Culture Minister Ines Abdel-Dayem opened the 5th Cairo International Forum for Arab Poetry at the Cairo Opera House on Monday.
This year's edition of the forum saw an increase in the prize from EGP 100,000 to EGP 200,000 to encourage the participation of more Egyptian and Arab poets, she said.
The Fifth Cairo International Forum for Arab Poetry, held under the title "Poetry and the Culture of the Age," bears the name of two great poets, Ibrahim Nagui and Badr Shaker El-Sayyab,
It runs from 13 to 16 January at the Cairo Opera House’s Small Theatre.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by Hisham Azmy, secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Culture, Gaber Asfour, head of the Forum’s Award Committee, Mohamed Abdel-Muttalib, rapporteur of the Scientific Committee, Abdel-Salam El-Masdy, representative of the forum’s participants, Magdy Saber, director of the Cairo Opera House, and a number of Egyptian and Arab poets.
The forum will see the participation of 100 poets and critics from 15 Arab countries: Egypt, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Lebanon and Yemen. It features five sessions, two roundtable discussions and seven poetry evenings.
Abdel-Dayem said the new year will see significant cultural events, starting with the poetry forum, followed by the activities of the 51st Cairo International Book Fair, starting on 22 January, in addition to the celebrations of Cairo as the capital of Islamic culture, the activities of the Egypt-Russia Cultural Year, as well as other major events.
She added that the Arabs were famous for eloquence and poetry, which formed an integral part of their history and cultural heritage.
Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Culture Hisham Azmy said that Egypt has embraced Arab culture throughout its history and opened its doors to creators from all parts of the Arab world.
Representing the participants, El-Masdy delivered a speech affirming his pride at being in Cairo, which has always had the ability to gather intellectuals with different approaches and opinions, saying that the first edition of the Arab poetry forum was organised by Egypt in 1993 by the General Organization of Culture Palaces, which indicates the leadership of Egypt in supporting Arab poetry, despite the challenges that the region is experiencing.
The winner of the forum’s award will be announced at the closing ceremony.