Internships at the Center for Arab-West Understanding; celebrating Egypt

Sent On: 
Tue, 2014-04-15
Newsletter Number: 

Celebrate Egypt? In the present circumstances with the ongoing political violence in Egypt? Yes, we absolutely do. Not because there are no problems. Our daily news overviews show demonstrations, targeted attacks on security and military, and authorities lashing out against the culprits. We hope and pray that this violence will soon come to an end.

But even in their current circumstances, Egyptians remain extremely friendly and hospitable people. Our current interns can attest to their experiences of this!

On January 1, I became the editor of the Maadi Messenger, a well-designed monthly publication targeted for the expatriate community in Egypt, with 4,000 copies per issue in circulation.  Those not living in Egypt can see previous issues online at:

In February, we gave the Maadi Messenger the subtitle, “Celebrating Egypt.” The Maadi Messenger is not designed to provide political news. Expatriates living in Egypt already absorb so much negative news about Egypt, yet experience the hospitality and friendliness of Egyptians on a daily basis. We therefore decided to subtitle the February Maadi Messenger issue “Celebrating Egypt,” and want to inform expatriates about the many good things that can be found in Egypt: traditions, culture, and of course, the many wonderful sites.

Friends of ours in the Fayoum Oasis, Maged  Zarif, manager of the Fayoum Oasis Company for pottery, and Helnan Auberge Hotel in Fayoum, have given four of our interns a tour around the Fayoum Oasis. They have taken our interns around to meet people and see the sites around the oasis. The end result was the ability of our interns to provide several contributions to the Maadi Messenger.

One such example is Fabian Weinert’s article “German Intern; Enjoying Cairo.” “Are you crazy? Really?  Why Cairo?” His family asked him. Naturally, the news being reported coming out of Egypt caused him to pause for thought, but he hasn’t regretted his decision to come to Egypt at all. In his article, he described the fabulous times that he has had during his time in Egypt. The title of another intern’s article, Byeongsun Ahn’s “The best way to get to know Egypt is through meeting Egyptians,” also speaks volumes to the experiences that our interns can have during their stay in Egypt.

Maria Hönig and Farah de Haan wrote what they felt following their visit to Fayoum; seeing the beautiful locations, meeting friendly people, and almost no tourism. The lack of tourism is not only devastating to the country, but it greatly affects the livelihood of Egyptians.  Their contributions to the Maadi Messenger of May include:

These are, of course, not the normal subject-matter covered in the Arab-West Report. But that’s why it’s nice to be able to write and contribute to both publications; for Arab-West Report on Muslim-Christian relations and issues of importance for Arab-West Relations, and for the Maadi Messenger for contributions on culture and sites.

Internships are a great way to get to know Egypt. With the additional opportunity for interns to write for the Maadi Messenger, they will also occasionally get the chance to travel and see more than just Cairo. And through our office at CIDT, we will continue to introduce them to interesting Egyptians and assist them in report writing.

The proceeds of the Maadi Messenger go to charities; the editor and contributors are not paid. This is fine however, as this is a mutually beneficial agreement for both the Maadi Messenger and our interns. It also increases the awareness for our own work to expatriates in Cairo. And last but not least, we hope we can contribute a little to Egypt’s economy by encouraging internal tourism in Egypt.

Yes, there is violence and we have giving interns strict instructions not to visit Sinai and to avoid demonstrations. If guidelines are followed, Egypt is still a country one can safely visit.

For a good internship program we also need a good intern coordinator and editor to edit their work. Jenna Ferrecchia, after years of good work, has unfortunately left us for a better paying job.  In Robert Forster, a former intern of ours, we have found someone willing to take over her work starting September 1. We much appreciate all those who have contributed to our work, but it is not easy and we would much appreciate your continued contributions to the work we do. Donations can be made through Paypal or through a transfer to the Stichting Arab-West Foundation in The Netherlands.


Cornelis Hulsman,

Editor-in-chief , Arab-West Report