January ‘13
Insight Interview

January ‘13
Adham Abdel Salam
Adham Abdel Salam


    


As you hear his voice, Adham Abdel Salam is no stranger to the microphone. His exciting tone, enthusiastic spirit and remarkably comical attitude, has made him one of the best radio broadcaster on Nile FM and Egypt. He is well known for hosting the 'evening session' on weekdays but also, imperative non-profitable organisations to introduce their goals to the listeners on Saturday nights, and above all, he knows how to convey messages in a light and appealing way. Insight's exclusive interview shed the light on Aware programme while revealing a bit of Abdel Salam's charismatic personality and interests.

How did you discover your passion? And how did you manage to practice it?

I started off as a supply chain management student in the Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, and discovered passion for words, communication. I never thought I would do well in media, but when I got the chance, I liked it. I remember one day, I was sitting with a couple of friends and they pointed out that I have the style, confidence and skills to perform stand up comedy shows. By chance, I found a stand up comedy performance in Maadi, so I attended it, admired it, and then contributed in many similar shows. That was until I was offered a job at Nile Fm to present The Evening Session, and this is how it all started.


What are your hobbies?

I love risky activities like, mountain climbing, scuba Diving, Sky Diving and sand & Snow boarding. I practiced kung fu, Muai Thai & Brazilian Jiu Jistu for many years as well.


You host a programme called Aware with Adham. How did the idea first come about?

The idea hit me on the first day at work. They set me on the microphone to host a show listened by thousands of people out there. I felt it was just a huge responsibility to entertain people while delivering messages that benefitted the community. I introduced the idea and found great support by those in charge.


Tell us about the programme

Basically, the weekly programme sheds the light on influential Non Profit organisations and Social development initiatives who are building our community into a better one. Every Saturday, I interview an NGO and focus on their objectives and goals. Then I enthuse them to pursue wider aims and encourage listeners to contribute in developing the society through effective challenging organisations. By focusing on diverse non-profitable organisations, people can find the one that shares their interests and beliefs.


Which NGOs have you shed light on? And how have they influenced you and the society?

Around 17 NGOs so far, and they are all marvellous initiatives. We focus on human rights, women rights, energy consumptions and savings, orphanages, education, poverty, animal rights, charity...etc. One of them for example is Nahdet El Mahrousa, an organisation that seeks to have a positive impact on Egypt's development through engaging Egyptian youth and supporting those who are trying to start their own social development initiatives or NGOs. They encourage youth to become social entrepreneurs in different arenas and contribute in local communities. Another example is The Egyptian Women Union, a women rights movement that has newly emerged to address crucial and critical topics related to women rights in the twenty first century.


There are numerous NGOs that serve various sects and classes, which type of NGOs are increasing in number in Egypt? And why do you think that is?

The programme shed light on different topics, so it is very hard to tell which NGOs in specific are increasing. People are engaged and encouraged to fix the uprising social, political and economical problems by taking actions in volunteering in to organizations that serve the community.


From your wide experience, what NGOs are in dire need for help in Egypt?

Whether it is Sexual harassment, drug abuse, environmental issues or social issues such as female gentile mutilation... all are controversial topics that outburst after the revolution, becoming epidemic by the day. More importantly, all NGOs are in dire help for volunteering. Manpower and enthusiastic people are needed to bring messages across as many people as possible.


What are the main reasons for the sudden outburst of NGOs in Egypt?

I think the revolution has directed the spotlight on some controversial topics, and at the same time, giving space for people to express their needs. For the first time, Egyptians understand the power of youth. The old dominant stereotype adopted by old men who used to believe that they were the only capable people, is now diminished. Today, thousands of youth express their personal views and future plans to improve the country, because they feel more powerful and have a much larger sense of ownership of their country and its future... I wish I can interview them all and give back to community.


You're also a comedian; do you think including comedy in important issues can raise more awareness?

Absolutely! I believe in the power of entertainment. As my friend & Comedian Ahmed Ahmed once told me 'It is very difficult to hate someone who makes you laugh.' So instead of saying 'Oh my God! The country is on fire!' you can address powerful messages with a sense of humour. After all, comedy should reflect reality but in humour fashion. It must have a deep meaning. Whether it is political, economical or social reality, delivering it in a comical way will reflect reality and automatically, people become eager to look at things from a different and unusual perspective.


What gives you meaning to life?

When I walk on stage or into a studio to do a show and realise that what I said made a difference to someone. I feel humble and happy for making a change. It can be as small as someone telling me 'I had a horrible day, but thanks to you, I smiled' or 'I never looked at this matter from this point of view, but now things are more vivid.' Knowing that you have actually contributed even if a small amount of positivity to someone's life, is all what it is about for


What are your future plans?

I will resume my work and activities, but will make further adjustments and developments. I am designing a couple of television programmes that aim to discuss important and relevant issues in our reality but in in a very light fashion. Also, I am planning to improve my performance to make better comedy shows and hopefully entertain more people.


How would you describe Egypt's current political situation?

I feel that people are wandering in a very different territory. Freedom of expression has played an imperative role in shaping the society and delivering people's wants, yet opinion clashes emerged due to the wide range in cultural diversity. Sometimes we will make the right decision and other times we will make the wrong decisions. But I believe, if we look at our great history, we will find that our ancestors have made piles of mistakes that are worth considering and learning from. Thus, Egypt's impressive history should serve as a reference for better decision-making. In order to fix mistakes, we must find their origins.


Where do you see Egypt in 5 years?

It all depends on what we do in the current situation, because the future is based on our current decisions. We must look back to history, learn from the mistakes, and find better ways to reach what we truly want. More importantly, is to find common grounds and unite. Together, we act as one entity and become more powerful.


By Christine Kassasseya