Elkader has a surprising relationship with the country of Algeria. The town is named after an Algerian named Emir Abdelkader who was born in 1808 who led the Algerian resistance to the French colonial forces and famously saved the lives of hundreds of minority Christians. He is something of an icon of interfaith cooperation and brotherhood.
Because of that connection, Elkader is a sister city to Mascara, Algeria, the hometown of Abdelkader. This festival was put on by ‘On the footsteps of the Emir’ (Sur les Traces de L’emir) and ‘Elkader International Connections’. This year’s attendees included most prominently Abdelmalek Sahraouri, an Algerian businessman and politician. I don’t have a good grasp of Algerian politics, but as far as I can tell, he was recently elected as the pro-buisness candidate to be the deputy for Mascara in the Algerian parliament. He seems to be one of the wealthier, more influential people in the country, and I find it interesting how dedicated he has been to building a relationship with Elkader.
Originally there were going to be more high profile attendees, but the date of the event had to be changed last minute, due to visa issues. The Algerian ambassador, for instance, had to attend the UN General Assembly, which seems like a reasonable excuse.
I helped with some graphic design for the project, and even helped shoot video, because the Algerians couldn’t get a visa for their cameraman. The video is online here.