For decades Pro-Helvetia Cairo, the regional office of the Swiss Arts Council for the Arab region, has been incredibly active in promoting artistic exchange between Switzerland and Egypt. In fact, this year Switzerland is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Pro-Helvetia in Cairo. Pro-Helvetia’s liaison office in Cairo opened in 1988. This office has allowed for lively cultural exchanges in a number of areas between Switzerland and the Arab region.
Pro Helvetia Cairo has not only helped to raise awareness in the Arab world of Swiss culture, but also forge ties with local event organizers and create co-productions with artists from the regions concerned. Switzerland is very keen to continue promoting this angle of the relationship, as an important means of connecting the creative domains that can bring our two cultures closer together.
Pro Helvetia Cairo supports and disseminates Swiss arts and culture in the Arab region, promotes cultural exchange, develops and nurtures long-term partnerships, initiates co-productions and support residencies. Pro Helvetia Cairo regional office is headed by Dalia Suleiman.
Swiss travellers, explorers, businesspersons, hoteliers, artists, architects, and many others have left their mark and legacies across Egypt throughout the centuries. As an example, some 200 years ago the Swiss traveller Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, later called Sheikh Ibrahim, rediscovered one of the most iconic ancient Egyptian landmarks, the Abu Simbel temples.
Cultural cooperation has always been central to Switzerland’s relationship with Egypt. The language of art, music, literature, film, theatre, and all forms of culture is important to bring nations together and nurture long-term partnerships. Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous state, has a rich historical and cultural heritage with which Switzerland is keen to cooperate.
Over the years, the embassy has invited many Swiss bands and performance artists to visit Egypt. The embassy has also been very active in promoting diverse aspects of cultural exchange in Egypt. For example, earlier this year the embassy produced a phone application called Swiss Trail that uses GPS systems to showcase 20 Swiss-influenced landmarks across Cairo, including historical hotels, villas, gardens, and buildings once built or run by Swiss citizens in Egypt.
The embassy also organized this year, in cooperation with Egyptian football academy AIMZ, two days of a football tournament in Cairo, in which more than 200 teenage girls participated. The embassy is looking forward to organizing more events, during the second half of the year, which will contribute to boosting development and culture.