“The Memory of Modern Egypt”, the Latest of the BA Projects, Documents the History of the Egyptian Civil Societies
With the aim of achieving a better standard of living for the community, the civil societies in Egypt offer comprehensive social care and development programs to the communities that they serve. As the activity of these non-governmental organizations represents an indication of true social solidarity, the “Memory of Egypt” website is documenting the history of these societies in Egypt. However, these societies cannot be considered as an alternative to the basic responsibilities and functions of the state, but only as an enhancement to their effectiveness.
Dr. Khaled Azab, the Project Supervisor, remarked that if we look at the Arab world in general, and the Egyptian society specifically, we find that the conditions are not favorable for the effectiveness of the civil society sector. This is due to the fact that current laws restrict civic action and limit their effective participation. He added that efforts should be exerted to support and empower civil societies’ role within their communities.
Amira Daoud, responsible for the Civil Societies Section in the project, stated that that the establishment and development of civil societies in Egypt can be divided into six stages: the foundation stage (1821-1918); the expanding stage (1919-1938); supervising and directing stage (1939-1951), organizing and coordinating stage (1952-1960); a stage of limited civic activity (1961-1973); stage of economic openness and governmental support (1974-1981).
Over this period of time many changes have taken place in the laws governing civil societies and in the Egyptian society itself, in order to keep pace with changes and developments occurring worldwide.
It is worth mentioning that the “Memory of Modern Egypt” is a definitive digital repository of materials documenting Egypt’s rich modern history, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, through photographs, films, stamps, coins, newspapers, magazines, documents, and historic studies that were drafted specifically for the Project. The Memory is a joint endeavor between the BA International School of Information Science (ISIS) in charge of the technical part, and the BA Special Projects Department that is in charge of the scientific content.