covid-19 pandemic abates, and will be continued into 2021.
He added that there are joint efforts underway to reduce the spread of coronavirus through cooperation between Russian and Egyptian medicine companies.
He also welcomed regular meetings with members of the Egyptian Association of Graduates from Russian and Soviet Universities to discuss visions of developing bilateral relations and to benefit from their experiences in various fields.