By: Mariam Elhamy
America Abroad Media (AAM) honored Egyptian superstar Yousra at its seventh annual Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C. AAM honors outstanding leaders whose work meets international standards and exemplifies the power of media to inform, educate and empower.
AAM’s recognition of Yousra’s career throughout time comes as a brief example of the history of Egypt’s entertainment industry for American viewers. Egypt’s entertainment industry serves its role as a catalyst for community dialogue, its sustainable resonance in the Arab world and the ability to address taboos and project positive voices for positive change.
Yousra is an Egyptian star with a long career of great work, working with some of the most important Egyptian directors and writers like Youssef Shaheen, Ali Badrakhan, Waheed Hamed, Sharif Arafa, Raafat Al-Mihi, Khairi Bishara, Samir Seif and Marwan Hamed. She was selected as a Goodwill Ambassador and received numerous honors at various festivals; most notably the French Festival de Cannes, the Cairo International Film Festival and the Beirut International Festival in Lebanon. In addition, she was honored by the Royal Society of Physicians in London and the Institute of the Arab World in Paris. She was also selected as a member of the Oscar Academy Committee in 2019.
“Yousra is an icon in the Middle East and a real inspiration to millions of her fans, whether through her acting as a screen actress or her dedication to serve her community and create a better world,” said Aaron Lobel, founder and president of the American Association for Foreign Media. Yousra stated, “I am proud to be representing my country and the Arab community in an award of this value and importance, and very happy and honored to celebrate the honoring of my work with such an esteemed award.”
Yousra was also congratulated by some of the most important American representatives for her award, most notably star Harvey Keitel. “When I first met you in Cairo, you invited us to a dinner that you had humbly made yourself and you took us for a walk in the streets of Cairo, where we saw a great reflection of your place in your fans’ hearts, which is no different from your special place in the cinema… Congratulations, you deserve this award and more.”
Vanessa Williams said, “Dear Yousra, congratulations on the award you received tonight from AAM. I am so happy that you are getting recognized and awarded by AAM for all your work and iconic career. I saw how much love and admiration you get from your fans in Egypt and the Middle East when I was in El Gouna and Dubai. Through your great art and your constant support for women’s rights, everything you do on the screen is genius and exhilarating, and that makes you an exceptional star and a role model for all the women of the Middle East. Congratulations!”
“Yousra is an incredibly talented actress,” said Jay Weissberg of Variety magazine. “I can talk about her various amazing roles in the classics of Egyptian cinema and Ramadan series, and I can talk about her constant support to her colleagues and new filmmakers. But what I’d really like to talk about is how popular she is because I’ve traveled with her a few times and I’ve never seen any actor/actress get so much love from their audience. Once she walks in a room, happiness fills the hearts of everyone in it and she is greeted with warm welcoming smiles everywhere whether in Morocco, Abu Dhabi or Egypt. Yousra is an exceptional star and a rare gem.”
In addition, Yousra waw congratulated by the artists and stars of the Egyptian industry. Director Marwan Hamed expressed his happiness, saying, “Yousra is one of the most important actresses in the history of Egyptian cinema. Her career is rich in diversity and she plays a great humanitarian role in her life, which always shows in her acting. I hold a lot of love and appreciation for her, especially because of her support when I started with Yacoubian Building and the many more people that she has supported. We are talking about an honest and a true actress and a very honorable representation of Egyptian cinema, and we are all proud to work in an industry that includes a figure of such worth and greatness.
“Yousra was always a star from the beginning,” said Naguib Sawiris. “Her performance is so convincing and spontaneous that I think she follows the legacy of the great star Souad Hosni. Yousra is one of the brightest and most honest stars in the film industry. Her role in cinema continues and never stops as she is one of the most important models in Egyptian cinema. On a personal note, she has been a very dear friend for a long time, and this is something I am particularly honored about. On her humanitarian side, she does not need my words to highlight her constant support to everyone.”
Sherine Reda congratulated Yousra by saying “Yousra is a legend, a living legend without a doubt. She is a wonderful person and a great actress, since I first started working with her she had always been there by my side, always present for everyone. Congratulations Siva, and I hope to see you as soon as possible to congratulate you in person, you deserve all the best.”
The author, Tamer Habib, said, “She is everything for me and I think that those who don’t know her in person are missing a lot in their life! She is a moving love story and great positive energy on and off set. She is always there for all of us and we all owe her. She is one of the most loved five people I have ever met and I am really lucky to have known her in my life.”
Director Enas al-Deghaidy also congratulated her saying, “Yousra is a beautiful person, an actress who has influenced Arab and Egyptian cinema. By the way, she is very famous around the world cinema as a front-row actress in Egyptian cinema, that’s aside her great relationships with foreign actors and filmmakers.”
Former AAM winners include Oscar-winning director Catherine Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, director Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips, Noura Al Kaabi twofour54 chief executive in Abu Dhabi, Princess Reem Ali founder of the Jordan Media Institute, Tunisian actress Hend Sabri, Saudi comedian Nasser Al-Kassabi, journalist writer Turki Al-Dakhil, Egyptian author Wahid Hamed, Egyptian director Marwan Hamed and others.
AAM is a foundation that supports global storytelling through the power of entertainment. AAM’s vision is to bring together the best Hollywood talents and the creative community in the Middle East to enable a new generation of storytellers in the region to produce innovative content that promotes positive change and shared global values.