By Ehaab Abdou

Mrs Marie Assaad was such an inspiration, a mentor, and a teacher in so many ways to so many of us.

Those of us who founded the Fat'het Their NGO in Moqattam in 1998, consider her one of our key mentors and guides. Those founders included Marwa Sharafeldin, Yasmina Abou Youssef, Miranda Beshara, and several others. She was always so generous with her time and sharing her knowledge, wisdom, and experience. We're all indebted to her for all that support and kindness, and the path of service and humility that she's exemplified and shown us through the years. Indeed, we owe the success of Fat'het Kheir's women's mashghal largely to how she had helped initially support some of the women to get trained at APE. She was also an inspiration for me personally and many of those of us involved in the founding of the Nahdet El Mahrousa NGO.

As our wonderful common friend Dr. Magda Iskandar knows, our dear Mrs. Marie was a big fan of the message of the Ana Masry musical ensemble, and many of its songs which aim to promote an appreciation of Egypt’s rich and diverse heritage, across religious and other divides. As founders and performers in the group, we had the pleasure and the honour of welcoming Mrs. Marie when she was able to come to some of our concerts over the past few years.

I have also had the pleasure to work with and meet members of Mrs. Marie’s family, like Raguie Assaad and Christine Assaad, and could see how her influence has shaped these wonderful people as well. My own mother, Yousria Abdel Fattah El Kelesly, who used to work at the AUC Social Research Center, was also a big fan and a friend of Mrs. Marie.

Thank you for this opportunity to underline my deep respect and admiration for this wonderful and extraordinary human, and honour the memory of our dear Mrs. Marie Assaad. We all miss her, but she certainly lives on among us with her spirit and with all her values of love, compassion, dedication, sincerity, and humility that she has instilled in so many of us. Her memory will always inspire us.