Sfax, Capital of Arab Culture 2016

Tunisia Will Likely Showcase Arab Culture in July

June 17th, 2016

The city of Sfax just unveiled its promotional campaign for the festival of Arab culture, to be hosted throughout July. The event's motto, 'Culture unites us, Sfax gathers us', is a call for peace and highlights the significance of cultural diplomacy.

Following the city of Constantine last year in Algeria, Sfax will host the 60th edition of the well-known festival of Arab culture. Around a hundred cultural events are planned, at a cost of 30 millions dinars. This huge sum will be used to build structures, such as the electrification of the 'old Medina, the restoration of the school Hussaynide or the old caravanserai Fondouk el-Haddadine and the transformation of the church into a numeric library'.

A sports and culture complex will also be built and more space will be devoted to art in the streets. 'The festival will not be limited to the city of Sfax but extended to the hinterland of the country', said Houda Kchaou, the main coordinator of the festival. This festival reflects the Tunisian constitution, which guarantees culture for all Tunisian people.

In spite of its status as second city in Tunisia, Sfax has in recent years been ignored and isolated under Ben Ali's governance. The city has been abandoned, it has had no new infrastructure since the time of colonisation, has a small harbor that works at only 30% of its capacity and its roads are in a terrible state. Investments in Sfax have been in freefall. However, previously the city was flourishing with arts and culture.

The event has the potential to bring tourists and investments back to this city, rich in history and culture. The central objective of the festival is to bring together the cultures of the Arab countries, but also to restore Sfax to its former prestige.


Cultural Diplomacy News
Julie Essertel, CD News