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:
Abdel 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.