ArtScape July 21-23, 2017
Kosheri and Sweets March 5, 2017
BLASCC members, guests and friends gathered for an afternoon of business and socializing, successfully connecting via video conferencing with Sister City committee representatives in both Luxor and Alexandria.
Sahar Hammoda, a chemical engineer, is secretary of the Alexandria Sister City Committee. She spoke of three projects of particular interest
- Trash clean up project in a limited area near the University of Alexandria;
- Skye and other collaboration between a school in Alexandria and one in Baltimore;
- “Train the trainer” for nurses to improve patient service in Alexandria.
Committee Chair Ahmed Nouby Moussa spoke from Luxor. He has been involved with the Baltimore Luxor Sister City effort since it began in 1982, when Donald Schaefer was Mayor of Baltimore. Ahmed was affiliated with the Egyptian Embassy at the time. He is now working to bring members of the revived committee to Baltimore in May to celebrate the 37th anniversary of our Sister City relationship.
Baltimore Sister Cities, Inc., President Gislin Dagnelie brought an updated Memorandum of Understanding signed by Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. This will be delivered to the newly-named Governor of Alexandria for his signature as well.
Luxor dancers perform at Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.
See more photos HERE. Click HERE to watch the performance.
New Officers Elected August 2016
The BLASCC is one of several sister cities now under the auspices of Baltimore Sister Cities, Inc., newly incorporated as a 501c3 organization. On August 9, 2016, Tharwat Abouraya was elected Chairman of BLASCC for 2016-18. An active member of the committee for the past two years, Abouraya is a geographer by education from the University of Alexandria, Egypt. For more than 20 years, he was a senior executive at American Express Company and the American Automobile Association in the U.S. He has been co-chair of the Friends of Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and board member/coach for Empowered Women International.
Nahla Elshimy (Reda) has been elected as an Honorary Board Member. The wife of Egypt’s Ambassador to the United States, Yasser Reda, Nahla Elshimy is a member of the Egyptian Red Crescent, the International Club of Washington, D.C., and Cairo, and the Diplomatic Spouses Association.
Karen Leggett-Abouraya was elected secretary. A journalist, children’s author, and co-chair of the Friends of Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., her award-winning
book Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books tells the story of Egyptian protesters who protected the great library of Alexandria during the 2011 revolution.
BLASCC treasurer will be Jon Davol, a long time BLASCC board member and treasurer. Davol is a real estate, travel and tourism professional in Washington,
Dina Rady , At Large Board Member, is Professor of Economics at Ein Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, and Adjunct Professor of Economics and researcher at American University, Washington, DC.
Abouraya says, “I am looking forward to leading various projects and continuing the BLASCC’s commitment to serving Baltimore and the Egyptian community, including re-establishing the relationship with the Luxor and Alexandria Governors.”
To Egypt! October 2015
The Baltimore Sister City Committees and the Baltimore Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) sponsored the participation of Baltimore County librarian Paula Willey in a special conference at the library in Alexandria, Egypt in October 2015. With support from Friends chair Karen Leggett Abouraya, the BA organized a conference on “informal education,” focused on all the educational opportunities in museums, libraries, zoos, after school programs, etc. Karen presented her book Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books along with co-author and illustrator Susan Roth. Paula offered a presentation on helping families recognize the importance of reading at home. More details about the conference here.
Karen and her husband Tharwat also attended the International Friends of the BA meeting in Alexandria, along with Friends from Egypt, Britain, the Netherlands, Mexico, Greece, France, and Australia as well as Friends organizations from California and Minnesota.
Baltimore Artscape – July 17-19, 2015
The Baltimore-Luxor-Alexandria Sister City Committee joined sister city committees from Rotterdam, Netherlands; Kawasaki, Japan; Xiamen, China; and Piraeus, Greece to host an exhibit at Baltimore’s downtown Artscape festival. Over three very hot days, we introduced Baltimore residents to their sister cities. Visitors received tiny treasures when they successfully used a toy crane to lift containers from the sister city ports – papyrus bookmarks, plastic figurines of ancient Egyptian or Greek gods, fortune cookies, lollipops shaped like tulips, origami shapes.
Visitors could have their name written on a bookmark in Chinese characters or stamped in hieroglyphics on a cartouche. There were also opportunities to purchase traditional Egyptian crafts as well as cookbooks and children’s books. Belly dancer Nina Amaya brought her scarves and captivating music to several street performances during the festival.
Celebrate Egypt Garden Party
by Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandria DC, MD, VA – May 31, 2014 – Alexandria, Virginia
Kin+ Cargo: Exploring Baltimore’s Sister Cities
Kin + Cargo: Exploring Baltimore’s Sister Cities was a public art exhibition in a PODS container at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Ashley Molese, a graduate student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, borrowed objects from residents of Baltimore’s Sister Cities to explore life in these port cities. Baltimore currently has active Sister City relationships with Rotterdam, Netherlands; Kawasaki, Japan; Xiamen, China; Piraeus, Greece; and Luxor and Alexandria, Egypt. The exhibit includes Japanese tea sets, a bottle scraper and bollard paperweight from Rotterdam, jump ropes, porcelain, tote bags and fabric.
- Exhibit curator Ashley Molese and
Friends of the BA co-chair Tharwat Abouraya
In the past, the Baltimore-Luxor-Alexandria Sister City Committee has hosted student interns, librarians from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and tours to Egypt. Read more about those events here. Most recently, the Committee used a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide clean drinking water to Nagaa Village Gad Al Kareem near Luxor.
Even in the small space of a PODS container, there is a chair and settee so visitors can read anecdotes about the various objects or look at maps, meet other visitors and imagine the connections and similarities between their life and life in China, the Netherlands or Egypt.
Luxor Clean Water Project Completed – and Reported in “African Urban Poverty Alleviation Program” by Sister Cities International
Baltimore Luxor Alexandria Sister City Committee (BLASCC), together with members of the Luxor Sister City Committee in Egypt, successfully administered a grant from the African Urban Poverty Alleviation Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Former BLASCC President Amy Riolo applied for a grant in 2011 which paid for the construction of a water pipeline from the Tiba potable water source to Nagaa Village Gad Al Kareem. The water pipeline was constructed by an Egyptian contractor and completed in 2012, providing a clean, steady, source of water for the village’s 6,000 residents.
Gad Al Kareem is a rural agricultural community located outside Luxor. Before the pipeline was constructed, the community suffered from poor quality drinking water and now they are very happy to have clean water for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
The Luxor Clean Water Project is an excellent example of cooperation between Baltimore and our sister city Luxor, using a grant to help alleviate poverty and improve public health in a rural community in Egypt. Our Committee hopes to administer similar grants in the future.