It is with great sadness that I mourn the passing of my dear friend, Nagwa Shoeb. I also mourn her in Enigma’s name, not only because she was a great friend of our magazine, but more importantly, because she was a truly outstanding Egyptian who represented the best of her generation. We honour her amazing life and we hope that a new generation of Egyptians will be inspired by her shining example and the legacy she leaves behind.
Whatever Nagwa Shoeb touched, blossomed; whether it was the American University in Cairo’s cultural program, which she headed as PR director for many years, and where she brought high-calibre speakers, such as Ahmed Zewail, Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, Noam Chomsky and Hillary Clinton, and organised a rich program of musical and cultural events; the Women’s International Peace Movement, where she focused on the younger generation in the mission to spread the values of peace and human dignity and to fight all forms of human trafficking; the Friends of the Opera over which she lovingly presided and helped spread the appreciation of classical music and opera among ordinary Egyptians, including public school children, who were invited to attend performances at the Cairo Opera House; the promotion of women in her role as co-chairman of the Women in Business Committee in the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt; the celebration of the unique suburb of Heliopolis, through her leadership in the compilation of several outstanding publications and the organisation of the super successful Heliopolis Korba Festival that brought thousands together in joyful celebration; or the NGO Peace & Plenty Association, where she was a founding board member, helping upgrade education and health services in underprivileged communities all over Egypt, to name just a few milestones of what was a very active life.
Yet, Nagwa Shoeb’s packed CV cannot do her justice, for her value was not in just what she did, but more importantly, in who she was as a person. She lived her life to the fullest extent, pursuing every task and activity with boundless energy, dedication and joy. Her compassion was reflected in everything she did and in her interaction with people from all walks of life. Her charm and her modest, gentle demeanour won the hearts of all those whose lives she touched and made her one of the most inspiring persons you could ever meet. Her ability to inspire and motivate young people, in particular, to reach for their dreams and to be proactive in society was exceptional.
Nagwa Shoeb was also the ultimate role model of a professional woman who successfully combined career, family and friends. She had a big heart full of love; love for her wonderful husband and best friend, Nabil Shoeb; for her amazing children, Randa and Tarek, who always made her so proud; for her dear son-in-law, Abbas; and of course, for her beautiful grandchildren, Nada and Rafik, who held a very special place in her heart. Her love for her many friends was also constant and generous. To both her family and friends, she was a boundless source of joy, lighting up any room with her infectious smile and always going out of her way to generously give her time and effort to all those around her.
Rest in peace, Nagwa Shoeb. Your beautiful memory lives on in all our hearts.
Samia Farid Shihata