Washington Post: Alexandria Library Prompts Hopes for Intellectual Revival in Egypt
The reconstruction of the fabled library of Hellenistic times in Alexandria has sparked predictions of an economic revival and the reemergence of Egypt as an intellectual force in the world, according to a report by the Washington Post on Thursday.
But efforts to complete the Bibliotheca Alexandrina -- scheduled to open in the fall -- have borne the hallmarks of modern rather than ancient Alexandria, with years of delay, budget overruns and controversy over its warehouse-style collection policy, said the paper.
The library director, former World Bank vice president Ismail Serageldin, told the Post that he hopes the library's presence will be felt first and foremost in Alexandria itself, restoring some of its old cachet. Then, he hopes, the institution will influence the rest of Egypt, drawing the country into more contact with other nations.
"We want to give maximum freedom to allow it to be an interlocutor" with the world's great academic and research institutions, said Serageldin. "One of the benefits is that it churns up intellectual activity in Egypt."
Serageldin is confident about his ability to restore Alexandria as a hotbed of "debate, divergence and multiplicity," despite the political situation in the country and the deteriorating cultural situation in the sea front city – Albawaba.com
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