Nile Gathering in Aswan, Egypt, 10-29 Jan 2013


The Nile Project – TRANSCEND Media Service

The Nile Project Launches with Its First Major Event the Nile Gathering in Aswan, Egypt, 10 – 29 January 2013

The world’s longest river runs through 11 countries (Congo DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt) and touches the lives of 400 million people. The Project’s mission is to connect the people of the Nile basin through a cultural dialogue that evokes Africa’s iconic river as a shared ecosystem.

The Nile Project was founded in August 2011 by Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis and Ethiopian-American singer Meklit Hadero to address the Nile basin’s cultural and environmental challenges using an innovative approach that combines music, education and an enterprise platform. They made a reconnaissance journey across East Africa in May, 2012 where they have engaged with musicians, development organizations and cultural institutions to take part in the Project and help shape its various programs.

The first of these programs, the Nile Gathering, will take place at Fekra Cultural Centre in Aswan, Egypt, between 10 – 29 January 2013. The Gathering encompasses a four-day strategic planning workshop (10 – 14 January) that builds on the Project’s vision, followed by a two-week music residency (15 – 29 January) to develop music that can generate empathy and inspire cultural and environmental curiosity.

The workshop will bring together expertise in fields of environment, culture, agriculture, finance, education, development, nonviolent communication, cross-cultural dialogue, conflict resolution and intercultural learning. A team of Art of Hosting facilitators will engage participants in conversations that integrate their respective disciplinary and cultural perspectives and contribute to a common understanding of Nile issues. The outcomes will serve as blueprints for intercultural dialogues integral to the Project‘s programs and activities.

During the residency, musicians from the 11 Nile basin countries will collaborate to translate this intercultural dialogue into a new body of songs, drawn from the rich and diverse genres, traditions and instruments found in East Africa. The music residency will provide a space for the musicians to learn about one another and compose and record new music to be performed in Africa and around the world.

Nile Project Programs

Nile Tour: using a boat made of recycled water bottles, a collective of Nile Project musicians and environmental educators will sail down the river, from the Mediterranean to Aswan in 35 days, performing concerts complemented by participatory workshops where local audiences learn about the Nile’s cultural and environmental fabric.

Nile Stories: complementing the Nile Tour, this will be a web-based dialogue platform where Nile citizens can share their perspectives on the river through live conversations as well as short-format videos.

Nile Camps: annual summer camps for young musicians from the 11 Nile basin countries. During the day, they explore local ecosystems and in the evening, they express their learning through music.

Nile Curriculum: an educational initiative that offers a holistic approach to Nile river ecology and its inhabitants with a multidisciplinary curriculum exploring history, geography, cultures and ecosystems of the Nile basin.

TEDxNile: a conference featuring scientists, thinkers and artists with Nile-related ideas worth spreading.

Nile Enterprise Platform / Nile Fellowship Program: this platform will channel newly acquired cultural and environmental understanding towards concrete action. Partnering with social enterprise organizations such as Ashoka, the project will train and empower East African youth to develop innovative solutions that address social, cultural, environmental and economic challenges relevant to the Nile.



This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 31 Dec 2012.

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