Going back thousands of years, Egypt has been the pivot of many turning points in history. Take the encounters between Cleopatra and Julius Caesar that changed the fates of both Egypt and Rome. Or the countless meetings that connected many religions and cultures. So when you look at how the Maker Movement is taking the world by storm, it only makes sense to host a Maker Faire in the heart of the MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) region: Cairo, Egypt.
This weekend, on April 8, the third annual Maker Faire Cairo is taking place in the land of all wonders, the Smart Village, organized by Fab Lab Egypt in collaboration with the Information Resource Center of the U.S. Embassy. (Check out the 2016 and 2015 Faires!) Imagine being surrounded by the biggest companies, the pioneers of technology, and the leaders of the future of Egypt. Given the tough economic situation Egypt is going through, the venue alone will encourage any visitor to adopt Maker culture, to “make” their way through, surviving in style! With an estimated 10K attendees expected, 250+ Makers, 30+ speakers, and 30+ hands-on activities, as well as performances and a kids area, this event offers a huge mind shift for the whole society toward the Maker Movement.
This week, in advance of Maker Faire Cairo, there will be a series of events taking place all over Egypt and reaching out to the MENA region during Maker Week. Finishing up Maker Week will be a day especially for schools, which makes this year’s Maker Faire Cairo more special than ever. As children are the cornerstones of any community, we’ve opted to introduce them early on into our culture of making. We focused on targeting a segment of those children coming from local orphanages and schools, those without access to making facilities, because we strongly believe all children, if given the opportunities they need, can work miracles.
And then, at the end of the week, the long-awaited day arrives! Maker Faire Cairo 2017 is not your conventional event. Plan your day to attend an inspiring series of talks or register in a workshop to enhance your skills. Visit exhibitions or sign up for activities to have fun with your friends. You’ll never find a place other than Maker Faire that gathers all of these different Makers (and much more) in one place! You’ll find yourself walking as if in an alternate universe altogether, for there’s no way reality can be this diverse.
Whenever you pass by a stage, any time throughout the day, make sure to have a notebook on you, for these are all moments of valuable learning. There are speakers all day long, sharing experiences from all around the globe and every corner of Egypt. Take Tarek Salem, an engineer who suffered a disability due to a painful accident. Instead of giving in to the misfortune, he opted to make his own gadgets to make his life easier. Or maybe you can find creativity in creating complex physics theories in simple toys created from trash, as you stare in wonder listening to Toys from Trash cofounder Ashok Rupner. You’ll also stumble upon pure super geeks who can find any excuse to make anything — like David Neevel (below) and his freaky inventions, for instance!
We’ve always strived to introduce all of the new trends and cultures in Egypt, and this year’s Maker Faire Cairo is no different. This year, we offer a collection of sub-events, each with a whole unique scope of its own! You’ll find the Geek Fictions Convention, the evolution of the Cosplay Factory at last year’s Maker Faire Cairo. Surely you’ve heard about last year’s Hulkbuster, the towering 3-meter-tall Iron Man in the center of the Faire (below)? This year, the Geek Fictions Convention is brought to you by Big Geeks, in the heart of which you’ll find our 5-meter Optimus Prime, a sight capable of stealing your breaths way before you even hit the area!
Speaking of new trends, we’re also introducing two whole new communities that were previously unrepresented in our former Faires: food and fashion! People usually cook because they need to eat (shocking, we know) or because they love cooking. Fashion has always been looked at as a luxury. Yet, at this year’s Faire, you’ll find that chefs and fashion designers have much more in common than you’d imagine! With a whole corner just for cooking, people will see making food as the art of making something from scratch — and boy is it tasty. And in our fashion corner fashion, we see that, more than a mere luxury, it’s the process of making that’s essential in every aspect of our everyday lives.
The most novel new offering yet may be our automotive corner, devoted to this ever-growing community in Egypt that many don’t realize even exists. Learn how to customize your own Harley-Davidson motorcycle with Dr. Walid Farouk (below), who will be sharing many of his cool tricks. In the field of Formula race cars, many teams are getting their engines roaring for Maker Faire Cairo as we speak.
We’ve transformed the idea of a conventional classroom/workshop into an entire day of hands-on activities. Makers teach the community, and the community then has all the access they need to self-learn their way into making! And the Makers have never been more diverse.
If you’ve been in Egypt long enough, then you’ve surely realized the tension between the community and anything concerning electronics. There’s always been this voice in the back of our heads to “not play with electricity,” but that isn’t an issue anymore! You’ll meet Dina Amin, an aspiring young entrepreneur who’ll provide her own “Tinker Corner” hands-on activity. Dina will give you the opportunity to get cozy with electronics. You’ll get to take them apart, put them together, and even fix them if they’re broken! We bet you can’t find a better love story.
Tech will be represented in all forms. You’ll find unconventional concepts of art, as inspired by the interactive Creative Coding Jam. And how can it possibly be a Maker Faire if you don’t see robots walking — or swimming — around? There will be many opportunities to learn about both robots and ROVs (remotely operated vehicles).
And don’t be surprised if you find the FLOW (Fab Lab on Wheels) bus in the crowd. In fact, we encourage you to check it out! In it, you’ll find access to fabrication workshops right then and there. Launched by Fab Lab Egypt in collaboration with Giza Systems, Dell, and EMC, FLOW roams the governorates and schools, providing digital fabrication tools and Mini Maker Diplomas (a 2-month program).
Once you’ve met your share of speakers and Makers, tried some hands-on activities, and strolled through all of the sub-events, you’ll find there’s still much more that Maker Faire has to offer you. Take a walk through the Makers’ exhibits and be inspired by all the creativity. Look around you at all the arts and crafts and marvel at the array of the most innovative, inventive, and unusual creations. Enrich your inner artist by engaging in najjar (carpentry), pottery, sketching, doodling, painting, origami, puppets, mosaics, and much more!
We’ve promised you special, and we’ll deliver no less. Maker Faire Cairo is a day you want to get all of your family, friends, kids, and acquaintances to! You’ll be sure to leave with more than just an epic show, but the spirit of inspiration that’ll take you out of your routine and into a magical world full of ideas and potential.
All the information you need to join us is on the Maker Faire Cairo website!