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Egypt

An informal space where we can all learn together more about the rich Egyptian history and culture!

Members: 26
Latest Activity: May 9, 2014

Amarna Diplomacy - A Short Video Introduction

The fourth is AMARNA DIPLOMACY. The beginning of diplomacy is usually traced back to Italian renaissance cities (Venice, Milano, Genoa) when city states started exchanging resident ambassadors back in the 15th century. Today, it is clearly proven that the first diplomacy began much earlier. It was in Tel el-Amarna 3.400 years ago. More is available in the video....

Video: Amarna Diplomacy

Discussion Forum

Egypt's animal mummies

I do not have much time to be a very active student but I have enjoyed reading the posts. I wanted to add a little about this month's issue of National Geographic (November) which has an interesting…Continue

Started by Marsha Guthrie Nov 11, 2009.

Alexandria 1 Reply

De - I do not know if you felt disappointed when you visited Alexandria. It is a good example of "managing expectations". There are high "visual" historical expectations linked to Alexandra (library,…Continue

Started by Jovan. Last reply by Deirdre Williams Nov 2, 2009.

Akhenaten & Amarna

I forgot that we have "in house expertise" in archeology. Mina, please be more proactive. Mina and De mentioned Akhenaten. He is probably one of the most controversial among pharaohs. He moved…Continue

Started by Jovan Nov 2, 2009.

Who was the most famous female ruler of Ancient Egypt? OR What years are included in "Ancient Egypt"

According to the Eternal Egypt site, "Queen Hatshepsut is the most famous female ruler of ancient Egypt."What about Cleopatra, then?According to Wikipedia, Hatshepsut (or Hatchepsut, pronounced…Continue

Started by Virginia (Ginger) Paque Nov 2, 2009.

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Comment by Amr Elsadr on February 3, 2011 at 3:58pm

Thanks for the wishes Deirdre. Everyone here is coping as they see fit. Ever since the Internet came back on a lot of debates have been going on. It's hard to figure out what the majority opinion is. There are still massive demonstrations going on against Mubarak's regime, and there are those who support him. There are also a growing number of people who really just want all this to be over and for normal life to resume with the hope that Mubarak will keep his word concerning his stepping down in September and free elections taking place. Many of them are organizing online.

The problem facing young secular, and non-party affiliated (NDP and opposition) Egyptians is that they are truly not represented. Even when the President reached out to the opposition to start a dialogue (which is definitely a necessity right now), the proposal was to speak to the opposition parties whose total number of followers combined still represent less than youth, NDP members, and Muslim Brotherhood separately. It's really difficult to decide what to do without having a channel of communication. This is really what we need to do.

Comment by Deirdre Williams on February 3, 2011 at 1:09am

I have been watching the various news broadcasts from Egypt and remembering the IGF in Sharm el Sheikh. Particularly I am remembering the young people who worked so hard at social reporting and producing the daily news sheets. Your hospitality in 2009 makes Egypt now a very real place for me.

The BBC has just reported that the Internet is accessible again in Egypt. I want to send you all my best wishes for your safety and for a peaceful and satisfactory resolution. 

De from the Caribbean.

Comment by Magaly on November 4, 2009 at 9:09pm
I regret a lot for not be available to join all of you who is attending the chats. However it is amazing on how new things I've learned just reading the comments :-)
It will be my first time in Egypt! And I just know what I've studied at the school when I was 12-13 years old... great expectations at the same time I'm worried... as I'm planning to spend more days to explore Cairo.
Comment by Virginia (Ginger) Paque on November 4, 2009 at 6:20pm
I am planning on attending the discussion tomorrow--we just click on the Chat link on the right hand side of the top blue toolbar, right? I hope everyone is planning to come. I am looking forward to hearing your anecdotes about Egypt.
Comment by Jovan on November 4, 2009 at 5:10pm
Here is my story about Egypt...

I discovered Egypt very early, through the stories of my father, who was part of the UN peacemaking forces in Egypt back in the late 1950s. When I was very young he used to tell me stories about Giza and the pyramids. Maybe because of that, I like history. In school I preferred historical stories to simple memorizing of strange names of pharaohs or specific dates. In the early 1990s I moved to Malta where I was teaching at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies. Every year we had two Egyptian diplomats as students. After a long pause, through them, I continued my exploration of Egypt..... More recently I met colleagues from the Egyptian IG community. They have provided me with a new perspective of the link between ancient and modern Egypt. I am sure that Nermine, Amr, Ally, Yassir, Christina, Manav, Hisham, George and other friends will help us during our two weeks of “navigation” through Egyptian history.

Here are a few aspects that always fascinate me when I speak about Egypt....

One thing is TIME itself. There are thousands of years of history in Egypt. It has a smooth flow of events, peoples and generations. Each of them adds a layer of dreams, loves, wars, hates. Such a long history should make us humble, especially in this era when we think that everything starts with us (chrono-narcissism). The idea of eternity is in every aspect of Ancient Egypt. If you look at the way Egyptians draw people you can see that the artistic style has not changed for a thousand years. How many artistic styles have we had in the last hundred years?

The second thing on this list is the NILE RIVER. It is rare to find one place where geography had such a dramatic influence as it did in Egypt. The Nile River is very central to Egypt in all ways. It is part of the collective sub-consciousness. It is an integral part of Egyptian history. Here I will start with the first question for our course discussion. The division into Lower and Upper Egypt usually confuses foreigners, because it is not based on the common geographical perception of moving from down (south) to up (north). In this case – thanks to the Nile and geography – south is “upper” and north is “lower”. The first question for our small quiz – where is Cairo located – in Upper or Lower Egypt? This is my favourite question when it comes to maps, geography and our perception of the world...

The third is the BUZZ OF CAIRO. My Egyptian friends do not share my view that the buzz (noise) of Cairo is particularly pleasant. The buzz is for me somehow the “noise of history”. This is how I “hear” Ancient Egypt (without the cars and horns). It is a pity that we cannot save “historical sounds”. What was the sound on a street corner in Geneva or Beijing one century ago? We save images, we save writings, but we cannot save sounds. When I go to Cairo, the noise of Cairo is the “historical buzz” of ancient times. It helps me to transcend the here and now and travel in the history of Egypt.

The fourth is AMARNA DIPLOMACY. The beginning of diplomacy is usually traced back to Italian renaissance cities (Venice, Milano, Genoa) when city states started exchanging resident ambassadors back in the 15th century. Today, it is clearly proven that the first diplomacy began much earlier. It was in Tel el-Amarna 3.400 years ago. In Tel el-Amarna there were embassies, treaties, ambassadors, exchange of gifts, privileges.... Everything that describes current diplomacy. The first international treaties were signed during this period. The sophisticated way of thinking of Tel el-Amarna’s diplomats is simply fascinating. They had almost all of the elements of today’s theory of diplomacy, including balance of power, advice on how to negotiate, etc. Tel el-Amarna is also important in that it reminds us that diplomacy is not just a European invention. Every civilisation contributed to the development of diplomacy. All civilisations have had to negotiate, since time immemorial when our predecessors realised that it was better to hear the message than to eat the messenger. In this long diplomatic tradition, the collective genius has developed various techniques of negotiations, face-saving, constructive ambiguities,....

Please bring your stories, questions and doubts to our discussion. Best, Jovan

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So you are fascinated in the rich Egypian culture, history and society as well?

Welcome to our course where you can learn through exchange. This is a peer-to-peer learning where everybody will bring a personal story and impressions of the proposed reading. This is not, by any means, a formal learning process!

How can you start?

1) Click "Join this group" so you can post messages on our Discussion Forum below or add Comments to the Wall.

2) Join the discussion!
Comment by Deirdre Williams on November 3, 2009 at 4:10pm
OK - so I should have stood on my head - for Lake Victoria read Caspian Sea. Does this mean that the Arabian world was not fixated on North the same way we seem to be?
When I was growing up the sea was at the bottom of the road, which was also north. Currently the sea from my office window is the Caribbean and west, but I have a lasting perception that the sea is always north. It looks as if, for the Egyptians, the Red Sea was the most important, the "centre of the world".
Comment by Deirdre Williams on November 3, 2009 at 4:03pm
At first I saw a very long elephant with several people in howdahs with umbrellas riding on top, but then I remembered my tutorial this morning, during which I did a brisk gallop through 1500 years of the history of Western Europe - with a shaky handrawn map on the blackboard (St Lucia is approximately here - that far away Miss? - and Egypt is here) so I'm guessing a map. I think I can see Lake Victoria as well. Now I'll go and see if I was right :-)
Comment by Eva on November 3, 2009 at 10:18am
Hi everyone, I am joining because of my fascination with Egypt and its way of life. There is so much richness, warmth and an 'I can' attitude.

My introduction to Egypt was similar to Jovan's-- that is, meeting each year the various participants in Malta. These were wonderful memories made even more concrete with the lasting friendships and the number of trips we made to Egypt. I can never forget the feeling of Cairo, the people, the sites and 'leaving my life in God's hands' while attempting to cross the streets'. All of this grew on us and with the help of our Egyptian participants, we decided to spend some time discovering more from Alexandria to Luxor and Aswan. It was an adventure arriving with 3 small boys ( ages 6, 4 and 2) in Cairo and trying to find a way up the Nile on our own. We did it and discovered the beauty of Luxor and all of the other archaeological treasures along the Nile to arrive finally at the Aswan Dam. I was intrigued by the history of the Coptic and the Nubian people because the differences between Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor and Aswan are striking.

Having small kids with us meant that our trip never followed as planned, but rather we spent a great of time at different doctor's clinics along the way. Our time was spent more doing the 'off the beaten track' spending time in local neighborhoods than visiting tourist sites, and I must admit, I am happy to see the other side of Egypt.

We saw the grandness of Ancient Egypt and now it would be interesting for me to learn more about this history and how it forms Egypt's mindset today.
Comment by Jovan on November 2, 2009 at 12:16pm
Here is the first quiz in our course on Egypt: http://www.diplomacy.edu/links/quiz. Before you click for the answer, try to answer it yourself. The answer will lead us to an important issue in discussion about Egypt, Mediterranean and modern world.
Comment by Mina on November 2, 2009 at 12:11pm
Dear Jovan, I have to join the discussion as this is the subject that somehow connects with my original profession - archaeology. I admire the history and culture of ancient Egypt.
During my studies I was particularly interested in the Akhenaten's revolutionary ruling period and his strength to completely abandon the traditional way of thinking - introduce monotheism, international relations (Amarna letters), perception of life and beauty (realistic over the idealistic)... The veil of 'mystery' that covers his reign was always interesting to me...

Looking forward to joining the course...
 

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