Beauty as a Space for Dialogue
Have you ever heard of the Rimini Meeting? I hadn’t. It’s a pretty cool event, though. Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers and students descend on the Italian city of Rimini for some inter-cultural inter-faith fun. There are famous speakers like the Dalai Llama, Mother Theresa, Pope John Paul II, and Cardinal Ratzinger before he was Pope Benedict XVI, as well as politicians, intellectuals, humanitarians, artists and others. They also stage sporting events, concerts and art exhibitions.
So, our teacher Wael attended the Rimini Meeting while he was studying abroad in Italy. This year, he’s decided to stage his own version of the same, and he’s asked for volunteers from the CASA program to assist at his Cairo Meeting. It will be smaller, naturally, this being the first Cairo Meeting, but even still Wael is expecting the biggest gathering to ever take place in Cairo without the presence of Suzanne or Pres. Husni Mubarak … or Pres. Obama. Just at the preliminary volunteer orientation alone we had over 200 people. There will be a concert, speakers, an art exhibition, and opportunities for journalistic exchange.
The meeting is next weekend, and I’ve volunteered as one of the interpreters for the meetings between Italian and Egyptian journalists. In the meantime, we’ve been asked to do the translation of several articles to be published among the conference papers, with our bylines as translators. Rachel and I are working on Wael’s editorial on the struggle of Arab intellectuals to balance Islam and modernity, and it’s not easy! Give me newspaper articles to translate any day … straightforward and plainly written, even if perhaps not as deep.
Stay tuned for dispatches from the conference itself next weekend!