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China-Egypt Cultural Year 2016 13/12/2015

2016 marks the 60th anniversary of the official establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Egypt. The two countries will celebrate it culturally by holding various cultural events in each other's country.

As ancient civilizations, China and Egypt have long and glorious cultures, and both have made great achievements in modern art and culture. Enhancing the two peoples’ mutual understanding through cultural exchanges will help improve the two countries’ cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The initiative to hold a culture year in 2016 can be traced back to 2014.

During the 3rd Arabic Arts Festival in September, 2014, the then Egyptian Culture Minister met with Minister Cai Wu, expressing the willingness to cooperate with China's Ministry of Culture and hold a China-Egypt Cultural year in 2016 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the two countries' establishing bilateral diplomatic relations. Both sides agreed to set up a China-Egypt joint commission of culture.

In December, 2014, during Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El Sisi's visit to China, Egypt proposed to hold the China-Egypt Cultural Year. Soon, the two countries reached agreements to celebrate 2016 as the China-Egypt cultural year.

In early 2015, Chinese Ministry of Culture started the preparation work. At the invitation of President Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Minister of Culture Luo Shugang attended the completion ceremony of the new Suez Canal in August as the special envoy of President Xi Jinping. He signed a memorandum of understanding to host a culture year in 2016 with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Wahed el-Nabawy. Later in November, Chinese working groups were sent to Egypt for negotiations.

On Jan 11, 2016, a press conference was held by the Ministry of Culture and Egypt's Embassy in Beijing’s Opera House to announce the details of the celebration for the Egyptian-Chinese cultural year 2016. A total of 102 events will be held, 63 events in China, and another 39 in Egypt. Those events cover music, dance, calligraphy, literature and food.

On Jan 21, 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping travelled to Egypt and joined his counterpart President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to attend the opening ceremony of the China-Egypt cultural year at the Luxor temple. Minister Luo Shugang announced the start of the "2016 China-Egypt Cultural Year " with Egyptian minister of culture Helmy Namnam.

The culture year will feature a total of 102 activities, with 63 hosted by China and 39 by Egypt, including music and dance shows, relic exhibitions, a photographic contest, acrobatic performances, film screenings, tourism fairs and literature forums to promote exchanges between the countries.

Now, Cultural Year projects have proceeded as planned. Many art troupes from both countries have joined the cultural events and festivals.