The head of AGYA’s new Regional Office in Cairo Dr. Amr Radwan presided over the opening festivities, held at the city’s historic Al-Salam Theatre, under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Research. Over 300 participants were in attendance from a wide range of scientific sectors from Egypt, Germany and across the Arab region. A lively tone was set for the day with beautiful renditions of Egypt and Germany’s national anthems played on classical Middle Eastern instruments by the talented all-women ensemble ‘Al-Dandana Al-Nisa’iyya’, whose music punctuated the entire day’s events with energy and spirit.
‘AGYA Represents the Spirit of the Polymaths in the Present.’
Germany’s Ambassador to Egypt Julius Georg Luy emphasized Germany and Egypt’s mutual respect and commitment to scientific cooperation as ‘one of the key pillars’ of the countries’ bilateral relations. ‘With the opening of the AGYA office in Egypt,’ he declared, ‘we are articulating and marking a truly new form of scientific cooperation between our two countries. AGYA, with members coming from Germany, Egypt and the Arab world, is the ideal format to continue the proud tradition of great polymaths and scientists like Imhotep, Ibn Al-Nafees and Leibniz.’ He also cited the importance of the office’s location ‘right in the heart of the Egyptian Academy’ at the Ministry of Higher Education and Research as an important diplomatic achievement, providing ‘the perfect opportunity for exchange and networking between our brightest minds’.
‘Education, Research and Innovation are the Backbone of Modern Societies that are Fit for the Future.’
Representative of the German Federal Minister of Education and Research (BMBF) Mr. Peter Webers credited AGYA with ‘making a decisive contribution to cooperation between German and Arab societies and scholars since 2013’. Accordingly, he announced the award of an additional 3.3 million euro in funding to AGYA from the BMBF ‘on account of its outstanding dynamism and networking utilities and the high-profile cooperation of its members and networks in Germany and the MENA region’. The purpose of scientific cooperation and joint research between Germany, Egypt and the Arab world, he declared, ‘is to find solutions to urgent societal and technological challenges’ and ‘leads to more scientific and cultural diversity on all sides’.
‘AGYA’s Regional Office is a Sustainable Structure for Arab-German Dialogue Based on Mutual Respect.’
Prof. Dr. Verena Lepper, Egyptologist and AGYA Principal Investigator, highlighted the opening of AGYA’s Regional Office in Egypt as a milestone showing how far AGYA has come since its founding five years ago. Today, she announced ‘AGYA constitutes an impressive network that spans the whole Arab world and Germany. AGYA has 60 members and 20 alumni who have conducted more than 150 projects since 2013. It is a thriving academy that generates innovative interdisciplinary approaches and solutions.’ Lepper further expressed her gratitude to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for its continued support for the growth and advancement of AGYA. ‘The substantial budget increase of 3.3 million euro’, she stated, ‘shows the appreciation of the amazing projects and the high commitment of the AGYA members. It allows them to continue working on this level and even to establish new project lines for the first Alumni that are going to be inaugurated as part of the festivities.’
AGYA Co-President Ahmed Al-Guindy added that, for him, ‘AGYA has always been about opportunities: Opportunities for understanding, both of scientific knowledge as well as ourselves and each other. The new office in Cairo will expand these opportunities even further through more face-to-face interaction between AGYA members which ‘creates strong bonds that transcend the standard scientific interaction.’
‘The AGYA Regional Office is Both the Consequence of our Cooperation and Elevates it to a New Level.’
Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Sakr, the President of ASRT and AGYA Advisory Board Member, affirmed on behalf of the Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, ‘the commitment of the Government of Egypt to the AGYA Regional Office at ASRT premises as one of the most efficient and effective platforms to serve young scholars from Germany and Arab states for the benefit of our people.’ Sakr expressed ASRT’s excitement to cooperate with the AGYA office in Cairo to extend its services and activities in the region. From the very beginning, he noted, ‘German and Arab partners were involved in planning, discussing and forming AGYA. Together, we built an organization that brings the two worlds together and allows for deep exchange, to contribute to common solutions for common challenges.’
DATE and Venue
25 October 2018
Al-Salam Theatre, Cairo, Egypt
Pictures by AGYA, ASRT