Former Emirati students in Cairo tell audience at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2024 their experiences in a session titled ‘Egypt in my Heart’
AIBF Artists

Former Emirati students in Cairo tell audience at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2024 their experiences in a session titled ‘Egypt in my Heart’

May 1, 2024

Abu Dhabi, UAE – 30 April 2024 – Former Emirati students in Cairo brought their experiences of living and studying in the Egyptian capital to life at the 33rd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF 2024) in a special panel discussion titled ‘Egypt in My Heart’.

The session brought together His Excellency Bilal Al Budour, Emirati academic, researcher, diplomat, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cultural and Scientific Association, and lawyer Hussain Al Jaziri, while Egyptian journalist Sherif Amer moderated the discussion.

The moderator opened the session by displaying the airline ticket that Hussain Al Jaziri had kept since his first trip to Cairo in 1972, adorned with the image of the Pharaonic Queen Nefertiti, and stamped with the name of the United Arab Republic, which was the name given to Egypt and Syria during their three-year unification from 1958 to 1961.

Al Jaziri expressed his gratitude for the choice of the title of the session, which emphasises that Egypt lives in the heart of every Arab. He recited a poem that captured the depth of the Arab world’s attachment to Egypt throughout history, adding that among many other Cairo landmarks, such as Merryland Park in the Heliopolis area, the shape of the pyramids is the image of Egypt that he will never forget. Al Jaziri revealed that he was part of the first federal student delegation of the UAE Ministry of Education following the establishment of the Union in 1971, along with 40 other students who went to Egypt to study various disciplines, including Sharia and law, which he studied for five years.

The Emirati lawyer explained that he values the social relations with the Egyptian community, noting that the Emirati youth’s bonds with each other were strengthened during that first journey outside the UAE.

For his part, H.E. Bilal Al Budour applauded Egypt’s selection as a Guest of Honour at the ADIBF 2024, describing it as a ‘home within a home’ rather than a guest. H.E. recalled his arrival in Egypt in 1971, when the country was still experiencing war, and there were barricades in front of the buildings and the windows that were painted blue. Despite the hard times, he explained, the Egyptian people continued to live simple and happy lives. He was the first Emirati student to study Arabic at Al-Azhar University in Egypt.

H.E. Al Budour said that he gained a great deal from life on the streets of Egypt and listening to the stories and different experiences of the Egyptian society, including those of Al-Azhar University students who came from various Egyptian governorates. He said the time spent living in Egypt was a genuine opportunity to develop his character, and also gain a positive impression of the Egyptian people.

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