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Sharing and comparing

Christine Sedky's picture

The more I encounter issues about artisans, the more I try to see how others have solved and overcome similar challenges. Of course there are individual issues according to the craft and sometimes local social issues. But many times there is much to be learned from others' mistakes. Which has really made me step back and think about how generally countries are grouped into regions.

Egypt is usually considered part of the North Africa/Middle East region (or some deviation of this). And there is much knowledge to be learned and shared. BUT, interestingly we don’t usually as individual citizens take time to learn from each other. For example, most Egyptians who are fairly well-traveled, travel to Europe, Canada or the US, but rarely other Arab countries. In the artisan industry in the region there is much to be learned: Moroccan, Syrians, Palestinians and Jordanians. They have all done a good job of retaining cultural heritage or cultivating their artisanal industry. For example, Morocco has done an amazing job retaining cultural heritage for a number of reasons: government intervention (has helped retain them) as well as rich local tradition that still lives on (e.g. wedding gifts are many times made from traditional craftsmanship, as well as the wedding dress, i.e., kaftan for women)….

Also, some organizations such as Aid to Artisans have done a wonderful job in sharing best practices from around the world and adopting local angles. Check out some of their stories…

I know this is similar in other regions as well.  Why do you think this is?  And how do you think we can encourage regional learning?


Creativity should be encouraged at a school level as well as the adult level and there should be evening classes that adults can attend to express themselves.