Monday, October 03, 2005

24 hours city, 24 hours day

I am back in the Netherlands from the surprise visit to 24 hours city Cairo. Of course it was unfair to be sent over there only for two days with hardly anytime to do culture. But I got al least the pyramids in. (by the third one, my stick was full, so no picture of the sphinx of Gizah).

The first pyramid with the boathouse in front

At night we had a discussion in a small group about the taskforce for e-content. The minister of Communication and Information Technology is not going to beat around the bush. He is going to set up a taskforce in order to develop e-Content in Egypt and be a leader in the Arab region.

On the left is Mrs Effat El Shooky, the eminent juror of the 2003 Grand Jury in Dubai, who tackled the minister for supporting WSA. On the right hand the Head of BBC Arabic Mr Hosam Sokkari, stationed in London but who happened to be in Cairo.

Of course the local e-Content competition is a first step. Looking at the support these people get from their government I am sometimes jealous. In the Netherlands we organise the competition without any support from the government (although at least one official showed up this year!). Also their participation in the World Summit has lead to contacts with people involved in the rest of the world. Now they want to go further. We talked about a kind of Content institute alike to the Finnish model, run by Irina Blomqvist. In this institute they could do academic work, do surveys and run an instruction programme of workshops, seminars, conferences and summerschools. And we also discussed the idea of an Arab Academy of Digital Media after the model of the European Academy of Digital Media (EADiM). In the coming period we will have to work out these thoughts as suggestions to the ministerial taskforce.

By 00.00h I was in the airport, waiting for my 2.30h flight to Amsterdam. It is just one of those days during which you are conscious 24 hours long.

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