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EGYPT COUNTRY REPORT,COUNTRY REPORT WRITTEN BY Damien Helly. EDITED BY Yudhishthir Raj Isar, GRAPHICS LAY OUT BY Guillemette Madinier Laura Gardes and Maiken H j. DATE OF PUBLICATION 26 March 2014, The content of this report does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author s. 2013 2014 Preparatory Action Culture in the EU s External Relations. COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 1, preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS. TABLE OF CONTENTS,TABLE OF CONTENTS 2,EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3.
OVERVIEW 4, THE CULTURAL POLICY LANDSCAPE AND RELATIONS WITH THE EU 7. CONCLUSIONS PERCEPTIONS AND EXPECTATIONS 11,ANNEXES 15. Annex I Methodology and list of people consulted 15. Annex II EU Egyptian joint programmes and initiatives 17. COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 2, preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY, Egypt has for many years conducted an ambitious range of cultural diplomacy efforts at. various levels in multilateral organisations through bilateral cooperation channels and through a. systematic tourism policy that include heritage as a key component In the years preceding the 2011. revolution some signs of modernisation appeared but could not materialise in a genuine reform of. the country s external cultural relations, Following the popular uprisings of 2011 elections and the coming to power of President.
Morsi culture became the object of numerous controversies and political struggles making it. difficult to detect clear trends in the country s policy on culture in external relations What has been. particularly noticeable however is the flourishing of non sate cultural initiatives connected to. international partners and practice Since President Morsi lost power in July 2013 Egypt has entered. a new period of interim military rule, Today both the state led cultural policy system of Egypt and its cultural sector are at a. crossroads between rebirth restructuring and destruction with very diverse and uncertain. potential consequences for the country s external relations. COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 3, preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS. Large scale people to people contacts direct cultural exchange and cooperation between. Egyptian and European cultural and scientific professionals have been nurtured for centuries through. trade wars intellectual exchange education and colonisation Egyptians take this history for. The state led cultural policy was hit by the 2011 revolution the economic crisis and in early. 2013 by direct attacks from the Muslim Brotherhood leadership up until the fall of President Morsi. in July 2013 It had actually been under criticism for more than a decade from those who deemed. the system authoritarian Soviet like obsolete and cost inefficient Following the return to power of. secular forces with the support of the army a new course on cultural policy seemed to be taken but. it will require time to be assessed thoroughly 1, Today the principal official actors in the country s international cultural relations remain the. Ministry of Culture and to a lesser extent the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Ministry of. Economy and the Ministry of Tourism 2 The Ministry of Higher Education is in charge of educational. exchange and of the network of cultural attach s abroad The Ministry of State for Antiquities. formerly the Supreme Council of Antiquities oversees all archaeological sites and museums as well. as all the inspectors associated with them It has a Publications and Documentation Department. With around 10 000 staff it supervises relations with museums archaeological cooperation and. some cultural events However because it currently suffers from budgetary constraints and has been. deeply affected by the decrease of tourism its influence on external cultural relations has. dramatically diminished, Since the 2011 revolution the governmental authorities have sought to develop new. approaches and visions of cultural relations with other countries but have been unable to implement. these systematically Appointed by President Morsi Alaa Abdel Aziz the sixth Minister of Culture. after the revolution initiated a radical policy aiming at the dismantlement of the cultural policy. system 3 This generated strong reactions from diverse cultural spheres and intellectuals leading to. the popular protests of June 2013, The tourist industry thus remains the dominant force in cultural relations with foreigners it.
represented around 15 20 per cent of the country s GDP before the revolution It is driven purely by. economic criteria and is quite disconnected from artistic scientific and educational work Indeed. Egyptian independent cultural professionals consulted for the project unanimously consider that. Upcoming Cairo conference to discuss culture politics and the state three day conference held in October to draft new. cultural policies for Egypt ahramonline 23 September 2013 Online Available at. http english ahram org eg NewsContent 5 35 82313 Arts Culture Stage Street Upcoming Cairo conference to discuss. culture poli aspx,See overview of EU programmes in Annex II. Alaa Abdel Aziz Egypt s 6 culture minister since 2011 revolution ahramonline 7 May 2013 Online Available at. http english ahram org eg News 70886 aspx,COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 4. preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS. their work has nothing to do with tourism and that their not for profit cultural activity should not be. associated with the political economy processes of the tourism industry. The media and their role in international cultural relations are often underestimated and. thus often omitted in discussions about cultural policy This results in a knowledge gap on the role of. TV radio and web based media and their contribution to international cultural exchanges. The publishing film and music industries film and music production is estimated to be larger. than that of all the other Arab countries combined have the whole Arabic speaking world as their. marketplace They are therefore governed by business logic The publishing industry however is. now facing serious competition from Morocco Also the quality of films and musical products has. been decreasing and experts consider that it is already lagging behind those of Lebanon Morocco or. Tunisia 4 The Egyptian film industry which had grown rapidly in the early 2000s was subject to. censorship by a number of authorities before the revolution No clear figures are available however. with regard to the international component shares of investments and income coming from outside. the country share of the public abroad outreach strategies if any towards specific foreign. audiences of the Egyptian film industry, In the currently uncertain political environment and as a result of deeply entrenched. mistrust towards government structures the non profit non confessional cultural sector based in. Cairo and Alexandria mostly supported by national European and or EU and other Western funders. has become a driving force in international cultural relations Cultural professionals closer to Islamic. circles but not engaged with the Salafists or the Muslim Brotherhood are also active and are. supported by funders from within Egypt but also from the Gulf One example of a different narrative. on contemporary Salafists is provided by the group Salafyo Costa whose members work on building. a modern attractive and joyful image of Salafists 5 The al Azhar institutions also play a very. significant role in Egypt s external cultural relations and have been part and parcel of political. tensions following the 2011 revolution Government and state funded public agencies such as the. Opera House or the Cultural Development Fund created in 1989 6 have been the object of fierce. political struggles since 2011 and their future role in the country s external relations is difficult to. The Ministry of Culture is paradoxically both at the centre and the margins of the cultural. sector in Egypt It is still the leading interventionist structure employing several thousands staff in. state funded institutions and cultural policy planning It is however increasingly bypassed by other. forces the military who have a stronger say on internal and external political priorities the Foreign. Ministry the Tourism Ministry which represents a much stronger economic community and even. non state cultural organisations,Interview with Basma El Husseyni Cairo June 2013. Salafyo website in Arabic http www salafyocosta com. Cultural policies in Algeria Egypt Jordan Lebanon Morocco Palestine Syria and Tunisia Amsterdam Boekmanstudies. Culture Resource Al Mawred Al Thaqafy and European Cultural Foundation 2010 p 70 72. COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 5, preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS.
The country s major universities have so far maintained significant cooperation programmes. with European countries The Bibliotheca Alexandrina affiliated to the Ministry of Education in the. premises of which the Anna Lindh Euro Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue Between Cultures is. located cooperates with regional and international networks and offers office spaces to them 7 The. National Library also cooperates internationally with European countries. The organisation El Sawy Culture Wheel created in 2003 was the first private entity to. stimulate a new interest for contemporary culture among young people traditionally disconnected. from it 8 Founded by engineer artist and cultural entrepreneur Mohamed El Sawy it is a cultural. space centre developed under the 15th May Bridge in the Zamalek area of downtown Cairo It offers a. wide range of cultural activities theatre cinema art exhibition workshops library and training and. has become a reference in Egypt It has launched a magazine a radio station and its own El Sakia TV. Al Mawred Al Thaqafy headed by Ms Basma EL Husseyni a pro active civil society leader and. former British Council employee appears to be the leading non governmental organisation in the. field of cultural policy research and management for the MENA region closely linked to Western. including European cultural institutes cultural operators and networks like the European Cultural. Foundation Its regional Arab coverage with the existence of national cultural policy groups makes it. a privileged stakeholder with a regional and internationalised mind set and modern working. methods The centre has heavily engaged in attempts to reform Egypt s country policy and is likely to. remain a reference in the cultural policy field 9 There are numerous non state cultural operators in. Egypt particularly in Cairo who are active in a variety of fields and managing festivals fairs or. cultural events and performances One of the most prominent recent urban festivals is the D CAF. festival an international multi disciplinary contemporary and performing arts event taking place in. downtown Cairo in the spring supported by the EU as well as EU Member States cultural agencies. and private sponsors 10 But little information is available about developments outside Cairo and more. research is required in this area, Historically Egypt has long been the epicentre of Arab popular culture as well as a hub for. inter Arab cultural relations with TV programmes and series singing contests and literature. Domestic political security and religious dynamics in Cairo and in Egypt thus affect not only the. country s external cultural relations but also the cultural landscapes of other societies in the Arab. world as well as their external relations 11, El Sawy Culturel wheel website http www culturewheel com eng About Us About El Sawy Culturewheel. Cultural policies in Algeria Egypt op cit p 57, Interview with Marwa Helmy Cultural manager at Al Mawred Al Thaqafy Goethe Institut 100 voices project 2012 Online. Available at http www goethe de ins eg prj 100 gal egy enindex htm. Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival website www d caf org. As the centre of gravity of the Arab world Egypt due to its complex social structure dynamic agencies popular arts and. the intellectual seat of Sunni Islam pushes ideas and principles into the international system that shape the preferences of. Arab populations and to a lesser degree Muslim ones The success or failure of Egypt s political actors narratives and the. popular mobilisation behind them has a spill over effect that can move their equivalents in the region In Brothers in the. COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 6, preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS. THE CULTURAL POLICY LANDSCAPE AND RELATIONS WITH THE EU. In the two decades before 2011 the hitherto controlling role of the state in all matters of. cultural policy had already begun to wane giving ground to civil society and private cultural. initiatives 12 This trend has become the norm in a politically unstable context where cultural policy. and practice is now one of the most controversial policy domains in Egypt Until 2011 Egypt s official. external cultural policies were conducted by the authorities as a tool of education free access to. culture and political influence in the Arab world book fairs films music and book publishing and. its immediate African neighbourhood festivals on refugees The relationships with Europe were as. far as incoming cultural offer was concerned centred around tourism and cooperation on Pharaonic. and archaeological heritage and language learning strong presence of cultural institutes 13 As for. outgoing foreign cultural relations folkloric performing arts heritage display and student exchanges. dominated The promotion of Egyptian culture was done through the network of Egyptian cultural. centres in the world the first ones were created in 1948 usually doubling up as the embassies. cultural offices and providing language courses A number of them are located in Europe London. Rome the Egyptian Academy Madrid Paris Athens and beyond there are centres in the US India. Korea Japan and Russia as well Although their funding is limited these centres remain a reference. for events and cultural activities According to cultural policy experts the government s activities do. not follow any specific strategy 14, Some knowledge gaps were highlighted during the consultation and in particular the lack of.
systematic tools to analyse and understand the role and place of culture in the visions programmes. strategies or work plans of political economic societal and religious forces Existing official statistics. were described by our informants as misleading In parallel the country has hosted many foreign. and international partner organisations US foundations European cultural institutes agencies. universities and education structures keen to cooperate with and support public cultural initiatives. but also increasingly since the late 1980s and early 1990s non governmental efforts. The Egyptian government and more recently the private sector have historically developed. dense cultural relations with the outside world in a variety of sectors sometimes based on the. Western model which inspired the country at the end of the nineteenth century heritage old and. very developed archaeological international cooperation with France Germany Italy the. Netherlands Spain and the US UNESCO funded National El Fustat Museum on Egyptian. Civilisation Nubian Heritage and Global Egyptian Museum cultural events and festivals audio. visual etc 15 Many of the festivals and events are mentioned in the latest studies dated from 2009. Hood Egypt s Soft Powers and the Arab World Amro Ali Egypt Middle East Scholar 11 December 2012 Online. Available at http amroali com 2012 12 brothers in the hood egypts soft powers and the arab world. Cultural policies in Algeria Egypt op cit p 60, Consultation workshop organised in Cairo June 2013. Interview with Basma El Husseyni, The Ministry of Culture had a Facebook page of Foreign cultural relations of Egypt until early 2013. http www facebook com ForeignCulturalRelations,COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 7. preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS. which took stock of the level and scope of these interventions 16 However two years after the start of. the Arab Spring an appraisal based on more in depth research appears indispensable. Cooperation with the EU in the framework of Africa EU partnership on democratic. governance between 2008 and 2013 did not bear much fruit because of disagreements between the. two sides on the issue of the return of cultural goods from Europe to Africa As co chair of the. partnership on democratic governance and human rights within which cultural cooperation was. included Egypt played a strong role in this framework During 2011 and 2012 the international. relations department of the Ministry of Culture developed a strategy for external cultural relations. but this was never adopted Based on the notion of cultural spheres areas it identified Europe as. one of the priorities for Egypt with an objective of mutual recognition and rapprochement between. Egypt s culture and seven European cultural clusters. In 2012 attempts were made by the Ministry of Culture to develop some cooperation with. four European countries Belgium France Germany and Italy in partnership with Bozar 17 in order to. build bridges between Egyptian and European cultures but the project did not take off Some. cultural exchange took place in 2012 in Germany when Egypt was the guest of the Berlin stock. exchange international tourism fair European countries were very active in the cultural field in 2011. 2012 increasing their budget and trying to contribute to democratic transformations The British. Council and the Goethe Institut developed regional projects aimed at supporting the independent. cultural sector and young people 18 the Institut fran ais further developed its French Egyptian forum. conceived as a space for debates, The EU has supported civil society organisations and the cultural sector as part of its support. to governance in the framework of its development cooperation programmes 19 An overview of EU. cultural programmes in Egypt is provided in the annexes. While President Morsi elected in 2012 had been very proactive politically in Egypt s foreign. policy he did not really use the country s cultural resources abroad to gain more legitimacy or. popular support because his party felt rather uncomfortable with cultural themes and did not. manage to create consensus on cultural issues that provoked heated debates see section on current. uncertainty below, Egypt s current political instability made the research process particularly difficult Yet it also.
provided an opportunity to try to grasp in a context of uncertainty what the main issues challenges. Cultural policies in Algeria Egypt op cit p 60, Bouquerel El Husseyni Towards a strategy for culture in the Mediterranean 2009 p 79. Centre for Fine Arts Brussels, The Revolutionary Promise Youth voices from Tunisia Egypt and Libya British Council John d Gerhart Center for. Philanthropy and Civic Engagement 2012 Online Available at. http www britishcouncil org d084 therevolutionarypromise report v4 5 pdf. Transformation and Partnership Projects of the Goethe Institut in Egypt and Tunisia Goethe Institut 2012. A policy that was criticised by a 2013 Court of Auditors report. COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 8, preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS. and priorities should be in the field of external cultural relations with Europe keeping in mind its. impact for the region, It was acknowledged during the consultation in Cairo that the 2011 revolution was in many. ways the result of societal changes initiated in the 1980s and 1990s by independent artists who had. first decided in an unprecedented manner to shift towards a new freedom oriented mind set and a. more open way of looking at culture and the Egyptian society The role played in the years 2000 by El. Sawy Cultural Wheel in particular was instrumental in widening the horizon of people on the fringes. of Egypt s cultured society who were rarely familiar with the potential of culture as a tool of. emancipation, Since the Arab Spring of 2011 there has been a war on culture in Egypt mixed with.
confrontation of a diversity of political but also economic and business interests For instance the. cinema and TV industries were badly affected by the instability induced by the revolution 20. Other debates have touched upon concepts such as Islamic purposeful art some. representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood questioning what is ethically good art and free art. supported by other groups The influence of other Arab countries upon the cultural sector is also. notable For instance Qatar was depicted as having been influential in the debate about good Islamic. art These debates reflect deep questioning about Egypt s cultural identity orientation and senses of. belonging what kind of Egypt do we want to be, For a number of experts consulted the main challenge ahead is to make a choice about. Egypt s cultural identity its interest in following foreign or previous21 models might they be from. Egypt itself other Arab countries like Tunisia Morocco or Jordan 22 or belonging to European. cultures Some even considered that the next revolution will be the true revolution of Egypt fighting. for its identity 23 However the ongoing instability and political struggles in Egypt make the early. adoption of a comprehensive cultural external strategy unlikely In the meantime what will prevail is. ad hoc action in governmental initiatives while most innovations will probably continue to emerge. from the independent scene supported by foreign partners Debates regarding the relevance and. feasibility of the use of governmental cultural assets to develop new activities are ongoing amongst. cultural professionals, Ultimately what is at stake in Egypt today is the consolidation of democratic practices Ms. Salma Mobarak former Undersecretary at the External Culture Relations Department Ministry of. Culture makes very clear links between the need to democratise access to culture and democracy. promotion In her mind democracy is also the only way to fight against religious extremism. Interview with Catherine Cornet February 2013, Fauzi M Najjar Ibn Rushd Averroes and the Egyptian Enlightenment Movement British Journal of Middle Eastern. Studies Vol 31 No 2 November 2004 pp 195 213, Quote from the consultation workshops held in Cairo in 2013. Quote from the consultation workshops held in Cairo in 2013. COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 9, preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS.
In the long run Egypt will continue its internal debates on its cultural policies in the. framework of broader political transformations Some political decisions will have to be made. regarding on the one hand the continuation or not of state interventionism and on the other the. need for more regulation of the burgeoning independent cultural sector Until the revolution took. place independent cultural stakeholders were kept on the margins of the cultural and public space. With the end of the Mubarak regime the demand for free culture has increased and the cultural. sector is under pressure While it has promoted the abstract concepts of democracy and freedom it. now faces the challenge of translating these ideas into concrete change and action Ahmed El Tahar. DCAF This proved particularly challenging under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood During the. consultation workshops there were heated debates about how cultural professionals should behave. vis vis the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist groups Some European participants shared their. experiences and discussed for instance the question of engaging with Islamist figures from the. cultural field Other debates relate to culture and human rights in the country linking cultural. practice to legislation on family gender roles and the place of women in society 24. Cultural policies in Algeria Egypt p 63,COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 10. preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS. CONCLUSIONS PERCEPTIONS AND EXPECTATIONS, During the consultation a number of expectations and views of Europe the EU and. Europeans were expressed by participants and interviewees. First Europe is seen as too self indulgent in its belief that Europeans know a lot about other. cultures The idea that cultural relations between Egypt and Europe were still tainted by the. obstacles of distorted stereotypes illustrated by the visa policies for instance was underlined 25. Before we were Muslim terrorists and now we are the young revolutionaries we also have. stereotypes about Europe as colonial powers with a hidden agenda to use us said one film maker. The leading cultural activists of Cairo gathered for the Preparatory Action immediately approved this. statement This acknowledgement of persistent stereotypes on both sides was coupled with the. willingness among non state stakeholders as well as former officials to show the contemporary side. of Egypt and not only its past and its heritage, The second salient message emerging from the consultation is that Europe is still seen as a. very important partner for Egyptian stakeholders This is the case for many reasons geographical. historical cultural economic including tourism and political Historically Egyptians through their. Pharaonic Hellenistic and Islamic cultures have contributed to the development of European. civilisation and therefore feel attached to it in many ways on the basis of a cultural common. ground and the fact of existing along the same historical continuum 26 However some experts. consider that Egyptians feel marginalised by Europe in its international cultural relations which are. now more oriented towards other partners and models for instance in Asia Although the Egyptian. elite dealing with cultural affairs in Egypt tends to think first of Europe when considering. international cultural relations some state that it is not necessarily the most beneficial part of the. world for them and emphasise the need to turn to other developing countries which have more. relevant experiences of political and societal transitions and transformations. When asked why Europe matters in their external relations independent cultural. stakeholders unanimously took the relationship with Europe for granted Yet they questioned the. purpose of Europeans acting as donors and more particularly the bureaucratic approach of the EU in. its relations with Egypt and the Mediterranean region For instance there is strong criticism against. the work of the Anna Lindh Foundation and several calls for its closure were made and all went. unchallenged, Third the experience of cooperation exchange and relations with Europe is mostly felt. through contacts with individual European Member States their national representations and. citizens The presence of Europe in Egypt is materialized by a high number of tourists 70 80 per cent. of tourists in Egypt are European according to estimates given during the consultation a number of. private companies and in Cairo cultural institutes and embassies Before as well as after the 2011. This wording was used by an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the consultation workshop in Cairo. Wording used during the consultation workshops in Cairo. COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 11, preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS.
revolution European national cultural organisations have supported independent Egyptian cultural. professionals financially and politically This support is not uncontroversial amongst Egyptian. stakeholders While it is welcome and well perceived by those who depend on it it is also viewed as. a way of pursuing a political agenda consisting of encouraging underground organisations that. remain hidden in times of repression and oppression or unofficial ones that do not want or cannot. engage in a dialogue with government The work of cultural institutes and European agencies in Cairo. is thus depicted in a very ambivalent manner On the one hand it is acknowledged that most of the. work being done could not exist without European support on the other a lot of frustration can be. felt because many of their expectations remain unfulfilled. Consultation debates also touched upon the role of European organisations in Egypt their. modus operandi and their strategies A variety of approaches were presented many representatives. of national funding organisations considered that they should continue to act the way they do as. funders of cultural initiatives coming spontaneously with their promoters without necessarily trying. to chase Egyptians partners and beneficiaries, Member States national cultural institutes or agencies consulted in Egypt did not seem. particularly concerned by the prospect of budget cuts In the absence of such financial pressure they. do not seem to consider that further collective European action is an utmost priority No specific. added value of the EU as such was noted either by the consulted European cultural institutes and. there was a consensus among them about the value of their diversity and respective individual added. Fourth the presence of the EU in independent external cultural relations is materialised. through the funding of aid and cooperation programmes According to the non governmental. stakeholders consulted most of their funding comes from European donors or the EU 27 Those who. received EU funds do not complain so much about them and consider this funding important in their. work However the perceptions of regional programmes making partnerships compulsory with. European or other counterparts from the region were described negatively as being disrespectful of. the real intentions of projects promoters, The independent professionals consulted by the consortium questioned the relevance of the. EU mostly because of bureaucratic procedures in other words its capacity as a well placed donor. willing to support non state cultural organisations infrastructure core funding and rapidly. disbursable initiatives While acknowledging that they do need structural funding but not necessarily. expecting it from EU s cumbersome procedures several stakeholders insisted on the fact that they. need know how transfers and not only funds They wondered about the added value of projects. creating umbrella organisations like the one on restructuring the cultural scene in the MENA. See overview of EU programmes in Annex II,COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 12. preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS. Yet for the few who know the EU and receive funding from it the Union represents in the. long term a formidable potential of cultural relations with Egypt the EU promotes values shared by. westernised cultural stakeholders attached to them and it has the financial means to support long. term education or cultural policy reform programmes. The consultation generated debates among participants on the reform of the cultural sector. and cultural policies in Egypt in relation to the very existence and usefulness of institutions Ministry. of Culture committees state funded cultural institutions such as the opera public statuses and. employment the cost free principle of cultural policy access to culture and education to cultural. practices the absence of reliable statistics and of genuine inter ministerial and whole of government. coordination The question of the EU s role in assisting in the reform of cultural policies in the long. run was raised Can the EU help in the transformation of the cultural sector. Informants made many suggestions with regard to recommendations or ideas about what. the EU Europe or Europeans could do On the Preparatory Action itself and the follow up to it they. suggested that more exchanges should be held between cultural professionals from Egypt and. Europe on the very topic of culture in external relations It would allow them to know better what. Europeans think in all their diversity This could be done during the conference scheduled as part of. the Preparatory Action but it could also be envisaged as a specific format of action consisting of. regular direct exchanges between cultural professionals and policy makers possibly in the margin of. cooperation training or co creation programmes, Regarding the role of culture in EU s external relations our informants first opined that the. EU and its Member States need to decide if culture is a tool of development and then to decide. whether or not to integrate more into its plans If this was to happen some experts reckoned that it. would be a real breakthrough since currently the EU and its Member States according to them. ignore one another s work 29, As a comment on European self indulgence in their eyes one priority for Europeans is.
perhaps to do more at home to enhance Europeans knowledge and awareness of other cultures. such as that of Egypt in their own educational systems They also suggested that Europeans think. beyond Egypt by targeting like minded dynamic and creative individuals in the country who are. eager to develop concrete outward looking projects rather than abstractly target the country as a. whole They also recommended a focus on global and universally relevant topics and values to be. shared with all rather than on the current political and security context. With that in mind some considered the EU could contribute by developing approaches to. facilitate synergies between official and unofficial cultural actors with a view to contributing to the. development of the cultural components of Egypt s external relations as part of the European. culture reflecting the diversity of the Egyptian society and against stereotypes conveyed by the. mass media Some experts suggested that European organisations working in the field of culture. could perhaps make more efforts to consider the diversity of Egyptian society Arabic Muslims. Interviews and consultations in Cairo,COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 13. preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS. Christians Jews Nubians various ethnic groups including the Muslim Brotherhood Salafists a. suggestion not shared by all or other communities and politicised forces groups. In the short term there was a consensus on the need to support the sustainability for. instance by financing basic infrastructure and equipment of independent cultural organisations. while also contributing to their capacity building and professionalisation training in fund raising was. specifically mentioned In a quite similar vein the prospect of having direct cooperation with. professional counterparts willing to share and exchange knowhow and experience was highlighted. The first post graduate degree on cultural management in Egypt is about to be launched in Cairo. University for 2014 2016 It is a 2 year multidisciplinary and practice oriented course targeting. students about to work in the cultural sector as managers or project leaders The curriculum will be. in Arabic but knowledge of English will be required The option of European EU support was. mentioned during the consultation, With a view to democratising access to culture S Mobarak recommends that the EU. supports more massively and systematically through cultural management training talents and. cultural non professional organisations that have a direct impact on communities. The need to re work the legislative framework related to culture from censorship to taxation. of cultural activity trade of cultural goods audio visual and distribution systems new media was. mentioned by independent stakeholders as an area where the EU could also help. Some points were also made about what not to do many contrasted bureaucracy and. creativity quoting inflexible and constraining EU calls for proposals instead of direct support to. existing cultural projects and initiatives the principle of acting in accordance to a political agenda. related to specific political forces or leaders was also rejected as well as approaches consisting of. focusing cultural dialogue on differences rather than on commonalities. In a rapidly changing political environment the cultural sector in Egypt finds itself caught up. in a range of ongoing political and societal movements that together embody all the dimensions of. what divides and unites Egyptians their heritage their languages their religions In this uncertain. context cultural relations with Europe are being redefined by internal processes as much as by the. way Europeans will decide to behave vis vis Egyptian society in the field of culture. COUNTRY REPORT EGYPT 14, preparatory action CULTURE in EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS.


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