The Arab World Institute in Paris plays an essential role in exposing the Arab culture and civilization before the public.
Majeda Wassef, chairman of the cinema department in the institute, told Syria Times that the Institute was founded in 1974 on the initiative of the French government in cooperation with the Arab ambassadors accredited to France. The foundation of the Institute was an expression of France keenness to enhance relations with the Arab states. Besides, the French people are fond of acquainting themselves with the civilizations that had flourished on Arab soil during consecutive periods and the modern Arab culture and art.
The Department of Cinema at the Institute helps market the Arab features Europe. The Institute organizes a biennial festival for the Arab cinema through which it casts light on successful Arab features.
The festival is a good opportunity for casting light on the Arab cinema and marketing it. Arab cinema has its broad audience these days, especially in the French capital, Paris.
The Institute has showed about 90 Arab features, 60 of which are Egyptian. It has also held events in honor of Egyptian actors and directors.
Wasef added that the Institute has also published a book about Egyptian cinema. The Institute is currently showing features from different Arab states including, Syria, Palestine and Tunis.
Answering a question about the future activities of the Institute, she said that the Institute is currently organizing TV programs festivals.
The headquarters of the Institute was built in accordance to Arab and eastern architectural designs making the institute one of the most important tourist attractions in Paris because of its rich decorations and the oriental features.
In reply to a question about the activities of the Institute, Wasef said that some have misunderstood the tasks of the Institute believing that it is a place for education and teaching only. However, the activities of the Institute are various including art, theatre, symposiums and music. It can be considered an Arab UNESCO.
The budget of the institute is funded by the French government. But this contribution is allocated for administrative and maintenance works, while the Arab contribution is allocated for funding cultural activities which are organized by the Institute periodically – Albawaba.com