The East West: Art of Dialogue Initiative

East-West: The Art of Dialogue is an initiative of the Shafik Gabr Foundation, and aims to improve dialogue between the Middle East and the West.

Shafik Gabr

The initiative sponsors exchanges between young and mid career Middle Eastern and Western leaders in the arts, science, sports, media and both social and business entrepreneurship.

The exchanges are designed to provide unique insights for participants into their respective societies, and a basis for developing professional and personal relationships across cultures.

Mr Gabr drew his inspiration for the initiative from his experience as an Egyptian whose world view was transformed by travel and the friendships and lessons that resulted.

He has also been inspired by the experiences of the Orientalist traveler painters, the artists whose work he has been collecting for over twenty years.

The initiative was launched at a series of panel discussions held in London, Washington and New York – accompanied by the publication of a new book Masterpieces of Orientalist Art: The Shafik Gabr Collection.

Launch Statement

“As gaps in understanding between East and West open up at many levels, there is a need for significant bridge-building and new platforms for people-to-people communication perhaps more than at any other time in modern history”

The Exchange Program

The global cultural exchange project selects emerging leaders in the areas of art, science, legislation, and social and business entrepreneurship from the Middle East to undertake a two-week programme of study and work in the West and, reciprocally, for Westerners to travel and work in the Arab world.

  • The initiative focuses on individuals in their early and mid careers, initially in exchanges between Egypt, Bahrain, Britain and the United States, and subsequently expanding to Canada and mainland Europe and throughout the Middle East.
  • Those selected are known as Gabr Fellows.
  • The Fellows are chosen by an expert panel based on competitive application.
  • The Fellowship exchange visits are reinforced through social media, conferences and other opportunities for ongoing dialogue.
  • Those eligible need to be in the age range of 24-35 years old.
  • The Fellowship seeks Fellows with no prior travel to the Middle East, on the part of the potential American and British applicants, and no prior travel to the United States, on the part of applicants from the Middle East.
  • The exchange program was launched in the spring of 2013.

For more information on the program click here.