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On Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 November 2014 a successful multidisciplinary conference on the Sinai Desert was held at the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo. In these Proceedings of the Multidisciplinary Conference on the Sinai Desert the reader will find a selection of papers read by participants during this conference. The Sinai Desert is a key area in many senses, and this peninsula has through the ages served as a natural land bridge between Asia and Africa. The multidisciplinary Sinai conference covered a wide variety of topics, such as: dialects spoken in Sinai today by Bedouin tribes, the proto-Sinaitic alphabet as discovered at Wadi Maghara, treasures of St. Catherine’s Monastery, small farming initiatives by Bedouin, archeological finds, customary law of the Bedouin, etc.
The two days were divided into four sessions, each covering their own theme: topics in Archaeology, in History, Contemporary subjects and two sessions discussing different aspects of Heritage Conservation. The variety of topics was aptly illustrated by the variety of lecturers who presented their papers. Over 25 speakers participated, ranging from Egyptian, Italian and Greek scholars to inhabitants of the heart of the Sinai Desert: each lecturer talked about his or her subject with passion underscoring the uniqueness and diversity of the area. The conference was very well attended and was also well received by the participants themselves. The multidisciplinary approach allowed for a truly interdisciplinary exchange of thoughts between speakers and audience. We can look back on a very successful and interesting conference. We conclude that the conference reached its goal: to map at least some of the diversity of one of the historical key areas in the Middle Eastern region: the Sinai Desert.
We would like to thank all participants and everyone else involved in making this conference such a success. We owe special thanks to the Netherlands Embassy in Cairo for their generous support, which enabled us to organize the conference.
Dr Rudolf de Jong
Director of NVIC