27 February 2001 --
A lively debate characterized the meeting sponsored by the Architectural Committee of the Supreme Cultural Council of Egypt. The meeting was a formal seminar linked to an exhibition that had been presented at the "Hanager" exhibition hall in the Opera Complex in Cairo. The exhibition reflecting the current state of architecture in Egypt, and asks questions about post-modernism in architecture and local identity in a time of globalization. Chairman Yehia El-Zeiny invited Ismail Serageldin to participate in the debate and Serageldin made a major address that largely completed the speech of the other invited guest, social scientist El-Sayed Yaseen (who presented an overview of the meaning of the post-modern movement and its several different currents, and the context of the whole movement in today's world. Serageldin related his observations to the actual projects on display in the exhibition and tied these to two broad questions: the need for a better form of architectural criticism in Egypt and the recognition of the weakness of the architect's impact on the urban scene n Egypt, which he described as abysmal. It was a lively debate with standing room only and very active participation by the panelists (professors Aly Raafat, Abdel Halim Ibrahim, and Ezzeddin Fahmy, among others).and the.many professors, students and practitioners in the standing room only event. On the whole, all agreed that this was an excellent start of raising public consciousness about the issues of architecture and the urban environment and to engage a whole range of actors in this very important debate.