Tag Archives: 25th Anniversary

Egypt, Leadership, and Putting Men on the Moon: An Interview With Dr. Farouk El-Baz

Our 25th Anniversary Gala in Reston, Virginia is now just days away! 

140923_Photo Green El BazI was excited to have the opportunity to ask Dr. Farouk El-Baz, who will receive our Leading by Example Award at the Gala on Oct. 11, about the experiences and perspectives that have shaped his life.

Dr. El-Baz, a former NASA scientist who was born in Zagazig, is one of the most influential modern scientists to hail from Egypt. He has a long and distinguished record of service to Egypt and humanity.

Today, Dr. El-Baz plays a prominent role in the world’s scientific community. He continues to inspire students through his classes and research at Boston University, and has put forth a vision for a powerful and transformative Development Corridor in Egypt. In addition, Dr. El-Baz is currently serving on the Advisory Council of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

Nermien Riad (NR): You’ve spent many years, in many countries, doing research and teaching. Yet clearly, you retain a strong love for Egypt. Why is that?

Dr. Farouk El-Baz (FB): Egypt is a country indeed, but it is also a notion  a thought that pulls you in. Once you feel belonging to Egypt, it remains in your heart and in your mind. It is said that “visitors who drink from Egypt’s Nile must return.” If that is true for foreign visitors, then it is much more to those born in Egypt.

NR: You played a key role in many of NASA’s Apollo lunar missions. What lessons in leadership did you gather from your work to put man’s first footprints on the Moon?

FB: The leadership of NASA in those days had one objective: to encourage each individual in the workforce to achieve “more than what they think they are capable of doing.” Each individual felt that his job was essential to achieving that momentous goal of reaching the Moon. I was neither educated nor trained in the things I did then. They were accomplished by self-learning, dedication, persistence, and very hard work.

NR: Like Coptic Orphans, you have a long-term commitment to a better Egypt. How is your research on arid climates, dersertification, and aquifers connected to that?

FB: Upon completion of the Apollo program, NASA enlisted my help in programs that applied what we learned to the study of the Earth. This was done through the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, Skylab, and Landsat programs. Through my inputs, these missions produced images of Egypt that explained things in a bird’s eye view. I began then to apply the new knowledge to help Egypt, especially upon my appointment as science adviser to the late President Anwar Sadat.

NR: You’ve put forth a plan for Egypt’s development that focuses strongly on innovative land use. Could you tell us a little about that?

FB: The “Development Corridor” was designed based on my geological knowledge of the landforms of Egypt and the potential of using them for the benefit of future generations. It opens over 10 million acres of land that is just west of the Nile for urban development, agriculture, industry, etc., close to the densely populated centers. Thus, it limits urban encroachment on the fertile land of the Nile and opens more vistas for innovation by younger generations.

The Development Corridor envisioned by Dr. El-Baz.
The Development Corridor envisioned by Dr. El-Baz.

NR: What do you miss most when you’re not in Egypt?

FB: When not in Egypt, I miss family members and my friends and colleagues. However, the “social media” ameliorates this somewhat, as communications are now much easier than in the past.

To learn more details about the Coptic Orphans 25th Anniversary Gala in Reston, Virginia on Oct. 11, and to obtain tickets, please visit our Gala web page. There, you can also view a video of His Holiness at our Gala in Canada, including his remark: “Bravo for your service. And I’m not sure who’s happier — you, or the children you serve.” Details about the Nov. 9 Australia Gala are also available there!

Did You Hear What His Holiness Said About You?


Dear Friends,

September 28, 2014, was an amazing day. That’s when His Holiness Pope Tawadros II blessed Coptic Orphans by appearing in person at our 25th Anniversary Gala in Canada to accept the Leading by Example Award.

I can’t describe what an honor it was that His Holiness made the time to receive the award that evening in Brampton, Ontario. His presence was an incredible affirmation of the 25 years of work that all of us have put in, together, for the love of the children of Egypt!

Today, I’m writing to share a video of His Holiness’ remarks at the Gala. Here they are:

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Of course, when His Holiness speaks about Coptic Orphans, he’s talking about you. You are the reason we’ve been able to reach this milestone of 25 years and 30,000 children empowered. Without so many devoted prayers, so much faithful volunteering, and such generous support, thousands of children in Egypt would be living much harder lives and be far less equipped with the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty.

It’s only by the grace of God that  together, we’ve come this far in 25 years, and we’re so grateful that His Holiness chose to describe our work this way!

Two more Coptic Orphans 25th Anniversary Galas are now just days away! We look forward to seeing you at the celebrations in the United States (Oct. 11) and Australia (Nov. 9). To learn more about venues, tickets, guests of honor, and other details, please see our Web page

Coptic Orphans Visits U.S. East Coast Churches for Martyrs Feast, Coptic New Year

Abouna Guirguis Tadros of St. George Church, Cabin John, MD and Michel Awad, Coptic Orphans relations donor associate.
Abouna Guirguis Tadros of St. George Church, Cabin John, MD and Michel Awad, Coptic Orphans relations donor associate.

We have many great traditions in our Church, where we come together as one family and celebrate our shared pride in our Coptic heritage.

Many Coptic Churches recently celebrated the Martyrs Feast (El Nyrooz) and the new Coptic year. They had their annual festivals and the final summer Sunday school ceremonies.

Coptic Orphans staff members from our U.S. office were there celebrating these special events with our brothers and sisters. It was also a great blessing to spread the word and invite them to our 25th Anniversary Gala celebrating the children of Egypt. We visited and posted our Gala invitation at the following churches.

I’m excited that, as Coptic Orphans continues to grow, we’re visiting more churches and being visited at our U.S. office by more members of the clergy. These face-to-face connections with our community, by God’s grace, are one way that Copts in the diaspora can really get to know and feel what children in Egypt are experiencing today.

We’re very grateful to have had the chance to visit these churches, and to spend time with the abounas and members of the congregations.

I hope you’ll be part of the Gala celebrations as we launch our next 25 years of transforming lives in Egypt! To learn more about the Galas in the United States (Saturday, Oct. 11 in Reston, VA) and Australia (Sunday, Nov. 9 in Lilyfield, NSW) please visit our web page, where tickets can be purchased online. Tickets for the Gala in the U.S. may also be obtained by contacting Gala Director Elise Ravenscroft at eravenscroft@copticorphans.org or 202-531-0862.