Ramadan Nights: Community Culture Hub at AUC
AUC’s Ramadan Nights last Friday made it clear that although Ramadan is winding down, AUC’s future as a community culture hub is just beginning.
Nearly 300 AUCians, alumni and community members gathered in the University Garden behind the AUC Library for the event, the first of what will be a spate of arts and culture events led by AUC. Ramadan Nights, organized by Haynes Mahoney, special adviser for arts and community engagement, featured music from Ayamna El Helwa, an open art exhibit in the Sharjah Art Gallery, a soccer tournament and sohour.
Mahoney, whose focus is on opening AUC’s art scene up to the rest of Cairo, said the night welcomed more than 300 guests and was a success in terms of showcasing what the campus is capable of. “I’ve talked to some people here 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 MC, 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 impressive –– even the students and the young people. It’s an honor.”
He added, “Before I came here, I was just at the art gallery and saw that it isn’t just about drawing or painting. It's about the concept of the art. And that’s what AUC has always focused on: creating young men and women who have more to offer beyond their majors.”
As beams of light swept the University Garden, guests chatted around white table-clothed tables for 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 before the band as the audience sipped coffee, juice and tea.
Sitting with his family at a table near the back, guest Hussein Salama said he was intrigued when Mahoney came to his workplace to promote the event. As Ayamna El Helwa started to play the theme song from the 1985 Egyptian TV drama Howa wa Heya, he said he felt nostalgic.
“They probably don’t know the songs, but I do,” Salama said, laughing has he gestured to his daughters.
Mervat Abou-Oaf, 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. “It was much more difficult before, but now New Cairo has become a massive residential area,” she said. “We have a lot of potential. We have a lot of room, a lot of events, a lot of topics. We are big enough, and so, of course, AUC can be a hub of cultural events for New Cairo.”
Guests enjoyed eggs, fuul and bread for sohour before leaving, many of them reflecting on more than just the night’s entertainment.
“AUC is not just academia, not just our education,” said guest Sara El Lamoony. “Here, there is culture; there are parties, with alumni, people from AUC and different types of people… with all different themes. So, it’s really, really great.”
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