The American University in Cairo (AUC) President Lisa Anderson and Mass Communication Professor Sherine Fahmy have recently spoken at the exhibition "From Facebook to Nassbook", a featured exhibition at the Shubbak Festival, a window on contemporary Arab culture presented by the mayor of London. Anderson gave a talk about the Egyptian revolution, the future of Egypt and how the transition affects the university and its mission, while Fahmy discussed the role of social media in engaging and motivating young people through the revolution. “All those thousands of youth could not get together and have one single objective without interacting through social media,” she said. The exhibition was attended by representatives of the Egyptian Embassy in the UK; Reedah El Saie, director of the Mica Gallery; Raymonda Raif, director of AUC’s Alumni and Trustee Affairs; Saad El Din Ibrahim, Egyptian-American sociologist and author; renowned jewelry designer Azza Fahmy and British guests who were interested in the revolution.
Revolution-inspired artwork by AUC faculty and alumni took center stage at the exhibition, presented at the Mica Gallery in the Knightsbridge/Chelsea neighborhood of London. “From Facebook to Nassbook” borrows its title from the methods by which events of Egypt’s revolution were communicated, beginning first through social media sites such as Facebook. When government intervention disabled the Internet, word of mouth became the medium through which information was exchanged and people were assembled; hence the term “nassbook” was coined, utilizing “nass,” which is the Egyptian-Arabic word for “people.”
From Facebook to Nassbook captures the spirit of pre- and post-revolutionary Egypt with a focus on the power of people-powered networks to cut across social classes, erase religious differences and overcome intergenerational barriers. The exhibit showcased nine contemporary Egyptian artists including AUC faculty Ashraf Fouda and Thomas Hartwell, and alumni Amena El-Saie, Natalie Ayoub and Amina Elotiefy. Among the works are Fouda’s Tahrir stones signed by celebrities in Egypt. The Tahrir stones were first displayed at AUC’s Festival of Freedom last April.
London Mayor Boris Johnson launched the Shubbak Festival on July 11th at the Gardens of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The launch was attended by the Egyptian delegation which included AUC Professors Sherine Fahmy and Ashraf Fouda, Photographer Mohamed Gabr and a number of AUC alumni. Attending the launch also were the Egyptian Ambassador and his wife, ambassadors from other Arab countries, British and Egyptian artists. The Egyptian delegation was highly welcomed by the Mayor and was interviewed by different newspapers and TV channels.
“The Mica Gallery was a sponsor of the Mass Communication Association’s Festival of Freedom and asked how AUC, as the university on the square, could play a role in the gallery’s July Shubbak event” said Fahmy. “I suggested taking a full evening for AUC. Knowing that President Anderson would be in London at the time, it all came together, and we were able to create a full sub-event at Shubbak under the umbrella of AUC and the Revolution.”