Laura Mekhail, 2021 Bocelli-Jameel Scholar at the Royal College of Music, sings at the Great Pyramids in Giza,Cairo

Community Jameel and Sawiris Foundation for Social Development announce commitment to enhancing opportunities for youth across Egypt

Cairo, Egypt
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October 4, 2022

Community Jameel and Sawiris Foundation for Social Development (SFSD) announced their joint commitment to enhancing opportunities for young people across Egypt at an event held today in Cairo, Egypt. The event, which was hosted with participation from the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London, the world’s leading conservatoire, and in the presence of renowned mezzo-soprano‎‏ Farrah El Dibany, marks the latest step in a multi-pronged, collaborative approach between Community Jameel and SFSD to champion arts and culture in Egypt and the Arab world at large.

Taking place by the iconic Pyramids of Giza, the event was held in the presence of SFSD founders and board members Naguib Sawiris and Samih Sawiris, and Fady Jameel, vice chairman of Community Jameel, and featured a performance by Laura Mekhail, an Egyptian student of opera at the RCM, where she is an Andrea Bocelli Foundation-Community Jameel scholar and has also been supported by SFSD.

Aiming to connect potential opera students with experts at the RCM, the event provided insights into the professional opportunities available in the field; highlighted available funding opportunities; and engaged with other partners from Egypt and the region to support local young artists in the making. The RCM is the global top institution for performing arts (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2022).

SFSD and Community Jameel have previously collaborated on several initiatives and seek to expand their partnership to maximise their impact and empower youth across Egypt and the region at large. The joint work between both organisations is centred on poverty alleviation, with a particular focus on supporting evidence-based programmes to generate impactful policies. In addition, Community Jameel and SFSD seek to promote arts and culture within Egyptian society through increasing access to arts education and empowering opportunities, including funding. The collaboration also aims to promote a cultural shift in the perception of higher education in the arts across the region.

George Richards, director of Community Jameel, said: “Egypt is a country rich in musical talent, with a glittering history of singers and songwriters. Tonight, in the shadow of the Pyramids, we look ahead to Egypt’s bright future in the field of opera, with the world-famous Farrah El Dibany and the rising star Laura Mekhail, an Andrea Bocelli Foundation-Community Jameel Scholar at the Royal College of Music in London. Alongside SFSD, Community Jameel is committed to expanding opportunities for Egyptians — and young people across the region — who seek to advance their study of music.”

Noura Selim, executive director of SFSD, said: “This night constitutes a uniquely important step toward achieving our shared values. We are indeed proud of the successive achievements we have made through our fruitful relationship with Community Jameel. What’s more, we intend to extend our collaboration to encompass an additional range of interventions, in order to better utilise our resources and have a stronger impact on the lives of the Egyptians we serve. Together, we decided to celebrate the students of the prestigious Royal College of Music, as well as all the rising young artists who are truly incredible change agents, and whom also represent the future when it comes to the nation’s cultural enrichment."

The announcement is the latest in an expanding partnership between SFSD and Community Jameel. In March 2022, the organisations both supported the launch of the Egypt Impact Lab, a collaboration between the Egyptian Ministry of Planning and Economic Development and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) Middle East and North Africa office, which aims to strengthen the effectiveness of Egypt’s poverty reduction policies by rigorously evaluating promising and innovative governmental programmes and using results to inform scale decisions.

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