Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture is the Indian Cultural Centre of Indian Council for Cultural Relations(ICCR).
India and Egypt, two of the world’s oldest civilizations, have enjoyed a history of close contact from ancient times. Ashoka’s edicts refer to his relations with Egypt under Ptolemy-II. In modern times, Mahatma Gandhi and SaadZaghloul shared common goals on the independence of their countries, a relationship that was to blossom into an exceptionally close friendship between Gamal Abdel Nasser and Jawaharlal Nehru, leading to a Friendship Treaty between the two countries in 1955. The first Cultural Agreement between the two nations was signed in 1958 which envisaged establishing cultural centres 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 at 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, and was named after Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958), the distinguished scholar, educationist and statesman, who was the first Education Minister of India and the founding President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
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. The seventh edition of India by the Nile 2018, the annual Indian cultural festival, was held in March 2018 for over two weeks in three cities of Egypt. The festival is billed 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. In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, MACIC screens Indian films in Hanager Theater, Cairo Opera House on monthly basis.
The Glimpses of India painting competition is being conducted for the Egyptian children for the last 24 years. An overwhelming response was received in its 2018 edition with the participation of 14,000 schoolchildren from 19 Governorates in Egypt. In its outreach activities, the Cultural Centre conducts visits of students from Egyptian schools to MACIC which helps to get acquainted to the various facets of Indian Culture through videos, presentation and interaction etc. In 2018-19 around 1000 students from 27 schools, visited MACIC under School Visit Programme. It also organizes India Days in Egyptian governorates and Universities. MACIC 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 and it makes the presence of India felt in all the major festivals of Egypt.
As far as the 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 fourth consecutive year, the International Day of Yoga was celebrated in June 2018 in three cities of Egypt - Cairo, Ismailia and Alexandria. There are seven regular Yoga batches at MACIC at present. There is also a growing interest in Indian traditional medicine. Two interactive sessions were conducted in 2018 on Ayurveda and alternative medicine in India.
Dr. Liyaqath Ali, Director (MACIC) Address: 2nd Floor, 3, Abu El Feda Street, Zamalek, Cairo Tel. No. : +20-2737-1995 / Fax No.: +20-2737-1996 Website: https://www.eoicairo.gov.in E-mail: macic[at]indembcairo[dot]com Facebook: IndiaInEggypt (Embassy of India, Cairo)