The Bibliotheca Alexandrian (BA), the modern-day version of the famous Library of Alexandria that throve during Greco Roman times, [http://en.wataninet.com/culture/heritage/rising-from-the-ashes-2/21588/] is getting ready to launch its most recent cultural project, the Hall of Enlightenment. Mostafa al-Feki (pronounced Mustafa al-Fiqqy), director of the BA, said the Hall of Enlightenment together with another cultural project, the Alexandria Salon, aim to assemble people with different mindsets and ideologies to present enlightened thought through purposeful debate.
The Hall of Enlightenment, Dr Feki said, will hold debate on intellectual and cultural concepts and schools of thought of Eastern cultures including China, India, and Japan; as well as other places in the world such as Europe, North America and Latin America. Participation, he said will be open to the public; “we hope young people would be eager to take part.”
The “Alexandria Salon” was launched last September; the first session discussed “The Future of Egyptian Soft Power”. It is a quarterly, unconventional event that aims to tackle cultural and intellectual issues on international, regional, and national levels, and to discuss newly suggested ideas and policies. Its agenda includes roundtable discussions on Alexandrian literature and art.
Dr Feki said that, in keeping with the BA objectives of disseminating science and knowledge all through Egypt, agreements to establish Embassies of Knowledge were struck with all Egyptian universities, the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology’s regional branches, a number of research centres affiliated to the Ministry of Education, and public libraries and institutions. The most recent Embassy of Knowledge has been opened at Ain Shams University in Cairo. It is the 20th embassy to open.
The Embassies of Knowledge represent a replication of the full digital functionalities and privileges offered to BA visitors, such as unrestricted access to the BA Digital Assets Repository (DAR), the largest Arabic digital library; the ++Description de l’Egypte; L’Art Arabe++; Al-Hilal Digital Collection; the Memory of Modern Egypt; and the Science Supercourse. They also facilitate access to numerous BA-affiliated websites, such as La Main à la Pâte, Arab InfoMall, and the Development Gateway. The Embassies of Knowledge also offer their beneficiaries a good quality webcasting service, which provides live and archived access to all the conferences, lectures, and events taking place at the BA Conference Centre in smooth streaming, clear display, and at a high speed. Furthermore, the BA grants embassy users full access to the BA Multimedia Library and the supercomputer network.
Dr Feqi stressed that the BA is highly concerned with national issues, and has thus been working on establishing a Centre for Strategic Studies, among the activities of which will be studies and research on extremism.
In order to better serve and benefit researchers and the general public, the BA is extending its working hours to 9:00pm, and will soon reopen its doors to the public on Fridays.
15 November 2017