The opening ceremony of the 7th edition of the Aswan International Culture and Arts Festival (17-22 February) has hailed Egypt's presidency of the African Union (AU).
Egyptian and foreign troupes in a joint performance on the Nile of Aswan (Photo courtesy of the Culture Ministry Media Office)
Minister of Culture Ines Abdel-Dayem said celebrations of Egypt’s presidency of the AU reflects the value and status of Egypt regionally and internationally as it promotes intercultural dialogue and cultural communication with the world, adding that culture and creativity are the best means to build bridges between human beings and raise awareness to counter extremism.
"This is reflected in the presence of all these countries in Egypt, the land of civilisation. It is also considered a slap on the face of terrorism, because arts and culture are Egypt's soft power in the face of terrorism," Abdel-Dayem said.
Organised by the General Organisation of Culture Palaces, headed by Ahmed Awwad, and in cooperation with the Foreign Cultural Relations Sector, presided over by Heba Youssef, the festival was inaugurated Sunday, 17 February.
Participating are 23 artistic troupes from 16 countries representing three continents. Ten of the countries are African: Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (which is the guest of honour for this edition), Mauritius, Ghana and Kenya.
Dance performances by all the troupes participating at Aswan International Culture and Arts Festival (Photo courtesy of the Culture Ministry Media Office)
Six countries from the Asian and European continents are participating: China, Greece, Indonesia, Jordan, Palestine, and Poland.
Together, the assembled troupes constitute a brilliant mix, with folkloric performances representing the distinctive cultural and artistic heritage of each.
The festival also includes a number of joint artistic performances.