Last November, while celebrating the 116th anniversary of the Egyptian museum and the opening of the new display of the wonderful collection of Youya and Thuya, we announced to the whole world that the new museums, GEM and NMEC will not be a threat to our beloved Cairo Museum.
This historical museum should get all the support and attention it deserves, to continue the role it has played over a century now, as one of the most significant museums in the world. This museum has over the years attracted millions of visitors and scholars with its unique and diversified collection.
The time has come to shed a new light on the museum’s rich exhibitions, upgrade its physical structure, and improve its research and programing activities, to reach the highest international standards.
And it is with great pleasure that I welcome you all this evening to witness the first and most important step in our plan to develop this iconic museum.
Tonight we launch the European Union Funding Project “Transforming the Egyptian Museum of Cairo,” which will transform the museum into a world-class institution, in order to be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The three-year project (2019-2021), funded by the EU with a grant of 3 million euros, provided from the “Promoting Inclusive Economic Growth Pogramme”, embodies a remarkable cooperation between Egypt and the European Union, bringing together egyptian scholars and their colleagues from a prestigious consortium of five European museums: The Egyptian Museum of Turin, the British Museum of London, the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection of Berlin, the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Rijks museum van Oudheden in Leiden.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the European Union, especially the delegation in Cairo headed by H.E. Ambassador Ivan Surkosh, for their support to the project, as well as our partners from the European Museums for sharing their expertise and knowledge.
A special « thank you » goes to HE Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, for her sincere efforts and tremendous support to make this project to come to light.
Let me take a moment to share something with you on this joyful occasion on which we are celebrating our joint efforts with the EU to preserve one of the most important museums in the world. While Egypt is paying billions of EGP on building new museums and on restoration and preservation projects, and while more than 25 countries are leading archaeological missions in Egypt to preserve and study the Egyptian sites, I am deeply saddened to see every now and then some Egyptian antiquities put on sale in the international market. We have succeeded in repatriating thousands of Egyptian objects that were smuggled out of Egypt illegally, and we will continue to do so. I would like to take this opportunity to ask the ambassadors, the international organizations, the UNESCO and all the Colleagues present here this evening, to join efforts to stop the looting, selling and illicit trafficking of antiquities, and to work closely to protect and preserve our cultural and archaeological heritage for future generations.
Finally, it is my pleasure to invite all of you to join us here in the museum next Thursday morning at 10:00, for the opening of a new pathway for the visual impaired, organized in collaboration with the Italian Embassy, and also, to attend the opening of a temporary Exhibition about « Sports through the Ages », on the occasion of the opening of the 32nd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Thank you all, and I wish you a lovely evening. Enjoy the music in this magnificent garden.