About Us Cultural Relations

The cultural exchanges between the two great civilizations of India and Egypt have existed since the Pharaonic times.  The first cultural Agreement between the two nations was signed in 1958 which envisaged establishing cultural institutes in each other’s territory.  With the setting up of the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) as a Cultural Wing under the Embassy of India in Cairo, the spirit of that cultural exchange has seen an institutional embodiment.

Two important aspects were considered for opening an Indian Cultural Centre in Egypt: 1) Cairo’s great importance as an intellectual and cultural center of the Arab World and Africa.

2) Long and rich history of cultural exchange between the two civilizations.

MACIC was inaugurated on 14th January 1992, by Mr. Madhav Singh Solanki, the then Foreign Minister of India, in the presence of Mr. Farouk Hosny, the Minister of Culture of Egypt, and Mr. Amr Moussa, the then Foreign Minister of Egypt. It was named after Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958), a distinguished scholar, educationist and statesman, who was the first Education Minister of India and the founding President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Maulana Azad fought for India’s freedom alongside Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. A symbol of the pluralistic and secular ethos of India, Maulana Azad laid the basis for independent India’s educational and cultural policies and contributed significantly to the scientific and cultural methods of inquiry. He made significant contributions to Islamic studies and wrote a brilliant commentary of the Quran “Tarjuman Al-Quran”. Maulana Azad had a special interest in cultural exchanges with other civilisations and nations. He founded the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and encouraged cultural cooperation between Asia and Africa. He visited Egypt and had a special affinity for Egypt’s great civilization.

Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) was established as the Cultural arm of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, and formally inaugurated in April 1950 with the primary objective of establishing, reviving and strengthening cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries. MACIC is one of the Cultural Centres under ICCR.

MACIC conducts regular academic programmes and sessions in Hindi, Urdu, and Indian dance forms, and organizes academic seminars, film shows, exhibitions, and cultural festivals from time to time.  India by the Nile, the annual Indian cultural festival, was last held in March 2020 for over two weeks in three cities of Egypt.  The festival is deemed as the ‘biggest foreign cultural festival’ in Egypt.  The MACIC Round-tables and seminar series involve youth, academia, culture lovers and the civil society in stimulating discussions on issues of mutual interest and sharing of experiences. The last event in this series was the webinar organized on 21st May 2020, to mark the “World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development”, as declared by the UN.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, MACIC screens Indian films in Hanager Theater, Cairo Opera House, every month.

‘Sawtul-Hind’, Embassy’s flagship Arabic magazine, reached a milestone in July 2017 with the publishing of its 500th edition. Sawtul-Hind, the first edition of which was published in 1952, continues to be an interface between India and Egypt and the Arab world at large.

The Glimpses of India painting competition is being conducted for the Egyptian children for the last 25 years.  An overwhelming response was received in its Silver Jubilee year 2019 with the participation of 16,000 schoolchildren from 12 Governorates in Egypt. The celebration of the Silver Jubilee of the competition was held in Oct. 2019, hosting a delegation of 12 artists from India who led two art workshops for the selected Egyptian students, three exhibitions and a seminar on “Art in India and Egypt”. The Mission has also printed a special edition of table-calendars to mark the jubilee.

In its outreach activities, the Cultural Centre also organizes India Day(s) in Egyptian Governorates and Universities. The Mission is commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi with diverse programmes spread over two years. Under the auspices of MACIC, cultural groups from India perform in various cities of Egypt, making the presence of India felt at all the major festivals of Egypt.

As far as academic arena is concerned, a number of Egyptian students have benefited from ICCR and other scholarship schemes to study in India. The MoU for first ICCR Chair was signed with the Ain Shams University in March 2016 and accordingly, the Indian Chair on Bioinformatics commenced in September 2016 and continued till 2018.

Yoga has gained popularity in Egypt with more than 50 schools of Yoga in Cairo, besides centers in other cities. For the sixth consecutive year, the International Day of Yoga was celebrated in June 2020. There are seven regular Yoga batches at MACIC – from Beginners to Advanced levels. There is also a growing interest in Indian traditional medicine. Two interactive sessions were conducted in 2018 on Ayurveda and alternative medicine in India.

The strong ties between India and Egypt are evident from the affection towards India amongst the Egyptian population. Three streets in Cairo are named after Indian leaders namely, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr. Zakir Hussein. There are three busts of Mahatma Gandhi – 1) At the Supreme Council of Culture, Cairo, 2) Al-Horriya Park, Cairo, 3) At the Bibliotheca, Alexandria. On the other hand, Gamal Abdul Nasser Marg in Delhi is named after the late President of Egypt.

With the objective of ensuring direct online accessibility to the Centre, MACIC launched its pages recently on popular social media platforms like Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ICCREgypt), Twitter ([at]ICCR_Egypt), Instagram ([at]ICCR_Egypt) and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ-U6DDxNCRwaBba1uQbVvQ). 

MACIC Director: Vacant

Third Secretary (MACIC): Shri Mohammed Hashim

MACIC Address: 3, Abu El Feda Street, Zamalek, Cairo
Tel. No. : 2737-1995 / Fax No.: 2737-1996

Email: macic[at]indembcairo[dot]com

Important links:
Ministry of Culture 
Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)  
Ministry of Human Resource Development
National Academy of Letters (Sahitya Akademi)
National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama (Sangeet Natak Akademi)
National School of Drama
National Institute of Design
National Archives
National Museum
National Gallery of Modern Art 
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts 
Archaeological Survey of India

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