- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Because Americans aren't traveling to the banks of the Nile very often these days, Egypt is taking the initiative by coming to the banks of the Potomac.
The steep decline in American tourists surely explained why Egyptian diplomats sponsored "A Night in Ancient Egypt" at the National Press Club last Friday, an event featuring sensuous belly dancers, exotic food and a pharaonic fashion show.
"Normally, I only get invited to speak to the press when there's bad news," said Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmy, happy for once not to be speaking "about the Middle East peace process or Iraq."
After a show of models and belly dancers undulating to the sound of beating drums, 700 guests wandered amid a display of Egyptian and Islamic textiles, carved boxes and handmade perfume containers similar to those sold in Khan El-Khalili, Cairo's vast market. Among the standouts: Nabil Makar, a Wheaton-based artist handsomely attired in an Egyptian gown called a galabia, presented an exhibition of paintings depicting Christian imagery from a Coptic Egyptian point of view.
The food, music, arts and crafts made up the "Egypt of peace, taste and culture, the Egypt we want Americans to get to know," said Hesham Elnakib, director of the Egyptian press and information office. "It's the oldest civilization on Earth."
"It is a reflection of our interest in trying to bring Egypt to you, our interest in engaging with America, showing you our culture, our thoughts and our beliefs," Mr. Fahmy said, "and hopefully also having the opportunity to host you back home in Egypt."
To that end, the choicest door prize Friday night was a five-star trip for two to Egypt.


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