Who was Dr. Aly?
From journalist to presidential media advisor, corporate consultant to pioneer in interfaith dialogue, Aly El-Samman defied characterization. Before passing away, on August 2, 2017 he was president of the International Union for Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue and Peace Education (ADIC) for Europe and Egypt; as well as secretary general of the Association for Economic Information Europe-Egypt. He also contributed weekly articles to the Egyptian press and regularly appeared on television as a commentator on current affairs.
Previously, El-Samman served in Paris as director of the Middle East News Agency (MENA) and of Egyptian Radio and Television for Western Europe. In Cairo, he was the foreign media advisor to President Anwar Sadat; director of the prime minister’s cabinet for infrastructure projects for Western Europe; vice-president of the Permanent Committee of Al Azhar for Dialogue with the Monotheistic Religions; advisor to the Grand Imam of Al Azhar for interfaith dialogue; president of the Committee for Interfaith Dialogue at the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs of Egypt; as well as chairman of Nokia Siemens Networks, Egypt.
On September 3, 2012, El-Samman received the insignia of Officer of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor in recognition of his efforts to improve Egyptian-French relations and promote intercultural dialogue throughout his life. Later that month, his autobiography, Egypt: From One Revolution to Another, was released in the U.K.
In 2013, he edited the book, Three Windows on Heaven – Acceptance of Others, Dialogue and Peace in the Sacred Texts of the Three Monotheistic Religions. This book was subsequently published in French, Arabic and Hebrew.
As a specialist in interfaith dialogue, El-Samman was a regular speaker at conferences around the world.