World Art Forum held at National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation

Ahram Online , Wednesday 19 Jan 2022

The World Art Forum (WAF) was held at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) in Cairo with the aim of integrating contemporary art with sustainable development.

(L-r) Ahmed Shalaby, Minister Hala El-Said, WAF founder Randa Fouad, UN representatives Ghada Wally and Elena Panova

The forum, running from 15 to 19 January, is held under the auspices of five ministries in partnership with the UN Office in Egypt, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), the New York International Contemporary Art Society, and Tatweer Misr for Real Estate Development, with more than 100 artists from 30 countries around the world.

The WAF includes a wide range of artistic events and roundtables discussing the role of art in promoting sustainable development and building partnerships between artists and the practitioners of sustainable development.

The launching of the WAF was attended by Hala El-Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Ghada Wally, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and General Director of the United Nations Office in Vienna, Ahmed Ghoneim, Head of Authority of the NMEC, Elena Panova, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Egypt, Ahmed Shalaby, President and CEO of Tatweer Misr.

Also present were the ambassadors of the US, the EU, Argentina, Italy, Belgium, Japan and the ambassador of the Netherlands, in addition to celebrities and public figures including actor Hussein Fahmy and Syrian singer Leena Chamamyan.

The forum involved a set of discussions on sustainable development and its deep connection to art.


Contemporary artist Randa Fouad, President of the WAF and Sheranda World Art, said, “We are proud that our dream has turned into reality. For the first time, we, as artists, embrace the integration of contemporary art with sustainable development. We believe in the role of art as an effective partner in raising awareness on societal issues, as it is a universal language bringing people together.”

Fouad added that the goal behind the forum is to create an opportunity for everyone to enjoy global artwork, in addition to holding a series of panel discussions involving artists and development experts. 

Minister of Planning and Economic Development El-Said praised the distinguished and non-typical choice of topic for the forum, explaining that the vital message of art is to raise public appreciation for art and culture and advance it by upholding ethics and behaviour of citizens.

Minister El-Said added that this message comes at the heart of the development plans of the Egyptian government, foremost of which is the Egypt Vision 2030, where having a system of supportive cultural values ​​represents one of the necessary tools in implementing policies, initiatives, and programmes.

“The vision also sets a general goal of enriching cultural and sports life under the strategic goal of improving the quality of life for Egyptian citizens and improving their standard of living. Building a system of positive cultural values ​​in Egyptian society is a source of strength to achieve development, an added value to the national economy, and a basis for Egypt’s skilled human resource regionally and globally. The interest in culture also comes within the axis of building the Egyptian persona, which is one of the main axes of the government’s agenda for the period 2018-2022, whether in culture, health, education or sports,” the minister said. 

Elena Panova, UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, said that the WAF is a unique and exclusive occasion.

“Arts and culture come at the heart of sustainable development. The SDGs – adopted in 2015 – referred for the first time to the important role of culture and its contribution to the sustainable development agenda. There are direct economic benefits of culture and arts to states and communities: art creates jobs, attracts investments, generates revenues, and stimulates local economies through tourism and consumer purchases,” Panova said.

“We at the UN advocate that the role and impact of art and culture on sustainable development is being systematically promoted, studied, measured, and operationalized. That is why it is important to endorse this initiative as one of the platforms that positions art and culture as an integral part of sustainable development,” she said.

Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and General Director of the United Nations Office at Vienna Ghada Wally said, “Everyone needs to restore culture, beauty and celebrate sophistication.”

“Arts in all its forms elevates human conscience and is a cure for depression and bad psychological conditions, including emotional stress resulting from the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic. This includes addressing the psychological state of 140 million people who have lost their jobs globally, 120 million who live below the poverty line, and billions who have missed out on education due to the coronavirus.” 

The forum seeks to develop executable technical development strategies and plans to create an educated audience that is aware of the role of art. The forum also contributes to activating cultural dialogue and supporting Egyptian and Arab cultural self-confidence and its capabilities for creativity and renewal.

Short link: