Join a remarkable journey in which an unlikely group of travelers to the Middle East find themselves transformed by the power of human connection.
Tarek Mounib, a Canadian-Egyptian entrepreneur living in Switzerland, is troubled by a world that seems ever more divided and polarised. In response to increasing levels of anger and hatred towards “the other” on American social and broadcast media, he resolves to reach out to the very people who fear his culture, with an intriguing idea.
With the aim of trying to build mutual understanding, Tarek travels across the United States in order to find Americans who feel threatened by Islam and offer them a Free Trip to Egypt.
The initial reactions range from disbelief to hostility, but eventually, a diverse group is selected. These characters are a cross-section of contemporary America: including a teacher, a police officer, a Marine veteran, a single mom, a preacher and a beauty pageant queen. All have their preconceptions but all are receptive and courageous enough to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
On arrival in Egypt the Americans are paired with locals just as diverse as they are. A retired school teacher and her husband are united with a young Egyptian revolutionary. Two photojournalists from different countries must confront their different experiences. A Christian missionary and a former Miss Kentucky from his congregation are paired with an orthodox Muslim family.
The stories that emerge from these improbable connections are provocative, surprising, funny, magical, emotional, revealing, enlightening, and ultimately life-changing. ‘Free Trip to Egypt’ is a profoundly original and inspirational feature-length documentary invites us to leave our baggage behind consider the world anew.
Discussion following film.
Zahra Indigo Rønlov, M.A. is the owner/operator of Mysteries of Egypt, LLC, and leads tours to Egypt. She is also the founder and director of Zahra Handworks, which is dedicated to sharing the value of handwork, especially when creating from reclaimed and recycled materials. Zahra Indigo’s work with the Foundation has already made a difference for those with whom she has shared in Egypt. ZHF not only helps to address the excess plastic waste in Egypt, it also provides opportunities for economic self-reliance and pride for women.
Doug Carnine, Professor Emeritus, U of O, is the coordinator for the Spreading Kindness Campaign. This grassroots citizen’s initiative is working to make Eugene and Springfield Cities of Kindness in Oregon. Spreading Kindness encourages random and intentional acts of kindness throughout all aspects of our community, including personal, family, neighborhoods, schools, government, policing, businesses and organizations. On Sunday, November 3, at 2pm at The Shedd, there will be a free event to celebrate kindness.