September 10, 2018, Cairo – The American University in Cairo (AUC) signed today an agreement with Naguib Sawiris, prominent businessman and investor, chairman of Orascom Investment Holding, to support the establishment of the University’s Tahrir Cultural Center (TCC) on its Tahrir campus. AUC’s TCC, in the heart of Cairo, will be a cultural center fully owned, operated and programmed by the University hosting a broad variety of events ranging from live music, art exhibitions, conferences, dance performances, book clubs, theatre plays and movie screenings. AUC Tahrir campus will continue to host the University’s professional education and academic arts programming, lectures, seminars and public events. The agreement also entails the renovation of the buildings and spaces that host the Center on Campus. The grand opening of the TCC is set to take place in February with the launch of AUC’s yearlong centennial celebration in 2019. The signing ceremony, held at Oriental Hall, AUC’s Tahrir campus was attended by Sawiris, Francis Ricciardone, AUC President and members of the University’s community.
“AUC has always been an integral part of the Egyptian community. The TCC will enable us to realize our shared vision of revitalizing AUC’s traditional role as the fountainhead of cultural activity in Cairo’s Khedivial era downtown,” said Ricciardone. “We are grateful to the generosity and vision of Eng. Sawiris in supporting a vibrant arts and cultural activity in Egypt and the region.”
Sawiris, a longtime supporter of cultural and educational institutions in Egypt and worldwide, will support AUC’s establishment and renovation of the TCC, to provide outstanding cultural and educational programs for Cairo residents, visitors, AUC students and alumni. “I believe in the power of arts and culture in transforming communities and creating a long-lasting positive impact on youth and children, and I believe that we are in utmost need for this positive impact in today’s Egypt. AUC has spearheaded great projects to serve the community since its establishment in 1919, and I’m happy to partner with them on this inspirational project. I can visualize a Downtown that is beautified by this wonderful building that will serve as an oasis of creativity and intellect to Egyptians.”
The Center’s activities will also provide a wealth of opportunities for real-world applications to AUC’s students work. “The Center will serve as an addition to Tahrir campus, without affecting the current and continuous operations of the University’s programs, lectures and activities,” said Aly Mourad, TCC director, “It will be a beacon of light, in the heart of Cairo, spreading culture in all forms to Egyptians and visitors. We hope the launch of TCC will trigger the spread of other similar centers not only in Cairo but in all governorates.” Mourad added that culture is an accumulative process that starts in childhood and doesn’t have an age limit and that it is why the Center won’t be only targeting youth- Egypt’s great potential- but different age groups.”
AUC Tahrir Campus has been a witness to history since the early years of last century. Inside the Historic Palace building in Tahrir Campus is Oriental Hall and the newly renovated Ewart Memorial Hall. Ewart has a long history of distinguished guests including Om Kolthoum, who performed on its stage in 1937, prominent Egyptian intellectual Taha Hussein and top dignitaries, ambassadors and intellectuals from around the world.
With the University’s move to New Cairo Campus in 2008, AUC Tahrir Campus has continued to serve AUC’s mission to advancing arts, education and culture.