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Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo, Weekly Lectures

  • September 13:  Dr. Rudolf de Jong
    Bedouin Dialects of the Sinai Desert

    Through the ages, the northern Sinai Desert has served as the natural land bridge between Asia and Africa. With the spread of Islam from the 7th century, speakers of Arabic came from the Arabian Peninsula and crossed into non-Arabic speaking regions like Egypt and farther west into North Africa.
    Today we find Bedouin tribes inhabiting the entire Sinai Peninsula. Most tribes arrived there during the Middle Ages and some even before Islam.
    The northern Sinai littoral today is identified as an area of transition: from the dialect of the tribes in the Negev Desert in the east, the transition is embodied by a number of dialect groups forming a continuum from the ‘Bedouin’ dialect type of Northwestern Arabic to the ‘sedentary’ dialect type of the eastern Nile Delta.
    Although more recent developments such as the completion of the Suez Canal and the creation of the state of Israel may blur the picture of the area as culturally homogeneous, we can still clearly see how the dialects of Bedouin tribes of northern Sinai linguistically interconnect with the dialects spoken in the Negev and the Nile Delta.
    Based on findings of field research in the area for over fifteen years, the speaker will show how this area of transition has taken its linguistic shape; the transition inside Sinai is visible in the gradual disappearance of ‘Bedouin’ features of the Negev, yielding to more typically ‘sedentary’ features of the Delta.
    Dr de Jong will use techniques of ‘multi-dimensional scaling’ to illustrate differences and similarities of the dialects of Sinai in slides.

    As of July 2012 Rudolf de Jong (PhD 1999) is the new director of NVIC. He studied Arabic at the University of Amsterdam and specialises in dialects of Arabic. He has authored two volumes on the Bedouin dialects of Bedouin tribes in the Sinai Desert of Egypt as well as several articles on a variety of Arabic dialects. He has taught Arabic language at Amsterdam University College, the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University and the University of Groningen. He is Secretary of the ‘Association Internationale de Dialectologie Arabe’ and co-General Editor of the Online Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics at  Brill.
  • September 20:  Marcel Seyppel en Florentine Visser 
    Less is More. MED-ENEC. Energy Efficiency in the Mediterranean Construction Sector 

    "The population in most southern Mediterranean states is growing rapidly. More and more people are moving to cities in search of work and housing. As a result, energy consumption in these countries is set to double over the next two decades. At the same time, the world's fossil energy reserves are dwindling, and energy prices are expected to soar in the near future. However, there are alternatives to this scenario: energy efficiency and renewable energies. These solutions have considerable potential in the construction sector, as between 25 and 45% of overall electricity consumption can be attributed to buildings. The use of energy-efficient technologies and renewable energies such as solar-powered water heaters will help to reduce fossil energy consumption significantly.MED-ENEC is funded by the EU to promote energy efficiency in the construction sector of the south east Mediterranean countries. GIZ, the German development organization, together with its consortium partners Ecofys (Netherlands) and ADEME (France) are implementing the project in nine countries.More Info: www.med-enec.eu." 

    Florentine Visser is MED-ENEC’s Key Expert for Low Energy Building and Urban. As architect Florentine is specialized in energy efficient design and construction for dry hot climates. With over 15 years experience in design and construction of buildings, first in the Netherlands, recent years in Jordan and Egypt, her portfolio includes environmental, (energy and water efficient) Urban Planning and Building Projects. She managed the Jordan Pilot Project of MED-ENEC and was involved in the construction of the Dutch Embassy in Amman (the first LEED certified Building in Jordan).
    Marcel Seyppel is MED-ENEC’s Key Expert for Communication and Knowledge Management. Recently Marcel moved to Egypt to join the MED-ENEC team for his experience in media, journalism and communication, not only in Germany, also for the EU and in Croatia. Leading his own PR agency in Germany for the last 13 years, he produced the documentary film: "Nature is the future”. This film tells the story of ten Energy Efficient Buildings supported by MED-ENEC.
September 27: Dr. Geoffrey Tassie
The Process of Neolithisation in Egypt

The spread of domesticated cereals and animals out of the Levant to both Europe and Africa has been a subject of much debate. In Egypt the earliest evidence of farming practices are at present found in the Faiyum and Merimde Beni Salame ca. 7,000 cal BP (5,000 BC), some 3,000 years after the beginning of agricultural practices in the Levantine PPNB. Recent research has shown that there was a time delay in mixed economy farming reaching the Southern Levant. Whereas in the Negev and Sinai rather than taking up mixed economy farming, the Timnian herder-gatherer tradition based on goat herding supplemented by hunting developed just before 7,950 cal BP (6,000 BC). It appears that it was this group that transmitted goat herding practices to Egypt at 7,850 cal BP (5,800 BC), whereas the full farming package was transmitted to Egypt ca. 5,350 BC by Late Neolithic Levantine migrants.The uptake of farming practices by communities in the Nile Valley only occurred because they already had a predilection to manage wild animals, manipulate wild grasses and had a technology that was ready for the process of Neolithisation. The choices taken and adaptations made to the new environment and different ecological zones that developed after the Last Glacial Maximum laid the foundations for the distinctly different cultures of Egypt and the Sudan to those of the Levant. These heterogeneous regions took separate paths to food production, and it was the path that was chosen by the communities in the Nile Valley that formed the basis of many of their cultural and religious traits even after farming practices had been introduced from the Fertile Crescent. Within 500 years of the end of the Neolithic, a relatively short timespan, the agrarian communities of Egypt had formed into proto-states and by 3,060 BC had formed one of the first pristine states, while the Southern Levant, restricted by its limited resources, remained at a stage of relatively small-scale social complexity.

Dr Tassie has participated in, and is still engaged in,  numerous expeditions in Europe (Beddingham Roman Villa, Sussex; Slaughterbridge Medieval Village, Cornwall), the Levant (Tell Jezreel), Arabian Peninsula (Qatar) and Egypt, (Kafr Hassan Dawood, East Delta; Faiyum; Quesna and Kom el-Ahmar, Central Delta; Sais, West Delta; Alexandria and the South Sinai). His fieldwork interests are mainly, but not exclusively, excavation methodology, surveying techniques, environmental and biological archaeology, archaeological drawing, epigraphy and photography. This concern with standards of archaeological fieldwork is shown by the publication of Standards of Archaeological Excavation: A Fieldguide to Methodology, Recording Techniques, and Conventions.



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