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Egypt: Culturally Diplomatic Projects

Egypt: Culturally Diplomatic Projects 

CULTURAL CENTRE OF EGYPT IN PARIS

Project Details

Country:        France

Telephone:   +33 14 63 37 56 7

E-mail:                       mahmoud.ismail@bureaucultureleg.fr

Website:       http://www.bureaucultureleg.fr/fr/center_history.php

Sponsored by:         Egyptian Embassy in Paris

Organisation Description

Founded in 1965, the Cultural Centre of Egypt is a branch of the Cultural Bureau of the Egyptian Embassy in Paris. Its first aim was to welcome Egyptian students in Paris into a familiar atmosphere, by proposing discussions about Egyptian culture around Egyptian dishes and drinks.

Since the 1970s the place has been transformed into the cultural centre as we know it today. The centre proposes Arab language classes (Egyptian dialect and Official Arab), expositions, concerts, art, cinema, lectures and conferences.

Project Description

The Egyptian Cultural Centre in Paris proposes information about Egyptian culture and literature to people who want to obtain knowledge about Egypt.

The centre possesses a Library in which there are many books in Arabic and French about History, Art, Policy and Religion. Many Egyptian civilizations are represented, such as Egypt of the Pharaohs, Copt Egypt, Muslim Egypt and Contemporary Egypt. There is also a very prestigious collection of books from well-known authors such as Taha Hussein, Naguib Mahfouz, Alaa Al Aswani and many others.

The Centre proposes concerts of well-known and talented young Egyptian musicians, talented artists and Egyptian intellectuals. It also organises Arabic Language classes for all levels, from beginner to advanced.

Aims of the Project

The Cultural Centre of Egypt works to promote the Egyptian culture to the French public, as well as to professionals, Arab students and people interested in Pharaoh Studies. The overall aim is to make the Centre a mirror of the Egyptian culture in Paris.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

The Centre is a very important tool of Egyptian Cultural Diplomacy, as it works on an international level. This initiative’s relevance lies in the French people’s fondness of Egyptian tradition, with the country being ranked in the top 3 of the most well-known Arab nations in terms of culture in France. This demonstrates how a cultural centre such this, is a very good tool by which cultural diplomacy can be spread.

CAIRO OPERA HOUSE: THE NATIONAL CULTURAL CENTRE

Project Details

Country:        Cairo (Egypt)

Telephone:   +202 737 060 3

E-mail:                       info@cairoopera.org

Website:       http://www.cairoopera.org/arab_music.aspx

Sponsored by:         The Egyptian Ministry of Culture

Organisation Description

Established in 1988 with the inauguration of the Cairo Opera House, The National Cultural Centre serves as an umbrella organization for all the music or dance companies, galleries, museums and educational programmes that take place there. Its chairman since its founding has been Dr. Abdel-Moneim Kamal, an internationally-renowned ballet dancer who received the ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ from the French Minister of Culture and Communication in 2007.

Project Description

The Cairo Opera House is a cultural landmark renowned for leadership, excellence and imagination. It has carved itself a significant place in the cultural landscape of Egypt and the Middle East. Its mission is to:

–          Provide first-class productions of ballet, operatic and symphonic works.

–          Encourage cooperation with other opera companies and orchestras.

–          Discover and develop the most talented artists in Egypt

–          Support learning, innovation and creativity.

–          Provide excellent venues, facilities and services to both artists and the audience

Aims of the Project

Its goal is to promote the arts of music and dance, and to preserve and renew traditional Arab music. In order to be more than a mere venue, the National Cultural Centre works to give space to learning and inspiration, the exchange of ideas, the respect of a common cultural heritage, and shared passion for the arts. It encourages interest for music and art in the younger generation by offering ballet, voice or instrumental classes for talented children or youths.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

This is an effective initiative for the promotion of Arab art for regional diplomacy. One clear problem however is that the middle class in Egypt is generally of limited financial means, and therefore only the elite is able to access the Centre on a regular basis. However, the Arab spring (and in particular the Egyptian Revolution) has given hope that such a way to spread cultural diplomacy will be more easily accessible.

CULTNAT: ETERNAL EGYPT

Project Details

Country:        Egypt

Telephone:   +20 235 343 111 / +20 235 392 929

Email:            None listed

Website:       www.cultnat.org, www.eternalegypt.org

Sponsored by: Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

Organisation Description

The Egyptian Centre for Documentation of Cultural & Natural Heritage (CULTNAT) is affiliated with Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and supported by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. The centre’s aim is to document the tangible and intangible aspects of Egypt’s heritage, as well as to increase public awareness of the country’s cultural and natural heritage. This is achieved through the extensive use of media and up-to-date information technology, with the involvement of conservation and documentation professionals.

Project Description

Eternal Egypt is a collaboration project developed by CULTNAT, working in partnership with The Supreme Council of Antiquities and IBM. The idea of the project is to use innovative technologies to create an interactive, multimedia presentation of Egyptian culture and history, and make this experience available to a global audience. Eternal Egypt is essentially a website where the descriptions of more than 2000 historical artefacts can be accessed, where virtual tours of famous sites and museums are made available, and where products documenting Egypt’s cultural and natural heritage can be purchased. Both written information and audio narrations are made available in Arabic, English and French.

Aims of the Project

The aim of the project is that anyone with access to the internet will be able to experience high- resolution reconstructions of Egyptian monuments and artefacts in an unprecedented way.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

Making Egypt’s rich and unique heritage available and accessible to everyone on the internet is a form of cultural diplomacy, since the aim of the Eternal Egypt project is to promote national interests as well as provide information about the country and it’s people’s history and culture. Eternal Egypt enables the country to export its culture in a modern, interactive way, as well as attract ‘cyber tourism.’ The cooperation between the Egyptian government and IBM is also another form of cultural diplomacy, as it requires their successful cooperation in order for the initiative to be successful. With IBM’s advanced technology and Egypt’s heritage, the combination demonstrates a type of teamwork where all partners agree that the propagation and information availability of Egypt’s beautiful culture is the primary focus.

MISR PUBLIC LIBRARY

Project Details

Country:        Egypt

Telephone: +20 274 9628

Email:            info@kibacg

Website:        http://www.mpl.org.eg

Sponsored by: Egyptian Ministry of Culture in partnership with the Integrated Care Society and

Bertelsmann Foundation

Organisation Description

The MISR Public Library (MPL) in Cairo was founded by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture in partnership with the Integrated Care Society and Bertelsmann Foundation, and inaugurated in 1995 by former Egyptian First Lady Suzanne Mubarak. The MPL was intended to become one of the most important arenas of the nation’s cultural scene, and began as an intercultural project between Germany (through the Bertelsmann Foundation) and Egypt.

Project Description

The MPL is designed to work as both a centre for public learning and an arena for inter-Egyptian cultural exchange. The MPL also aims at being one of the leading institutions in Egypt applying and storing information using modern technologies. On the basis of the MPL ‘model,’ further regional libraries in all Egypt’s governorates have now been proposed. MPL is based on the idea that the library is a living organism that interacts with the public, and that it forms part of the foundation of the cultural structure of society.

Aims of Project

–          To encourage representatives of all faiths, ethnicities and social backgrounds to develop their reading habits;

–          To encourage use of the library as a place for cultural learning and exchange;

–          To provide the means for life-long self-education.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

The MPL is an institution which aims at inviting all groups of Egyptian society to come together and deepen their understanding of their own cultural diversity. It can therefore be understood as an arena for cultural diplomacy.

PETRIE MUSEUM OF EGYPTIAN ARCHEOLOGY

Project Details

Country:        Egypt

Telephone:   +44 207 679 2884

Email:             petrie.museum@ucl.ac.uk

Website:        http://www.ucl.ac.uk

Sponsored by:         The Government of Egypt and the University College London

Organisation Description

The Petrie Museum is attached to the Institute of Archaeology, University College London (UCL), and was established in collaboration with the Government of Egypt. The Institute offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including courses on the archaeology of Egypt and Sudan, museum and artefact studies, and conservation. Students use the Petrie Museum and UCL’s other collections as part of their coursework, and for research projects. UCL is a world-class university keen to encourage applications from all parts of the community in the UK and overseas.

Project Description

The Petrie Museum houses an estimated 80,000 objects, making it one of the greatest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world. It illustrates life in the Nile Valley from prehistory through the time of the pharaohs, the Ptolemaic, Roman and Coptic periods and the Islamic period. It ranks behind only the collections of the Cairo Museum, The British Museum and the Ägyptisches Museum, Berlin in terms of its number of items.

Aims of the Project

The overall objective of the Petrie Museum is to maintain the rich cultural heritage of the region and to share the knowledge encapsulated in this heritage with the rest of the world.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology has launched a collections partnership with the Egyptian Educational Centre and Cultural Bureau (EECCB), a part of the Egyptian Embassy in London. Relations between the museum and source communities in Egypt have previously been hampered due to tensions over repatriation, but the museum hopes the partnership will foster cultural diplomacy whilst challenging western interpretations of the collection. Curators at the museum also intend to develop displays in partnership with Fayoum University, which is situated close to where Sir William Petrie carried out much of his excavation work. A 3D imaging tool will allow Fayoum experts to carry out design and interpretation remotely over the internet.

THE MUBARAK INITIATIVE OF QUALITY EDUCATION FOR AFRICAN FUTURE LEADERS

Project Details

Country:        Egypt

Telephone:   Not listed

Email:            Not listed

Website:        http://www.mfa.gov.eg

Sponsored by: The Government of Egypt

Organisation Description

The Mubarak Initiative of Quality Education for African Future Leaders is a public diplomacy outreach programme organised by the Egyptian presidency, which provides educational opportunities to students throughout Africa and beyond. Scholarships provide funding for complete college education at many of Egypt’s renowned national universities. It is uncertain, however, whether the programme will continue to exist given the current political turmoil of the Arab world, particularly following the resignation of president Hosni Mubarak on the 11th of February 2011.

Project Description

The initiative is a scholarship programme, which is offered to non-Egyptians who wish to study in Egypt. It targets students with a Senior Certificate with university exemption, obtained less than four years ago at the time of application. The Mubarak Initiative of Quality Education for African Future Leaders is but one example of the many programmes that Egypt offers for aiding and coordinating with African Countries.

Aims of Project

–          To cultivate young African diplomats in all areas of the political world, including cultural diplomacy issues;

–          To facilitate intercultural exchange;

–          To provide educational opportunities to students from Africa;

–          To train future African young leaders.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

Egypt recognizes its deep affiliation with the entire African continent, and sponsors several major cooperative initiatives to maintain these connections. The initiative aims to contribute to the socio-economic development of other African countries, through the transfer and exchange of knowledge, skills and expertise. It also supports the capacity building efforts of technical and human resources. Educational exchange is one of the fundamental ways of facilitating the transfer of knowledge. Furthermore, it prepares young African students for future leadership positions, after being exposed to a relevant education specifically geared towards African solutions to African problems.

EGYPT CULTURAL WEEK

Project Details

Country:        Egypt

Telephone:   None listed

Email:            None listed

Website:       See websites of respective embassies

Sponsored by:  The Government of Egypt via its various embassies and consulates around the world

Organisation Description

The Egypt Cultural Week is organised by the Egyptian Government through its embassies and consulates in collaboration with local partners. It is held every year in those countries where Egypt has diplomatic relations, as an initiative aimed at strengthening relations between Egypt and other countries. The Cultural Week is normally held on the sidelines of, or to coincide with, major local events. The Egyptian cultural week brings with it Egyptian music, poetry and theatre.

Project Description

Examples of the project contents are as follows: In 2011, Algeria’s Egyptian Cultural Week opened on the 4th of June with performances by Masar Egbary and poet Zein El-Abedeen. The festival, held at the Islamic Algerian capital Talisman, was aimed at strengthening relations between Egypt and Algeria. In 2008, the activities of an Egyptian Cultural Week were held during the period from the 14th to the 18th of October in Almaty in Kazakhstan. The Egyptian folkloric dance group “Hourya” performed at the event, in which a number of Egyptian films were also shown. In 2002, an Egyptian cultural week entitled “Waves of the Nile” was held in the Egyptian section of the World Park in Beijing. During the event, visitors were introduced to Egyptian history and culture through words and pictures; the history of China-Egypt cultural exchanges featured heavily.

Aims of the Project

–         To facilitate intercultural exchange;

–         To strengthen diplomatic ties;

–         To promote tourism.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

The central aim of the celebrations is to provide opportunities for people to discover their talents and realise the potentials that already exist between the two countries. The Egyptian cultural week was warmly met by the Mauritanians in 2007, particularly as it coincided with the start of the holy month of Ramadan. Within the Arab region, the Egypt Cultural Week has been a source of building Arab solidarity; it also provides an opportunity for symposiums, lectures and panel discussions on topical issues of the day to take place.

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