Secretary’s Blog: 19th February 2017

Dear Members, friends and readers who have found this by mistake,

Yet again I have neglected to update my blog and I can only apologise, although that apology is wearing a little thin.

Reflecting on recent events, we were very fortunate to have The Rt Hon Charles Clarke to give the 2016 Sir Michael Weir Lecture on 28th November to an audience of over 100. I do have a copy of his talk and would be happy to email it if you are interested. My email address is now We have been so lucky in our speakers and this is due in no small part to it being named after our much missed founder.

In January, a team from the BES went to Glasgow to take part in “Eggheads” on BBC2. We called ourselves, “The Ramses Squares”. Unfortunately, the Eggheads were on a roll and won their 13th game in succession. The programme will be shown on Tuesday, 7th March at 6pm on BBC2.

On 6th February we dipped our toe into the pool of religion, with a discussion, sponsored by Dr. Ahmed El Mokadem, at the Army and Navy Club on Inter-Religious dialogue: Why Bother?The speakers could not have been more impressive. They were The Rt Hon Peter Hill, Bioshop ofBarking, Senior Rabbi Baroness Neuberger, DBE, Shaikh Ibrahim Mogra and His Grace Bishop Angaelos. The skilful Chairman was Andrew Whitley, a former BBC journalist. We had an audience of over 160 and the only regret was the shortage of time to take further questions. It was agreed that we should have another, similar one and this I will work on.

Debates to get a good audience and taking this into account and couple with it a desire to attract younger members our next event will be at the Khalili Lecture Theatre at SOAS and a debate on the motion “This house believes that Minorities shape the future of Society in the Middle East and the UK”. There will be speakers from the following schools; Riddlesdown Collegiate, The Latymer School, Whitgift School and Wilson’s Grammar School. The speakers, one from each school, will have 8 to 10 minutes (2 school proposing and 2 opposing the motion) and it will be followed by a Q and A and a reception. The evening will be chaired by either Baroness Symons of Dr. Hassan Hakimian, Director of the LMEI at SOAS who is joining us on putting on the event. The theatre takes 140 so we hoped for a full attendance. A flyer on this will follow soon. Again, our sponsor is Dr. El Mokadem.

Next is a talk by Dr. Mohamed El-Shahed, the new Curator of the British Museum’s developing Modern Egypt Collection, on 25th April at King’s College London. We are pleased and very grateful to collaborate with Mr. Michael Cassis, President of Kings College London, Egyptian Society who is securing a lecture theatre to assist in creating this unique event. We look forward to more collaborated events soon. A flyer will be done on the Modern Egypt Event in due course.

On 5th May I am leading a group of 14 BES members to Florence on a weekend trip to see the Egyptian Museum and other collections (and a quick peak at the Leaning Tower of Pisa on the Monday as we return home). One highlight will be a visit to a winery which will include tasting session and dinner. Some members who do not imbibe are coming along to treat it as an Italian Cultural Event!

This is just a taster for the beginning of the year. More will happen; however, I need to prod your curiosity. If you have any ideas, do please let me know.

Warmest wishes


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