Friday, 24 September 2010

Alexandria Coptic Conference summing up

The Coptic conference in Alexandria, September 21st - 23rd, 'Coptic life in Egypt' which was held in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina - the Library of Alexandria, Egypt, appeared to be a great success -
Unfortunately I was unable to attend, but I set up a live video conferencing link from Swansea University here in Wales, and followed all of the presentations that were filmed from the small theatre.

If you wish to look at a list of the abstracts you can download them here..

Jacques Van der vliet from Leiden gave a very good succinct introductory talk on Coptology and its importance to Egypt and the world, bringing in a diverse range of subject matter and new projects that will help to promote Coptic studies and the Coptic heritage in general.

There were a number of 'new faces' on the block so to speak, in the form of post graduates from a number of institutions who gave some interesting presentations outlining their current research - although perhaps a few lessons in public presentations/speaking may be called for as they did rather flash through the photographs and slides as if there were a fire in the theatre...having said that, the content was thorough and interesting.

A diverse range of subject areas were covered, including, architecture (both Coptic and Islamic) art, culture, history, the church, literature, language and texts.

The final keynote speech was given by Prof, Stephen Emmel, director of the Institute of Egyptology and Coptology at Muenster, Germany, and who is now in fact in Cairo for a year where has has the first chair in Coptology at the American University in Cairo.

Stephen gave an excellent talk on the future of Coptic Stidies, where areas of education, heritage and methods of dissipation of Coptic research were covered and discussed with some enthusiasm at the question and answer session.

Overall, the conference certainly birthed a few lively debates on topical issues, and helped to place the field of Coptology (Coptic studies) back on the map once more.

It is encouraging that conferences covering the field of Coptology are increasing, and possibly will help to promote many more symposiums of a more local nature, encouraging more of the younger members to present their research.

I look forward to hearing of a second conference, and inshallah, I will be attending.

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