Wishing our Muslim friends a blessed Eid

Sent On: 
Thu, 2018-06-14
Newsletter Number: 

A month-long of fasting has come to an end. Muslims all around have been fasting from sunrise to sunset. That is particularly hard for areas in the northern hemisphere since the days are longer. After Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, a period of three days that people in Egypt will use to visit families and friends or take a holiday.


I started Ramadan with an iftar on May 23 in Maryland, USA. That was a wonderful occasion where a mosque had invited local Christian, Mormon and Jewish leaders from the area. Mosques around the world have provided similar invitations. In Egypt many churches have done so as well. This is because iftar, the meal to break the fast, is an excellent opportunity for people of different religions and backgrounds to meet.


We were blessed with our Indian intern Dhananjai Dacha, a student at the Culinary Academy of India, the number eight college for culinary education in the world, he yesterday prepared an excellent iftar for our interns.



Our Center has become the largest internship provider in all of Egypt. The focus of our work is on intercultural dialogue, but dialogue is possible in so many different ways. This can be through working on a research paper, contributing to various social projects, and indeed also professional cooks can contribute to intercultural dialogue.


Student interns do not pay us and neither do we pay them. However students need support, they need someone to show them were to find the sources and contacts needed for their subjects of interest. Egypt is a country where things can be done if personal relations are in place. It is not simply a matter of looking up a name in an address book.  Each student comes with different questions and thus the coordinator must have a huge network in order to be able to respond to the wide variety of questions that students present.


Many believed that it would be impossible to have a professional cook like Dhananjai working in our office, but we linked him up to the Maadi Messenger, for whom he could visit restaurants and write restaurant reviews and recipes. This is typical for the kind of support we provide. Through our network, practically, no subject is impossible.


Yet, our program is under threat. The German organization Misereor informed us they will stop funding us per July 1, 2019 after a period of support for over 13 years. Yesterday Koen Vliegenthart, chairman of the Arab-West Foundation, wrote about new support from the Christian Reformed Church in The Hague for our work, but this is insufficient to cover the amount that we are losing with Misereor.


We need your support to keep this work going.


Wishing you a blessed Eid!



June 14, 2018

Kees Hulsman

Editor-in-chief Arab-West Report