An invitation to Sicily

Reham El-Adawi , Friday 10 Feb 2023

Al-Ahram Weekly reports on a new educational initiative encouraging Egyptians to study in the Mediterranean island.

one of the Study in Sicily fairs
one of the Study in Sicily fairs


The Italian Cultural Institute in Cairo and the Sicilian Region in Italy have launched the “Study in Sicily” initiative in Egypt for the promotion and internationalisation of the Sicilian education system in the Mediterranean Basin and the Middle East.

With over 1.3 million euros in funding, the initiative is a tangible example of the cooperation between Italy and Egypt, a partnership which the two sides say they intend to continue and advance.

The project addresses Egypt and the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria.

It aims to connect individual countries, promote the exchange of good practices and joint projects, improve networking between institutes, and strengthen education in the island.

Study in Sicily also brings together Italian and Egyptian educational institutions to improve potential collaboration through e-twinning platforms and exchange programmes and university agreements. Sicily has a long history of cultural exchanges between the two sides of the Mediterranean Sea, a solid background for enhancing existing academic relationships and establishing new forms of cooperation that can lead to positive socio-economic outcomes.

The launch of the initiative included a series of bilateral meetings between the institutions of the two countries and three fairs where Egyptian students were given the opportunity to know more about the Italian educational system and study opportunities in Sicily and professors learned about exchanging programmes and bilateral academic agreements. A fair was held in each of Cairo, Alexandria, and Luxor.  

Studying at Sicilian higher educational institutions and universities means being exposed to various disciplines including engineering, agricultural sciences, economy, archaeology, foreign languages and literature, political sciences, medicine and surgery, musical education, and biotechnology.   

“The goal is to create opportunities for dialogue, collaboration and development between Sicilian and Egyptian universities and educational institutions, offering new mobility opportunities for students of the two countries,” said Flaminio Galli, director-general of the National Institute of Documentation, Innovation and Educational Research (INDIRE), an organiser of the initiative.

Concerts by the Erasmus Orchestra will also give many students attending Sicilian conservatories the opportunity to perform in an international context, according to Galli.

The increase in incoming and outgoing students can give rise to an increasingly open and international approach, capable of promoting the exchange of new practices and innovation given by a virtuous circulation of ideas, inclusion, and integration among peoples, Galli said.

“The plan gives the island’s students the opportunity to participate in extra-European mobility activities thanks to scholarships,” the councillor for education and professional training of the Sicilian Region Mimmo Turano said.

This is the first regional experiment on a European scale which has strengthened relations with North Africa and the Middle East, Turano said, adding that Sicily is geographically located in a strategic position and “this is why we must aim to become a Mediterranean hub for the world of education and training.”

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* A version of this article appears in print in the 9 February, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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