Photo credit: American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) archives
For USD 1.5 million (EGP 32 million), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) launched the second phase of the Cultural Heritage Tourism program which aims to preserve cultural heritage in Luxor and Sohag.
This new phase, which brings the total U.S. investments in the program to more than USD 4.15 million (EGP 128 million), aims to train Egyptian antiquities professionals, and provide employment opportunities for those working in historic and touristic sites.
Dedicated to improving the quality of tourists’ experience, the Cultural Heritage Tourism previously restored two tombs in Dra Abu El Naga, provided jobs to 400 Egyptian antiquities workers, and trained 76 Egyptian conservators.
“This new funding demonstrates our commitment to protecting Egypt’s cultural heritage assets, while also providing meaningful employment and training opportunities to Egyptian antiquities professionals,” USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed said in a statement.
Through funding, fieldwork, and field schools, the ARCE has promoted education, training, and conservation initiatives in Egypt. The organization recently launched ‘The Valley of the Queens’ brand new section at the website of the Theban Mapping Project, which is dedicated to archiving and documenting the royal necropolis of Egypt’s ancient rulers. Previously, ARCE’s efforts were also dedicated to archiving much of Egypt’s more contemporary and miscellaneous heritage, such as the conservation project at Bassatine – a Jewish cemetery located in Alexandria – as well as the conservation of the Red Monastery in Sohag.
The Governments of Egypt and the US have a long history of diplomatic relations and economic assistance in various fields. Since 1992, the U.S. Government has provided Egypt with over USD 100 million (EGP 3 billion) worth of assistance to protect and restore cultural heritage sites in Old Cairo, Luxor, Alexandria, Sohag, and the Red Sea, most of which was dedicated to projects implemented by ARCE.