The Supreme Council for Culture
Decision No. 4 of 1956 was issued to establish the Supreme Council for Arts and Literature as an independent entity affiliated with the Council of Ministers, seeking to coordinate government and civil efforts in the fields of arts and literature. The council was the first of its kind in the Arab world, which prompted many Arab countries to follow in the footsteps of Egypt and establish similar councils.
Two years later, the council also became responsible for the sponsorship of social sciences. For almost a quarter of a century, the Supreme Council for Arts, Literature, and Social Sciences played its role in the cultural and intellectual life of Egypt.
In 1980, it was renamed the Supreme Council for Culture with the issuance of Law No. 150 of 1980, and the Minister of Culture became its chairman. The Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Culture is responsible for its administration, policy direction, and supervision. The council has 28 committees comprising a selection of Egyptian intellectuals and creators from different generations and orientations.
In recent years, the Supreme Council for Culture has witnessed a surge in its activities and has become a center for culture and thought at the Egyptian and Arab levels, a stronghold of enlightenment and illumination. It organizes conferences and seminars in which a group of Arab thinkers and intellectuals participate and has become an occasion for cultural interaction at the Arab level. Some of the most prominent researchers in academic institutions worldwide also participate in the council's activities.
With the expansion and diversification of its activities, it became necessary for the council to move to a new headquarters that befits its history as the oldest cultural council in the Arab world in modern times, and its role that has exceeded local boundaries. The new building of the Supreme Council for Culture is located in the Opera Square, overlooking the Nile from the west on Um Kulthum Street, while the eastern side overlooks the Egyptian Opera House Square.
The idea was primarily based on the utilization of the former screening building, which was affiliated with the agricultural authority, to be developed, modified, and restored to be suitable as a permanent headquarters for the Supreme Council for Culture while preserving the architectural style of the surrounding buildings.
The project began in 1995, and the designer added a 1,200-square-meter area adjacent to the old building to construct a modern building with three floors next to the old building, which is 150 square meters and eight floors high. Thus, the project of the modern building of the Supreme Council for Culture was completed.
The new building is generally composed of approximately 1,350 square meters, an old building with eight floors developed, modified, and restored, and a new building with three floors. The building has three main entrances:
- The first entrance is the main lobby facing the Nile.
- The second entrance is the employees' entrance on the side of the cultural production sector.
- The third entrance is on the side of the Egyptian Opera House Square.
The building also has a public library that can accommodate fifty people. Its primary function is to be a reference library, including a collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and essential reference books in various fields of knowledge, in addition to a collection of core heritage references, which is a collection that is rare to find in one library in Egypt.
The library also contains publications of the council, the National Translation Center, the First Book Series, and the seminars and conferences organized by the council.
Sources: The Supreme Council for Culture website.