James Watt » Ambassador to Egypt

Salute to Egypt

It is never the right time to say goodbye. But that is what I have to do as I end my three-years as British Ambassador to Egypt. Three years packed with turbulent political change, and filled with both hopes and disappointments. By chance I am leaving on the anniversary of the peaceful mass demonstrations of 30 June last year, a date of huge significance. Millions upon millions of Egyptians came … Read more »Salute to Egypt

The road to social justice

Last Saturday I attended the opening of the 20th Annual Conference of the Economic Research Forum, a Cairo-based institution with international reach and an excellent reputation. The theme was Social Justice – a phrase that occurs in the political programmes of all factions and parties in Egypt – and Economic Development. I cannot do justice in this short blog to the depth and range of the discussion, but I want … Read more »The road to social justice

FLYING INTO THE FUTURE

Feature image for:  FLYING INTO THE FUTURE

Anniversaries are for taking stock, of both the past and the present.  As we enter a year of important centenaries in recent world history, above all for Europeans but for many others too, it was good to begin by the event we held on Sunday 9 March with the Children’s Centre for Civilisation and Creativity, formerly known as the Children’s Museum in Heliopolis, Cairo.  We were commemorating the pioneering flight made … Read more »FLYING INTO THE FUTURE

Another chance

I return to my blog after what seems a century at least of absence. But everything before 30 June, for those of us living in Egypt, seems to belong to the distant past. Such has been the intensity of what Egyptians have lived through. Never has political change been felt more deeply, coming as it does already after two and half turbulent years since the revolution of 25 January 2011. … Read more »Another chance

Defending the right to speak

I was reading the UNESCO webpage on World Press Freedom day, which starts: Every year, May 3rd is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom: to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. I was thinking that the theme chosen for this … Read more »Defending the right to speak

The heart of Egypt

I have just come from attending the opening of the new extension to the Magdy Yacoub Heart Foundation Hospital at Aswan. A remarkable institution not simply on account of its impeccable world-class design and equipment. But also of the spirit which inspires it. A spirit of joyous and humble service to mankind. Everyone one of the staff there has this spirit, inspired by the living example of that outstanding Egyptian, … Read more »The heart of Egypt

Who inspires you?

Feature image for:  Who inspires you?

Who inspires you? Is the question I like to ask Egyptian friends. Who is the figure you most admire? Who is the person that makes you most proud to be Egyptian? Or who represents the best of Egypt?  The question usually remains unanswered. Very few people come up with a name which would be recognized by the majority. Often it comes from a personal experience – of a parent or … Read more »Who inspires you?

Who inspires you?

Feature image for:  Who inspires you?

Who inspires you? Is the question I like to ask Egyptian friends. Who is the figure you most admire? Who is the person that makes you most proud to be Egyptian? Or who represents the best of Egypt? The question usually remains unanswered. Very few people come up with a name which would be recognized by the majority. Often it comes from a personal experience – of a parent or … Read more »Who inspires you?

Running the Marathon

The second anniversary of Egypt’s revolution of 25 January 2011 is now upon us. I detect little sense of celebration in the public mood. Not because Egyptians reject the revolution itself, but because so many of the hopes it engendered have not been fulfilled. For the great mass of Egyptians this applies especially to their hopes of better economic conditions, above all in jobs and pay. There is still passionate … Read more »Running the Marathon

An Important Step to Long Lasting Peace

I am delighted to see the Gaza ceasefire agreement announced last night. Congratulations to President Mursi and Egypt for taking on the role of mediator, and for securing an important set of commitments by the two sides. Not only is there to be an end to the suffering of civilians under bombardment. But a series of talks are to begin aimed at resolving some of the long-standing disputes between Israel and … Read more »An Important Step to Long Lasting Peace