Egypt/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy

The ministries in charge of international cultural cooperation are:

Foreign Ministry: is in charge of cultural activities overseas and is responsible administratively and financially.

Ministry of Higher Education: is in charge of educational supervision of Egyptian students abroad and it also in charge of selecting the Egyptian cultural attaché, who supervises dispatched students and introduces Egyptian culture to the host country.

MOC: is in charge of providing the materials used by the cultural centers directors or the cultural attaché to introduce Egyptian Culture abroad, in addition to providing the necessary assistance to the attaché to sign cultural and special agreements, particularly with civil society institutions overseas.

Each of the aforesaid ministries has a first under minister for foreign affairs and they coordinate to conclude the said agreements[1].

In addition, Egypt hosts a large number of foreign cultural centers, some of which have a rich history such as:

  • French Cultural Center.
  • German Cultural Center (Goethe Institute).
  • Spanish Cultural Center (Cervantes).
  • British Council.
  • Italian Cultural Center.
  • Indian Cultural Center.
  • Russian Cultural Center.
  • Korean Cultural Center.
  • Japanese Cultural Center.

There are also many centers that offer language teaching and conduct various cultural activities, such as film showing, concerts, plastic arts exhibition and child education workshops.

After the revolution of January, the European Union, British Council and the Goethe Institute increased their sponsorship to cultural aspects with hopes that their support will lead to a democratic transition of power.

A Swiss government organization “under the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs” has been active in Egypt after the revolution, the organization name is: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the link to their website is:

This agency received a bigger slice of the budget cake, and their direction was to support projects focused mainly on the development of social and cultural projects related to development , human rights as well as the issue of both legal and illegal immigration.

according to the official website of this Swiss Foundation in May 2013 , they are supposed to sign a draft agreement to implement Swiss activities in Egypt in cooperation with the Ministry of International Cooperation .

There has been some activity for the Scandinavian countries, especially Denmark and Sweden, to support of the democratic transition, but we do not have the names of specific institutions.

In December 2013, Ambassador James Moran, head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt, and Dr. Ismail Siraj al-Din, head of the Library of Alexandria, signed a €3 million agreement for funding projects to support cultural diversity and innovation within the Library of Alexandria’s affiliated historical Bayt al-Sinnari building on As-sayyida Zainab Street in Cairo.

The agreement is aimed at organizing numerous activities that would enrich cultural diversity as well as activities that will benefit future generations of Egyptians in different provinces other than Cairo and Alexandria, such as Asyut and Marsa Matruh.

In June 2014 the British Council announced that it had received 134 applications for artist grants from across the Egyptian provinces of Cairo, Alexandria, Minya, Ismailia, Luxor, Fayoum, and North Sinai. Nineteen of the applicants received grants this year.

Since its inception in 2011, the ‘artist grants’ program has benefited 83 Egyptian artists who were able to produce new works, develop their skills and exhibit their work to inspire the public.

[1]              From an interview with Dr. Faisal Younes, former first under Minister of Culture for Foreign Affairs.

Chapter published: 01-04-2016