Robert Bosch Cultural Managers in the Arab World

The Nile Delta

The Egyptian Nile Delta has been part of the Robert Bosch Cultural Manager Program since 2012.

The Nile Delta, which covers an area of around 25,000 square kilometers in the North of Cairo, is the most fertile region in North Africa and is home to around 40 million people. The cities in the Nile Delta are of medium size, with 200,000 to 450,000 inhabitants, and are largely inaccessible from a cultural point of view partially as a result of their proximity to the major cities of Cairo and Alexandria.

The Robert Bosch Cultural Manager mainly works in two locations in the Nile Delta: Mansoura, a city in the northeast, and Damanhur in the northwest. Here, he or she cooperates with local partners (libraries, bookstores, NGOs) to organize cultural events in order to raise interest in German culture and to show an up-to-date image of Germany.
Anna-Mareike Voss, born in Leipzig, Germany in 1987, studied integrated European studies at the University of Bremen and political science at Cairo University and Freie Universität Berlin.

During her bachelor studies of Russian language and Eastern European societies, she developed an interest in the Arabic language, which led her to study the MENA region in her master studies. She focused on refugees and migration, Arabic political thought, and history.

As an intern at Heinrich Böll Foundation in Beirut, Anna-Mareike Voss examined the Lebanese Armenian diaspora through narrative interviews and further improved her Arabic language skills.

She gained valuable experience in cultural management as coordinator of the Syrian-German theater collective sodom, which narrates the experiences and disappointments of young Syrian women in the midst of revolution and civil war.

Anna-Mareike Voss is Robert Bosch Cultural Manager in the Nile Delta.

“We Will Return Soon” – Oral History at the Suez Canal

For one week Egyptian youth from the Suez Canal region and other parts of the country came together in Ismailia to learn about the history of local forced migration during the war of 1967. With a gendered oral history perspective in mind, they met with eyewitnesses and the mayor of Ismailia, attended a Semsemiya concert, and interviewed workers from local mango farms. In the end of the workshop, they created written and oral stories of what they learned and made plans for future research.

Copyright Photo: Anna-Mareike Voss

Delta Exchange

In the first meeting of this exchange series, eleven members of different cultural initiatives from the Nile Delta met at Goethe-Institut Cairo to discuss their work, lessons learned and current challenges to cultural activities in Egypt’s periphery. Those architecture, history, cinema and technology enthusiasts were surprised to learn of each other’s work in the same city and found many common topics such as fundraising, team dynamics and legal issues. The series will continue as a tour through the Delta with the help of external experts and aims at shared learning and initiating cooperations.

Copyright Photo: Anna-Mareike Voss


In collaboration with the Institut français in Egypt as well as partner organizations Mahatat for Contemporary Art (Egypt), Vuesch e.V (Germany), and Nomadways (France) a circus residency and tour was organized in the Nile delta. Five German, five French, five Egyptian artists and five Egyptian amateurs developed a performance with live music during 10 days of residency in Port Said and performed it around the Nile delta in nine cities with a final show in Cairo. During the residency and the tour the artists organized different workshops for children and youth every day. The workshops included music, acrobatics, and juggling to discover the circus world. The audience was large, altogether over 5,500 visitors. The highlight was in the village of Abu Mangug where more than 2,000 visitors, even from the surrounding villages, came to see the performance.

Copyright Photo: Mostafa Abdel Aty

Selfportrait – Selfpromotion

The Egyptian photographer Nadia Mounier and the German photographer Marie Lagabbe organized together a five day workshop in Mansoura for 15 young people. The workshop focused on the practical sides of photography: building one’s own pinhole camera, trying out the dusty cameras of the parents, and learning about the history of the self-portrait by learning the basic rules of photography. Additionally, the two photographers had the opportunity to exchange their knowledge and experience of their home country.

Copyright Photo: Hélène Aury

Goethe Film Week in Ismaeliya

Within the framework of the Goethe Film Week, which took place at the Goethe-Institut Cairo in June 2016, four movies were screened in Ismaeliya. The movies “Bornholmerstrasse”, “A Godsend”, “Labyrinth of lies” as well as the Egyptian short movie “Dry hot summers” were screened on 3 and 4 August 2016 in the coworking space Mok3ab. During those two days more than 200 people attended the event.

Copyright Photo: Goethe-Institut Cairo

Urban Sound Dialogue: Spaces speak – Let’s listen!

In collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture at the Mansoura University, we organized a five-day workshop for students of architecture from 19-24 February 2016. The aim was to create audio walks with different listening stations. The flyers to promote the audio walks were created by students. The echo was really good and the students learned a new way of approaching their city. They discovered new places and became interested in sharing their knowledge with others.

Copyright Photo: Hélène Aury

Breakdance Unlimited

From popping to free style and breathtaking moves: This is how 12 young dancers from all over Egypt presented themselves on 14 February 2016 during the final performance of the workshop “Breakdance Unlimited” and thrilled the audience. This event was the first of its kind in El Minya and the result of a three day intensive workshop under the direction of the vice world champion and the Berlin champion in breakdance, Mohammed Chaabi aka Moe. Before the final performance, the documentary “Neukölln Unlimited” was screened. The movie focuses on the daily life of the Akkouch siblings and the significance of breakdancing when fleeing from everyday problems. Apart from dancing, the participants of the workshop used the time not only artistically but also for an intercultural exchange.

The project “Breakdance Unlimited” was a joint project of three Robert Bosch cultural managers in Egypt (Hélène Aury, Jenny Ebner and Dominik Reich) and took place in El Minya from 10-14 February 2016.

Copyright Photo: Hélène Aury

Writing workshop – from an idea to pitching

In Mansoura, a documentary film workshop had never been organized. Therefore, the idea to organize such a workshop for young people in Mansoura was developed together with Fransesca Araiza and focused on the topic of gender. The participants learned how to proceed from an idea to the pitching. The 12 young participants chose to tackle difficult topics such as FGM, early marriage, and gender segregation in the Egyptian society.

Copyright Photo: Hélène Aury

Youth debates

In collaboration with the PASCH-Team, we organized the event “Jugend debattiert - Youth debates” in Damanhour on 26 November 2015. This debating competition took place all over Egypt. The preliminary rounds of the competition were organized in the provinces and the final round in Cairo. In 2015 the winner came from a school in Damanhour.

Copyright Photo: Goethe-Institut Cairo/Sabry Khaled

Niescier Sublim in Damanhour

In Egypt there are three opera houses - in Kairo, Alexandria, and Damanhour. The opera house in Damanhour was established after King Fouad wished to have a third opera house on the way from Cairo to Alexandria. I had the honor to organize the first jazz concert in the opera house in Damanhour on 19 November 2015. The German band Niescier Sublim was invited by the Goethe-Institut Alexandria. After a musical dialogue with pupils at the Misr Public Library, half of them also went to the concert. Although the band was not Egyptian, the concert was very well received: 120 people attended the concert.

Copyright Photo: Hélène Aury

Goethe Film Week

Within the framework of the Goethe Film Week, which took place at the Goethe-Institut Cairo in September 2015, four films were screened in the Nile delta (Luxor, Assiut and Mansoura). On 14 and 15 October 2015, the movies “Zwischen Welten” and “Jack” as well as the documentaries “Alphabet” and “Phoenix” were screened in the cultural center Books and Beans in Mansoura. More than 110 people attended the event.


Short film workshop

Between Mai and September 2015, the filmmaker Ahmad Ghoneymi shared his knowledge with five young adults from Mansoura. From the scenario to the film shooting - all steps of filmmaking were touched upon. In the end, two short films were made, which were sent to and screened at different festivals in Egypt. “Sticky note”, produced by Lamees Elbamby, portrays with great humor a flirt of two youngsters in Mansoura. “Heya”, produced by Eman Abd Elaziz, focuses on domestic violence in Egypt.

Copyright Photo: Hélène Aury