This just in from Deborah Goldblatt, the World Café Community Foundation's Director of Resource Development, who is travelling in Egypt right now:
"We can clean up the streets, build bridges and skyscrapers, but if we aren't building people, none of that matters."
You can feel Mohamed el Sawy's personal warmth throughout el Sawy Culturewheel, the center in Cairo, Egypt he founded in 2003 as a one-stop venue for music, art and theater. An architect and engineer by training, Mohamed is the son of a famous Egyptian writer who has a deep love for all aspects of Egyptian culture. He is a puppeteer, musician and craftsman as well as a supporter of the free exchange of ideas.
Mohamed's dream of a town hall and community center for the new Egypt became reality during the days of the January 25th revolution. The Culturewheel stayed on the pulse of the latest events by hosting debates and presentations, in addition to its artistic events, in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect.
His goal is to provide a platform for Egyptians to become even more thoughtful, active and engaged citizens. In the past months, membership has grown quickly and he is currently in talks to open more cultural hubs in other Egyptian cities. The spirit of the Culturewheel – and the spirit of el Sawy – is catching on.
Just yesterday, in Cairo, I had the great pleasure of meeting Mohamed. One of my quests in visiting Cairo was to place a World Café book in his hands. As he received it from me and we spoke about what was possible in hosting World Cafés at Culturewheel, his eyes lit up, he smiled widely and appreciatively…. and his dream expanded right in front of me.
This is a tiny glimpse into the world of the World Café and the work of the World Café Community Foundation. Through a spirit of generosity, we keep passing it forward. We have all read a book that changed our lives and then told as many people as we could to read it. This was one of those moments in Mohamed's life (and mine) and I am excited to hear soon about the first World Café at Culturewheel, built under the bridge and over a dump in Cairo.
Please help us now to catalyze the most critical conversations of our time by making a contribution, any contribution – they are all welcome – and keep the gift of the World Café moving forward.