Professor Shadia Fahim Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the BUE participated in the Women Economic Forum in Tunisia.

Professor Shadia Fahim, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the British University in Egypt, participated in the Women Economic Forum, held from 23rd -24th January 2019 in Tunisia in support of the role of arts, culture, creativity and women’s leadership in the development of nations.

Professor Fahim delivered two highly motivational speeches which revolved around her journey as a leading career woman in the field of arts and education and around the support she had from her country, especially that Egypt is a nation where strong women leaders from Hatshepsut to Nefertity and Cleopatra have shaped society’s perceptions of women in power until today.

She highlighted the unprecedented strong presence of women’s leadership in the Egyptian cabinet, where women ministers form around 20% of the appointed ministers despite the many challenges following the Arab Spring in the MENA region. She further highlighted that this strong female leadership presence is echoed in a number of other arenas. At the BUE, for example, three out of a total of nine faculties are led by women Deans.

Prof. Fahim moved on to refer to the strong influence culture, arts and creativity have had throughout history in the shaping and development of civilisations as well as in contributing to social cohesion and nation-building. She emphasised that nations, especially in developing countries, should therefore not lose sight of the unique intrinsic value that arts and culture generate. It is true that non-materialistic values are difficult to measure in monetary terms, but they are just as important as other factors contributing to the development of any nation. An indication of the importance of such values is that the UNESCO has developed guidelines on how to measure and collect statistics about the impact of the cultural industries on a nation’s economic development. Women empowerment as well as art, creativity, and culture have become important parameters in measuring a nation’s civilisation and development.

She concluded by saying that women, as well as men, have strived across centuries to leave a strong legacy in the arts and creativity sectors, albeit the fact that women have had a dual challenge to make a mark in this field. A woman has to find her own voice to write ‘her story’ to complement and complete ‘history’! She closed her speech by quoting Helen Cixous: “Woman must put herself into the text – as into the world and into history—by her own Movement.”

Professor Fahim was granted the WEF Tunisia 2019 Award of “Exceptional Women of Excellence.” The Forum was Under the Patronage of the Tunisian Minister of Women, Childhood and Elderly Dr.Naziha el Abeidi and Dr.Harbeen Arora, Global Chairperson of the Conference.

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