The 2nd Cultural Debate - "The Role of Literature and Cultural Magazines in the Promotion of Culture"

From 19 Jul 2014 To 19 Jul 2014 Bayt Al-Sinnari

The second cultural debate under the program Support to Cultural Diversity and Creativity in Egypt, was organized by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, on July 19th 2014 at the historic Bayt Al-Sinnari. The event brought together thirty prominent intellectuals and experts from various governorates to discuss and make recommendations regarding the ways to enhance the role of literature in general, and cultural magazines in particular, in order to promote culture in Egypt. The event was chaired by Dr. Ismail Serageldin, the Director the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, who launched the discussion with an account on the history and impact of cultural magazines in Egypt, which served to bring people together, as well as educate the public on specific cultural themes.

The challenges faced by magazine publishers were also discussed during the first session of the debate. Although the internet was seen by some as the primary cause for the decline in magazine production, some argued that it actually had the potential to increase the impact of magazines in the realm of culture. Another obstacle noted by participants was the fact that political issues have begun to overshadow both cultural and social issues in the Egyptian media. It was noted that more efforts need to be done by the cultural community as a whole to educate people on the centrality of culture and education  in solving many of the challenges that exist in the country today.

During the second session of the event, the discussions progressed on the ways and means of enhancing the role of magazines in the promotion of culture in Egypt. It was argued that more cultural magazines should be introduced in schools and universities, giving young people the opportunity to grow with this form of media as the generations before them. It was suggested by some participants that the style and language of cultural magazines should be adapted to the new generation. However, some participants disagreed with this proposition, emphasizing the need to introduce young people to the culture of magazines as they were in the past.

During the second session, Dr. Serageldin discussed with participants the work that the BA has been doing to promote cultural magazines, and invited participants to offer ideas and suggestions to further enhance these efforts.

Throughout the debate, Dr. Serageldin also shared with participants insight into the unique history and rich architecture of Bayt Al-Sinnari. An iftar was also organized for participants attending the event.