A couple of days ago I had the honor of being personally congratulated by the British ambassador in Cairo John Casson at his residence at the British embassy.
There in the beautiful terrace of his embassy based residence, I waited impatiently while overlooking a botanical masterpiece.
I had received a call earlier that day by Nevine Sharaf (the Chevening secretary of Egypt) telling me that Mr. Casson would like to meet me to have a chat which they want to record.
For those who are not familiar with the chevening award, it is a highly regarded grant offered by the British government to people with a special set of skills and qualities such as leadership and networking skills and who can influence decision making in their home countries. The award will sponsor scholars to pursue their graduate studies in the UK with one condition, which is to come back and start making change in the public discourse of their home countries. This year 3,225 persons applied for chevening from Egypt and 70 of them won.
Back to the terrace again...
Just a couple of minutes of waiting and then Mr. Casson walked in with a big smile on his face and welcomed me: "Ya Shady, it's nice to finally meet you". And as we sat, he went on in a perfect Arabic: "teheb teshrab shay?".
Over a cup of tea, we started chatting about my journey and future career plans. He was very interested to hear all about my long history of struggling with weight, how it has shaped me as person and how it has lead me to start my concept of "stop dieting and start nourishing".
Moreover, he gave me a lot of advice about studying and living in London. He also told me that he has faith in my ability to make positive changes in public health policies once I am back to Egypt. Furthermore, I jokingly told him that I am planning to meet Jamie Oliver once I am in London because I believe in his educative cause and that I want to collaborate with him on a project. To my surprise, he replied with a grin: "I will try to put you in contact with him. But anyways, you'll be Egypt's Jamie Oliver". At the end, he congratulated me again and before leaving I asked him if he didn't mind going on snapchat together. He replied: "Akid!"
Finally, I would like to thank Mr. Casson for his encouragement and support. I am looking forward to be deepening my knowledge and skills in Nutriton in the UK. In addition to that, coming back to realize my mission of changing the concept of dieting and eradicating malnutrition in Egypt.