Fired by Predecessor, Inas Abdel Dayem To Be Egypt’s New Culture Minister

Inas Abdel Dayem — the former head of the Opera House — has been named Egypt’s (latest) Minister of Culture. The internationally recognized flautist has been cheered on Facebook and elsewhere as the first woman to hold the position

inasAbdel Dayem was, notably, fired by her predecessor in a move that sparked protests and sympathetic resignations. Her firing was one of the major events in the lead-up to the sit-in at the culture ministry, which called for the resignation of Morsi-appointed culture minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz.

The Wall Street Journal called Abdel Dayem’s appointment a “subtle snub to the Brotherhood,” although goodness knows how subtle it was.

During the sit-in, many Egyptian artists discussed possibilities beyond a centralized Culture Ministry. Abdel Dayem certainly seems qualified to manage a large operation — she replacedAbdel-Moneim Kamel as Cairo Opera House boss in February 2012; before that, she’d been dean of the Cairo Conservatory. But whether Egypt is well-served by a centralized culture beauracracy is another question.

Farouk Hosni, who was head of Egypt’s culture machinery until January of 2011, held the position for twenty-four years. Since then, the longest-running culture minister has been Mohamed Saber Arab, who ran the ministry for nearly a year:

Gaber Asfour (Jan 30 – Feb 8, 2011)

Mohamed al-Sawy (mid-February, 2011)

Emad Abu-Ghazi (March – Nov 20, 2011)

Shaker Abdel-Hamid (Nov 2011 – May 2012)

Mohamed Saber Arab (May 2012 – May 6 2013)

Alaa Abdel-Aziz (May 6 – July 5)

Inas Abdel-Dayem (July 14 – present)

The minister merry-go-round will probably stop here for a while. Probably.


Ahram Online has a longer CV.

Listen to Abdel Dayem play the flute