ECFA Director’s participation in some cultural activities on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
During the month of November 2020, Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad – Director of ECFA- participated in the following activity:
Participating in celebration on Egypt-Indonesia relations, as a representative for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad delivered a speech in which he emphasized that Egypt was the first country to recognize the independence of Indonesia, a country that is characterized by ethnic, cultural and religious diversity as well as its extended geographical nature. He added that bilateral relations between the two sides have witnessed a qualitative leap, since President Al-Sisi came to power following the visit of the Egyptian President to Indonesia in September 2015, in various fields at the bilateral and multilateral levels, including Egypt’s cooperation with the ASEAN, which Indonesia is considered as its driving force and largest economy, as well as cooperation between them in resolving issues related to the Middle East region through coordination between them in various fora. Regarding trade exchange, the volume of trade exchange reached USD1154 million (in 2019), according to the Indonesian statistics body, and it tilts in favor of Indonesia with imports amounting to USD1019 million, and there are 22 companies investing in Egypt with a value of USD57.99 million operating in the fields of construction, communications, glass and anhydrous tannic acid. The Joint Commission for Economic and Technical Cooperation between the two countries is the main mechanism based on the relations between the two countries.
Cultural cooperation between Egypt and Indonesia emerges to represent – rightly- the main pillar of the two countries’ relations, despite the promising potentials in the economic and commercial fields. In this regard, Al-Azhar Al-Sharif plays the main role by virtue of its special status for the Indonesian people, given its moderate ideology that is compatible with the nature of the Indonesian people. This recognition for Al-Azhar also encompasses the political leadership in Indonesia. This is evident in the regular visits of the Grand Imam and the allocation of scholarships to Indonesia with 178 university and institute scholarships annually. It is through this role that the cultural expansion of Egypt in Indonesia is achieved, especially since there are approximately a thousand students enrolling in Al-Azhar annually at their own expense (the total is about 600 students). Al-Azhar Foundation has done well by opening a center for teaching Arabic language to non-native speakers in Jakarta in July 2019, noting that here is an agreement for cultural cooperation signed between the two countries in June 1955, and its executive regulations signed on October 20, 1961, in addition to several fraternity and friendship agreements between a number of Egyptian governorates and their Indonesian counterparts.