Egypt artists discuss future prospects of culture with new minister

Ahram Online , Tuesday 22 Sep 2015

The delegation of intellectuals discussed Minister of Culture Helmy El-Namnam's upcoming plans, strategy and priorities

Minister of Culture Helmy El-Namnam
Minister of Culture Helmy El-Namnam

A delegation of intellectuals met with the newly appointed Minister of Culture Helmy El-Namnam on Monday 21 September to discuss the current Egyptian cultural scene and share their vision regarding the future prospects of Egypt's culture. 

The delegation included painter Mohamed Abla, Egyptian poet Sayed Higab, producer Mohamed El-Adl, theatre director Essam El-Sayyid, and the head of the Egyptian Cinema Syndicate Mossad Fouda, among others.

“It was a friendly meeting in which we discussed the minister’s upcoming plan, strategy and priorities,” Mohamed Abla told Ahram Online.

The meeting, Abla added, focused on the upcoming parliamentary elections and the role that the Ministry of Culture could play in spreading electoral education and awareness.

“We discussed the idea that cultural palaces and houses could invite thinkers and host an array of performances, lectures, and discussions to inform people of their electoral rights,” Abla explained.

“It is important not to give in to fabricated issues regarding El-Namnam’s scholarly work,” he added.

El-Namnam is the author of many books, including Sayed Qutb and the July Revolution, The Unknown Hassan El-Banna, and Taha Hussein and Zionism.

As Abla put it, El-Namnam’s appointment "was to a certain degree a response to demands" a delegation of Egyptian intellectuals raised during a previous meeting with former prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab in which they called for the sacking of the former culture minister Abdel Wahed El-Nabawy. "That said, it is important that El-Namnam actualises some achievements," Abla added. 

During the term of previous Minister of Culture El-Nabawy, the minister was critiqued by intellectuals who denounced the minister’s policy and “mismanagement of the cultural scene and lack of cultural vision.”

For his part, Egyptian poet Sayed Higab told Ahram Online that the delegation expressed its “support to El-Namnam to restore our cultural leadership, and connect the Ministry of Culture with the public,” adding that he is optimistic with the appointment of El-Namnam who belongs to the cultural circles, and knows them well. 

El-Namnam is the 10th Minister of Culture -- and 8th person -- since the January 25 Revolution. He is an author, journalist and was head of Egypt's National Library and Archives under Gaber Asfour in 2014.


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