The Outer

Interview| Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy: We support full equality between men and women in Egypt

By Manal El Warraky

Within the framework of supporting Egyptian women in the field of art and music, the American Embassy in Cairo partnered with the American “NFAC” Foundation and the “She is the Arts” Festival, sponsored by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, to implement a world-class music education and career development program called “Music”, which trains 40 An aspiring artist and musician in the field of contemporary music and entrepreneurship education, in addition to providing networking and mentorship opportunities, the workshops lasted for three months.

After training 40 women and girls in music, a large concert was held for them at the Egyptian Museum on International Women’s Day, attended by a large number of different Egyptian media outlets, and Egyptian female artists played and sang, as the program supports women’s empowerment and also supports tourism in Egypt.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, Al-Fajr met with the Chargé d’Affairs at the US Embassy in Egypt, Evinia Sideris, where the dialogue revolved around the “Mushiqi” program, cooperation with the “She is the Arts” Festival, and the efforts of the US Embassy in the field of women’s empowerment, and the text of the dialogue..

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, what are the standing plans of the US Embassy in Cairo regarding women’s training and empowerment?
Much of our focus in Egypt is on supporting inclusive economic growth, education and empowerment in Egypt, with our programs centered on empowering young men and women and seeking opportunities for all members of Egyptian society to learn from each other.

We have similar economic and social challenges in our countries, where women sometimes find it more difficult to find jobs to support their families, and also to advance and gain equality in the workplace and also within society.

Therefore, we are working to increase educational opportunities for women, especially in new economy and technology fields, and to increase women’s access to the technical skills and networks needed for entrepreneurship, business creation, and leadership opportunities in civic and economic engagement.

So, across the board, when the United States government looks at how to empower women, we look at economic and educational opportunities first, but also at men, and both young men and women.

But of course, we know that the ultimate strategy for the Egyptian government with Vision 2030 and for the American people is full equality between men and women.

..And what are the future strategies of the American Embassy regarding women’s empowerment in Egypt?
The American government considers its friendship and partnership with Egypt in all fields, so we cooperate with the Egyptian ministries and government, especially in the field of empowering Egyptian women and youth, as we seek to empower women and girls by ensuring that we have equal opportunities for women and girls in all of our programs. It is a major priority. Not only here in Egypt, but all over the world.

The American and Egyptian governments share this goal of thinking about empowering men and women equally and reducing gender disparities, and as I mentioned, a large part of what we do is supporting economic growth, so, within the framework of supporting economic growth, scholarships are being created for boys and girls around the world. Egypt and then for mid-career professionals to study the emerging fields of information technology, sustainable development, environmental initiatives, computers, and artificial intelligence.

Economic growth includes the largest number of scholarships and support in America, and also entrepreneurship, through which we help small business owners, especially Egyptians, who have a lot of energy.

Will the partnership between the US Embassy in Cairo and the Hey Arts Festival, supported by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, be annual?
Until now, we have not determined whether the partnership with the Arts Festival is annual or one-time, but we have many aspects of cooperation with Egyptian universities and artistic organizations. We are always working to provide opportunities for cooperation between artists from the two countries, as we usually host American artists in Egypt to discuss… Ways of cooperation are ongoing, and we also want to send Egyptian musicians to America because it is very interesting. We all saw the young American woman who was singing “Helwa Ya Baladi.”

What are the goals of the “Mushiqi” program and why does the US Embassy support it?
We supported the “Mushiqi” program, which was launched to provide opportunities for Egyptian women to work in music, because although the arts and music flourished in Egypt, it was an industry mainly dominated by men.

Egypt is a pioneer in traditional arts and music, and Egyptian music and culture is very popular throughout the Middle East, so we want to make sure that women can have a greater role, and we want to make sure that women can earn more money and make a living in these fields. also.

Are there any future musical programs for the US Embassy in Cairo?
Of course we have many programs. We love music, we love promoting our culture and American music, and we know that the Egyptian people also love and adore music.

We also like to share history, for example, in America, we have a program on the history of African musicians, so we have had many concerts by some African American musicians, where we are working on mixing the traditions of people who came to America as immigrants.

Egypt also has a very diverse culture, so it would be great to exchange these experiences between the two countries. All countries mix their music, and there is even an Egyptian-American director who talks about Egyptian music and promotes it in American society greatly.

I think this will be a great attraction for cultural exchange between the two countries, because Egypt is a very diverse country, with different musical traditions. Egypt has a very rich rock and metal music scene.

Do you think that supporting tourism in Egypt and supporting cultural activities are two sides of the same coin?
Of course, the Egyptian government wants to work closely with the United States in the field of culture and tourism, as the concert held on International Women’s Day is the culmination of a long program, a partnership between an Egyptian organization and an American organization on developing women in the arts and music.

Also, the Egyptian government wants to attract more tourists to Egypt by promoting Egyptian culture in a sustainable way, so all we are doing is looking for opportunities to preserve and develop cultural opportunities in an economically viable way.

To what extent does music diplomacy help bring people from different countries together?
I believe that music is about self-expression. Through it, we talk about our history, we talk about our pain, loss, joy, our families, our love, sometimes politics, and sometimes popular struggle. We usually sing about real life and challenges.

For us, we believe that music brings people together when people hear each other’s music. For example, on International Women’s Day, the songs chanted by American and Egyptian women and all over the world are similar.

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