Egypt's Supreme Council for Culture members appointed

Mohammed Saad , Sunday 3 Aug 2014

Prime minister appoints new members of council responsible for setting and organising policies of culture ministry

SCC members meeting(Photo: Mohammed Saad)

Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has appointed new members to the Supreme Council for Culture. They include Mubarak-era Supreme Court judge, Tahani El-Gebali, along with a number of Egypt’s most respected cultural figures.

Among the new appointments are Dawood Abdel-Sayyied, director of Kit Kat, a jewel of Egyptian cinema. The new list also includes the Nile Award winning poet Sayyied Hegab and the leading female composer, Awatef Abdel-Karim.

The new appointments were published in the Official Journal on Sunday 3 August.

The decision includes the renewal of the terms of Mubarak-era youth minister, Ali El-Din Helal, political science professor, Fawzy Fahmy, the head of the culture and communication at the now-defunct National Democratic Party (NDP) and writer ElSayyied Yassin.

The reappointed members also include novelists Gamal El-Ghitany and Bahaa Taher, critic Salah Fadl, poet Farouk Shousha, law professor Mohammed Nour Farahat and writer and journalist Salah Eissa.

The SCC is a body run by the Ministry of Culture. It replaced the High Council of Arts and Culture that was founded in 1954. After the January 25 revolution, the role of the SCC sparked controversy as some Egyptian intellectuals called for the council to replace the ministry, making it solely responsible for creating and monitoring cultural policy in Egypt.

The SCC is one of the most important parts of the culture ministry. It is responsible for setting ministry policies and organising ministry activities.

The SCC is also responsible for granting state cultural prizes, which are traditionally announced each June. The vote on state awards every year is determined by members of the SCC.

The new head of the SCC, Mohammed Afifi, who was appointed last June, is widely respected and is expected to make major changes in the SCC, yet choosing the members of his council is out of his hands as they are selected by the prime minister.

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