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A word from the Director of the NVIC

Dear friends of the NVIC,

Already in our first semester of the academic year 2018-2019, the time has come to send you all an update of our activities in the previous months. During the summer, we have been busy teaching our courses open to ‘outsiders’, i.e. students/guests not enrolled in the programmes of one of our participating universities. We had another successful TAFL course (Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language). This course focuses on modern and efficient methods of teaching students, and is aimed at (aspiring) teachers of Arabic. We invariably receive very positive feedback on this course, which we organize twice a year: during the summer and in January (also in 2019!) see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/nvic/education/tafl-teaching-arabic-as-a-foreign-language).

Also during the summer, we taught a successful course to students of Arabic from Zürich (Switzerland). These students had prepared for our summer course during the second semester by taking our online (Skype) course. A short film was produced about the meeting of academics specialized in Islam Studies from the Netherlands and from al-Azhar University here in Cairo (March 18-19 2018). The short film can be viewed here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wO0Yq1lbCRX3oA83lHQSDNU9pXknjiIb/view. On the 23rd of September, a protocol for cooperation between the NVIC and al-Azhar was signed by the President of al-Azhar University, Prof. Mohammed Hussein Al-Mahrasawy, Dean of the Faculty of Language and Translation, Dr Taha Badri, H.E. Ambassador Laurens Westhoff of the Netherlands and yours truly. The purpose of this MoU is to further academic cooperation between Dutch universities and al-Azhar. Inspiring force of this initiative was Mrs Baukje Dijkstra of the Netherlands Embassy in Cairo, whom I should again like to thank here (see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/nvic/news/nvic-in-the-news-cooperation-of-nvic-with-al-azhar).

In our project of cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, we have over the summer been preparing the second phase of our course in Museology and Site Management. We organize this course with the Reinwardt Academy in Amsterdam and are able to do so by the generous support from the Netherlands Embassy in Cairo.  This second phase will be organized in early November for 20-25 participants, who are specialized in heritage. Venue will be the recently reopened museum in Sohag (see https://egyptianstreets.com/2018/08/13/sohag-national-museum-is-ready-to-welcome-tourists/). In June our assistant-director for Archaeology/Egyptology Dr Marleen De Meyer taught a private course “Introduction to Egyptology” which was again well received. In August, the sad news reached us that a great friend of our institute, Dr Dirk Huyge, had passed away on the 31st of July at the age of 61. We wish his partner, children, friends and colleagues strength with this terrible loss. For his In Memoriam, please see http://www.kmkg-mrah.be/memoriam-%E2%80%93-dirk-huyge-1957-%E2%80%93-2018.

On 17 and 18 September our institute co-organized a conference/workshop on “Egyptian Riverine Harbours” together with the Austrian, French archaeological institutes in Cairo and Egyptologists from KU-Leuven (see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/nvic/news/2nd-workshop-egyptian-riverine-harbours). The event was hosted by the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology (IFAO).
In September we also started our weekly Thursday lectures again, as well as our weekly film screenings on Sundays (see our program announcements on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NVICairo/) and also on our web page (www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/nvic).
On 14 and 15 September, Dr Ifdal Elsaket, who is our assistant-director for Arabic and Islam, together with the University of Ghent and the University of Antwerp (DICIS), organized a successful conference on “Cinema going in the Arab World”.  (see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/nvic/news/call-for-papers-cinema-going-in-the-arab-world-exhibition-distribution-and-audiences).
In mid-September, our new intern Marjam Peters from the University of Amsterdam joined our team. We look forward to working with Marjam (see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/nvic/news/meet-our-new-intern-marjam-peters).

From late September (until early December) we have also been teaching evening classes in Egyptian colloquial Arabic (see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/nvic/education/arabic-language-courses/egyptian-colloquial-arabic-evening-classes). We are very pleased to be teaching our evening courses of Dutch again (twice per week), this time to no less than 49 students (in two levels, see https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/nvic/education/dutch-language-courses). For an overview of our courses, please see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/nvic/education. Over the past few weeks, we have been receiving several permissions from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities allowing the different missions of our contributing institutions to carry out their archaeological/Egyptological field work.

Finally, on 25 and 26 November and with the generous support of the Netherlands Embassy in Cairo, we will organize a conference on Disability (see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/nvic/news/cleveringa-conference). The ERC project “Rethinking Disability” at Leiden University is led by Professor Monika Baar. Professor Baar will also read the ‘Cleveringa lecture’ in the evening of 26 November. Please note: the conference and lecture will take place at the Italian Cultural Institute because of this institute’s much better accessibility for the disabled. I am very grateful to Dr Paolo Sabbatini and his staff for his hospitality and willingness to host this event. The Italian Cultural Institute is located a two-minute walk away from our institute (3, Sheikh el Marsafy st., Zamalek, opposite “Beano’s”).
Please keep following us on our webpage (www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/nvic) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NVICairo/).

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