23.04.2021 Cultural Heritage in Cyberspace Wins the DAAD’s long-term Support under the German-Egyptian Progress Partnership.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has selected the project "Cultural Heritage in Cyberspace" to receive their long-term support within the framework of the German-Egyptian Progress Partnership program for the round of 2021-2023. “Cultural Heritage in Cyberspace” comes as crystallization and unification of years’ enduring reach-out efforts exerted by the participating German institutions, from Marburg, Halle, Leipzig, Gotha, and devoted to constructive cooperation with the Egyptian side; represented in the Egyptian National Library and Archives/ Dar al-Kutub, Cairo, and ‘yin Shams Universities and several local academic and professional institutes. Explicitly targeting fields of Islamic, Arabic, and Middle Eastern Studies, Oriental Manuscripts, Heritage Studies, and Digital Humanities, the project "Cultural Heritage in Cyberspace: Education, Preservation, and Access", through its carefully designed measures, interdisciplinary approach, and multi-facets-focus, aims at creating a solid collaboration with Egyptian higher-education institutes which fosters a well-informed development in the quality of research, uninterrupted exchange of knowledge, and accessibility to research material, in addition to achieving a maintainable advancement in teaching and technical capabilities within the institutes targeted by the project. Furthermore, the project focuses on stipulating an intercultural and highly efficient didactic environment for German and Egyptian students and scholars alike; which would further enhance their qualifications for academic careers and effectively increase their opportunities for employability.

Accordingly, in 2019, with the generous support of the DAAD’s German-Egyptian progress partnership: short-term measures program, an introductory step for establishing the coveted academic network was made through a successful visit/one-week workshop to which a group of Egyptian academics and stakeholders had been invited. The Egyptian delegation, headed by Prof. Dr. Hesham Azmi (Former Head of the National Library and Archives of Egypt, current Associate Professor of Library and Information Systems at Cairo University, Head of the Supreme Council of Culture and the Sector for Foreign Cultural Relations of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture), Professor Dr. Atef Mansour (the Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology at Fayoum University), and Prof. Dr. Muhammed Younis (Head of the International Cooperation Office at Fayoum University ), visited the premises of our German partner-universities, museums, and research libraries and shared their thoughts with concerned scholars and staff from Germany.

In a related context, and during the Academic year 2019-20, a protocol had further been developed, leading to another successful academic event. As a responsive measure, a workshop was held, on the 25th- 26th of February 2020, at the premises of Dar El-Kutub in Cairo, to which representatives of partner-German-institutions and local Egyptian universities contributed. The workshop had the aim to inform the participants on the state of the art of library holdings, research, material accessibility, and manuscripts’ collections in Egypt and Germany, and to develop mutual research and collaboration agendas for the following years.

Since then, more Egyptian and German institutes have shown a vital interest in joining the project’s network, and efforts have also continued to formulate a comprehensive and more cohesive agreement for long-term collaboration. Furthermore, to assure continuity even through the hardship of the COVID19 pandemic, a virtual workshop was held successfully on the 2nd of December the same year, during which every partner presented their up-to-the-moment innovations in the comprehensive planning of digitization projects, oriental manuscripts research strategies, and Digital Humanities studies.

Besides professional training and academic events, Cultural Heritage in Cyberspace’s new phase of the project offers a set of well-designed scholastic measures including exchange programs for students, academics, and staff, in addition to the establishment of a joint Master’s degree program, focused on research-based digitization of Oriental Manuscripts and Heritage Information System.

Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Albrecht Fuess

Project Coordinator: Hala Ghoname