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One Night in Ramadan

The American University in Cairo's Ramadan Nights event brought together nearly 300 AUCians, alumni and community members

By Elizabeth Lepro, photos by Ahmad El-Nemr| This story appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of AUCToday.

Click here to read a Q&A with Special Adviser for Arts and Community Engagement Haynes Mahoney.

Ramadan Nights, organized by Haynes Mahoney, AUC’s special adviser for arts and community engagement, featured music from Ayamna El Helwa, an open art exhibition in the Sharjah Art Gallery, a soccer tournament and sohour.

Man with microphone and tan suit speaking into a microphone
Haynes Mahoney on stage at AUC’s first Ramadan Nights event. Photo by Ahmad El-Nemr.

Mahoney, whose focus is on opening AUC’s art scene up to the rest of Cairo, said the night was a success in terms of showcasing what the campus is capable of. “I’ve talked to some people who are in the entertainment and public relations business, and they’re very interested in AUC as a place to bring their events in the future,” Mahoney said.

The night’s Master of Ceremonies, who provided plenty of laughs, was AUC alumnus, director, actor and producer Rami Imam ’98. “I’m happy to be back,” Imam said. “It’s an honor.”

He added, “I was at the art gallery and saw that it isn’t just about drawing or painting. It’s about the concept of art. And that’s what AUC has always focused on: creating young men and women who have more to offer beyond their majors.”

A man in a white galabeya plays the flute on stage.
Other performers — including some AUCians — performed before Ayamna El Helwa. Photo by Ahmad El-Nemr.

As beams of light swept the University Garden, guests chatted at what Mahoney said many described as a “beautiful event of classic simplicity.” Some AUCians, including Nourhan Haffez, educational outreach specialist at the AUC Center for the Arts, performed prior to Ayamna El Helwa as the audience sipped coffee, juice and tea.

Sitting with his family, guest Hussein Salama said he felt nostalgic when Ayamna El Helwa started to play the theme song from the 1985 Egyptian TV drama Howa wa Heya. “They probably don’t know the songs, but I do,” Salama said, laughing as he gestured to his daughters.

Mervat Abou Oaf ’88, ’02, professor of practice in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, said reaching out to the New Cairo community for events like these is integral as the area grows. “We have a lot of potential ­­— a lot of room, events and topics,” she said. “We are big enough, so, of course, AUC can be a hub of cultural events for New Cairo.”

A group photo of performers on a stage
Ayamna el Helwa with Haynes Mahoney and Rami Imam. Photo by Ahmad El-Nemr.

 

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