French Ambassador to Egypt Stephane Romatet bestowed upon independent Egyptian playwright Ahmed El-Attar the Order of Arts and Letters award in a ceremony on 14 April at the French embassy in Cairo.
Romatet described El-Attar as "the man of the theatre."
The order, which is bestowed by the French Ministry of Culture, was given to El-Attar for his significant contributions to the field of theatre as well as his significant role in fostering a bicultural bridge between the Egyptian/Arab and French arts and theatre.
Originally known as Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the prestigious distinction was established by the French Minister of Culture in 1957. Its purpose is to recognise outstanding francophone personalities for their contributions to the arts and literature or for promoting these fields.
During his acceptance speech, El-Attar expressed his gratitude, saying, "theatre has been my home since I entered the field in the American University in Cairo (AUC) when I was eight years old. Theatre has saved me from the most critical moments in my life and helped me define my identity when I was lost. I have given my life to the theatre, and in return it has allowed me to be recorded in the history of arts."
El-Attar is an independent Egyptian theatre director, translator, playwright and cultural manager. He is the founder and general manager of Studio Emad Eddin, which is a unique project that offers rehearsals and training spaces to independent artists in the field of performing arts in Egypt.
He is also the founder and artistic director of Orient Productions, the Temple Independent Theatre Company, and the founder of D- CAF (Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival). The activities of D-CAF's eight edition started on 29 March and are ongoing until 21 April.
El-Attar was born in 1969 and studied at the French Catholic School Les Frères. He then went on to study theatre at the AUC. He obtained an MA in Cultural Management from the Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle University in 2001.
In 2009, El-Attar was selected as a Chevening scholar as well as a Clore Leadership programme alumnus in the UK. He also participated in the National Strategies Programme in 2014-2015 in the United States.