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Festival of Literature and Thought of North Africa

22 Jun 2012 – 24 Jun 2012


Free admission

When the Gulbenkian Program Next Future began in 2009, it was really focused on the cultural dimension and artistic players of the current African, Latin American and Caribbean countries, relative with European cities and creators. No one would imagine that just three years afterwards the revolutionary movements in North Africa and in the Middle East would take place. And yet this burst of rebellion, of longing for freedom and democracy not only rocked these countries with immediate consequences in terms of regime changes as it shook the world and drew attention to populations, creators, policy-makers in these regions where there were so much ignorance to add to so many clichés, mostly negative. Only a year has passed, many social upheavals have occurred and many others will occur regardless of a more pessimistic view, even scepticism, or even in some cases of an excessive optimism and belief. We, who live in this present time are privileged witnesses and should be aware of what goes on listening, reading, studying, talking to the interlocutors in this process, the Egyptians, Tunisians, Syrians, Moroccans, Algerians, etc.. In the particular case of the Next Future Program, the creators of these regions are fundamental interlocutors being locals or just part of the Diaspora. Therefore within the programming of the Festival of Literature and Thought of North Africa we will talk and listen to creators, curators, artists on the state of the arts in these countries, to better know and better understand ourselves.

António Pinto Ribeiro 
Chief Curator of Gulbenkian Program Next Future

 Ons Abid, “Victory” (da série “Tunisian Revolution”), 2011

1st Session: Bloggers of the Arab Spring 
22 June 2012, 19h00 - Tenda 

Maria João Tomás (moderator) (Portugal) / Mona Prince (Egypt) / Danya Bashir (Lybia) / Yassine Ayari (Tunisia) / Aboubakr Jamai (Marroco)

2nd Session: The State of the Arts 
23 June 2012, 19h00 - Tenda

Bouchra Khalili (moderator) (Marroco) / Ahmed El Attar (Egypt) / Mohamed Siam (Egypt) / Ons Abid (Tunisia) / Soufiane Ouissi (Tunisia)

3rd Session: The Arab Spring  
23 de Junho 2012, 22h00  - Anfiteatro ao Ar Livre 

Tahar Ben Jelloun (Marroco)

4th Session: The Role of Women in North Africa
24 de Junho 2012, 19h00 - Tenda

Michket Krifa (moderator) (Tunisia-France) / Nawel Skandrani (Tunisia) / Olivia Marsaud (France) / Nahed Nasrallah (Egypt) 

5th Session: North Africa Thinkers
24 de Junho 2012, 22h00 - Anfiteatro ao Ar Livre  

Karim Ben Smail (moderator) (Tunisia) / Fethi Benslama (Tunisia) / Wassyla Tamzali (Algeria) / Samy Ghorbal (France)

MARIA JOÃO TOMÁS (Portugal, 1967) is currently a researcher at the Institute of International Strategic Studies in the fields of the Middle East and North Africa, the "Arab Spring" and the Islamic World and is a columnist for the Diário de Notícias newspaper, analyzing these same issues. She holds a PhD in Middle Eastern History from the University of Basel and the FCSH- New University of Lisbon, and also an MA in Ancient History of the Middle East, from the University of California, Los Angeles and from the Faculty of Arts, University of Lisbon. She studied Arabic in ILNOVA and did thorough training on Islam with Sheikh of the portuguese muslim community. She has received several grants, has published articles in specialized journals, and has participated with several communications in many international conferences and congresses.

MONA PRINCE (Egypt, 1970) is an Associate Professor of English literature at the Suez Canal University. She is a fiction writer, translator, a poetess, and an activist. Her recent novel "So you may see", was translated into English and published by the AUC (American University in Cairo), in 2011. She has also participated in several international programs and forums in the US, France, Norway, Portugal, Morocco, and Syria. Moreover, she has won a few literary awards from different local and international associations. She is currently writing a book about the Egyptian revolution based on her own experience in Tahrir Square.

DANYA BASHIR HOBBA (Lybia, 1989) is an author and social activist. She is a two-time winner of the UAE Young Entrepreneurship Competition. During the Libyan revolution, she organized aid shipments for medical treatment and basic needs in Libya. Recently, Ms. Bashir attended and spoke at the “Yahoo Change Your World” Conference, in Cairo, on the panel for revolutionary women where she discussed the role of social media, to ensure women's rights in the new Libya. She was also featured in ‘20 Empowering Women to be followed on Twitter’, by Community of Women’s Entrepreneurs, and named by CNN as an Agent of Change.  

YASSINE AYARI (Tunisia, 1982) is a network and security engineer and, also an activist, who has always fought for freedom of speech and internet in Tunisia. In 2009, she run for the legislatives, as an independent candidate against RCD (Constitutional Democratic Rally). In 2010, she organized - Nhar Ala Ammar, a manifestation against internet censorship. In 2011, she run for the Constituent Assembly elections in an independent list. At the same time, she organized a movement “Kelmethom” demanding that the government give due rights for the martyrs and the wounded of the Revolution. Yassine Ayari is also a founding member of The Tunisian Center for Traditional Justice.

ABOUBAKR JAMAÏ (Morocco, 1968) is the co-editor of the Moroccan news website He is a non-resident fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University. Mr. Jamaï began his career in finance, co-founding Morocco's first independent investment bank in 1993. From 1997 to 2007, he was the publisher and editor of the leading Moroccan newsweekly, Le Journal Hebdomadaire. In 2008, he was a visiting scholar at the University of San Diego, where he taught courses on Political Islam and Politics in The Middle East. His articles have been published in The New York Times, Time Magazine, El País, Le Monde, Le Monde Diplomatique. Aboubakr Jamaï won the Committee to Protect Journalists’ International Press Freedom Award, in 2003. Mr. Jamaï has been selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader for 2005.  

BOUCHRA KHALILI (Morocco, 1975) studied Cinema at the Sorbonne Nouvelle and Visual Arts at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts, Paris-Cergy. Khalili’s work in video, mixed media installations, and prints, combine a conceptual approach with a documentary practice to explore issues of nomadism, clandestine existences, and the ‘émigré experience’, with a specific regard toward the destiny of migrants, in that they concretely epitomize subjects that are fundamentally governed by itinerancy. In her work, she articulates language, subjectivity, minority discourse and speech, transitional territories and transit zones, investigating the interrelation between contemporary migrations and colonial history, physical and imaginary geography. Khalili’s work has been shown extensively around the world, including recently at The MoMA as part of the film exhibition "Mapping Subjectivity" (2011); The 10th Sharjah Biennial (2011) ; The Marian Goodman Gallery (Paris, 2011) ; The Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon, 2011) and La Triennale (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012), among others.

AHMED EL ATTAR (Egypt, 1969) is an independent theatre director, translator and playwright. He is the founder and artistic director of Orient Productions and of the Temple Independent Theatre Company. El Attar is also the founder and General Manager of Studio Emad Eddin Foundation and the artistic director of Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF), a yearly multidisciplinary contemporary Arts festival taking place every spring in downtown Cairo. His theatre productions include ”On the Importance of being an Arab” (2009) and "F**k Darwin or how I have learned to love socialism" (2007). His theatre work has been performed in major theatres and festivals across Europe and the Middle East. El Attar is a Clore Fellow (2008-2009), a recipient of the best theatre text prize (2010) from the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development for his play ”Life is beautiful or waiting for my uncle from America” and has been chosen by the Arabic edition of Newsweek (26/4/05) as one of 42 personalities who influence change in the Arab world.

MOHAMED SIAM (Egypt, 1981) is as an independent documentary and fiction filmmaker. Mr. Siam has also worked on feature film projects, as a 1st Assistant Director including the feature documentary “The City of the Dead”, a Portuguese/Spanish co-production funded by Canal Plus that premiered at IDFA 2009 (International Documentary Film Festival of Amestradam) and won Best Film at Documenta, Madrid, in 2010. More recently, he acted as a 1st AD on fellow Egyptian filmmaker Tamer Said’s feature film “In the Last Days of the City”, winner of Global Film Initiative and Cinereach grants among other funds. Mohamed Siam is the founder & artistic director of the Artkhana Film Center in Alexandria, an established art space that caters to filmmakers’ technical and training needs.

NERMINE HAMMAM (Egypt, 1967)She is a freelance photographer and works with the Paris-based Jeune Afrique Magazine, Afrique Magazine and recently with Paris Match. She graduated from the Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Tunis (ISBAT) in 2004 with a degree in graphic design. In 2005, she simultaneously worked as an art director in an advertising agency and as an event photographer. She received her Master's Degree in science and arts ISBAT in 2009.

ONS ABID (Tunisia, 1979) During the same year, she did a residency at the National School of Photography (ENSP) in Arles, France. She worked at Arles’ “Rencontres Internationale de la photographie d'Arles (RIP)” where she also also had the opportunity to expose some of her photographies on the "Arlaten Museum". She was selected by the World Press Photo Foundation among fifteen photographers from the Arabic world and received in 2010 the certificate of the Mena (Middle East North Africa ) Photojournalism program. She had been teaching photography for the Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Tunis. In January 2012, she did her first personal exhibition " le Souffle des libertés" about the Tunisian revolution in Perpignan and she recieved in Paris " la Carte Talents et Competences 2012 (CTC)". 

She lives now between Paris and Tunis where she is currently working in multiple projects in photography and video.

SOFIANE OUISSI (Tunisia, 1972) is a choreographer and a cultural operator. He has chosen his performances to be action plans which mean to strengthen and widen the voices of struggle in Tunisia. Through Dream City Collective, he chooses a festive and merry form to create free spaces of expression and, mainly, to find delight in the exchange and the struggle for sharing ideas to build together: this is what Brainstorming is all about. Also, through ZAT and Laaroussa, artistic factory of popular space journal of the marginalized population’s voice, he makes the Tunisian cultural community take part into his desire for struggle, in order to share and express culture.

TAHAR BEN JELLOUN (Morocco, 1944) moved to Paris in 1971 where he studied philosophy and became a journalist and writer. After several novels, short stories and poetry, he won the Prix Goncourt in 1987, for "La Nuit Sacrée." Intellectually and culturally compromised, he never gave up the fight against racism and ignorance. His work, both literary and intellectual, has allowed the approaching between the two shores of the Mediterranean, passing to the West, the culture of the Arab world.

MICHKET KRIFA (franco-tunisina, 1960) is the author, artistic director and curator of visual arts for Africa and the Middle East. Krifa has directed several thematic exhibitions and publications on Iran (including "Regards persans" - Electra, 2001 - "Iran regards Croisés" - Photo Spana - and "Haft" - Landowski Boulogne Billancourt - both in 2003; on Tunisia ("Saison tunisienne" – 1995, "Femmes d'images espace privés" - Palace Kheirredine, 2007 -, "Dégagements" - the Arab World Institute, 2012); - on Algeria  ("Algérie, les faits et les effets"- 2004; on Palestine ("Le Printemps palestinien" – 1997; development of 80 cultural events relative to Palestine in France, "La vie tout simplement", exhibition of Rula Halawani and Tayssir Batnijipatente on the Bridge of the Arts, in 2007). Krifa is also, artistic director of VIII and XIX Bamako Encounters, African photography Biennial and curator to an exhibition entitled "Dégagements, Tunisie un an après" in the Arab World Institute (Paris, 2012). Also, Krifa has collaborated with the Meetings of Arles, the French Institute, the Institut du Monde Arab, the Mairie of Paris, the European Commission, the Louis Vuitton space, the World Press Photo, Documenta XI, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon).

NAWEL SKANDRANI (Tunisia, 1958) pursued a professional career as a ballet dancer in Italy, France and U.S.A., and then came back to her country where she founded and directed the Tunisian National Ballet. Since 1997, she has pursued as an independent choreographer and teacher, authoring a dozen creations such as « A la recherche du centre perdu », “Les gosses du quartier”, “Corps complices”, “Les croisades vues par les Arabes”, “Les étoiles filantes meurent en silence”, “La feuille de l’Olivier”, “Alice si meraviglia” and “ARTcè/seuLement”, among others. Skandrani’s collaboration with the theater, which began in 1986 with Mohamed Driss, Ismail Pasha, “Vive Shakespeare, Le compagnon des cœurs” has been ongoing since 1997, with Fadhel Jaïbi and Jalila Baccar with “Soirée particulière”, “Grand ménage”, “Junun/Démences” and “Khamsoun/Corps otages”. Nawel Skandrani is a founding member of the board of the Tunisian International Theatre Institute, a member of the board of the Young Arab Theatre Fund and a member of the Roberto Cimetta Fund.

OLIVIA MARSAUD (France, 1976) is a journalist and reporter. She has worked on Africa and the Diaspora since 2000 and for different media: Jeune Afrique, RFI, Africultures, In 2005, she worked for El Watan in Algiers and was deputy editor of the monthly magazine Africa, from 2007 to 2009. Since 2010, she is the editor of the quarterly AFRICA24 Magazine. Passionate about photography, she assisted the Art Directors Michket Krifa and Laura Serani during the Bamako Biennale 2009 and held the portfolio reviews of the 2011 Bamako Biennale. She is also an active member of Fetart, since 2008, and in the board of organization of Circulation (s), festival of young European photography (Paris), since 2011.

NAHED NASRALLAH (Egypt, 1953) is a well known costume designer for Cinema and Theater who has worked in partnership with the renowned film directors Youssef Chahine, Yousry Nasrallah, among others. Within her most notorious filmography we mention “The Yacoubian Building” (2006), “Destiny” (1997), “The Other” (1999) and “The Emigrant” (1994). Nahed Nasrallah is also very committed to social issues since the revolution that took place in Egypt. 

KARIM BEN SMAIL (Tunisia, 1961) is a renowned publisher in Tunis and runs Cérès Editions, one of the oldest and most respected independent book publishing companies in North Africa. Ceres publishes essays, fiction and nonfiction and art books. He is a politically active publisher.

FETHI BENSLAMA (Tunisia, 1951) studied psychopathology at the University Paris 7. In 1988, Benslama published his first essay "La nuit brisée" (Ramsay), a book that addresses the issue of language in the psychoanalytic point of view, according to the founder of Islam. A few months later, the Rushdie affair erupted and Benslama clanged to his defense. His political commitment to the defense of democracy, secularism and to women's rights in the Arab and Muslim world leads him, in 2004, to the creation of "Manifest des libertés" among other intellectuals. But it is with his essay "La psychanalyse à l'épreuve à l'islam'' (Flammarion, 2002), with which Benslama becomes well-known. Currently, he directs the UFR - Clinical Study of Psychoanalysis at the University Paris 7, where he also teaches. Benslama also leads a research team on "Health Policy and Minorities", at the Research Center for Psychoanalysis and Medicine, an area in which he has published several studies. He is the author of numerous essays, most recently on the Arab revolutions "Soudain la révolution !”, CERES / Denoël, Tunis-Paris, 2011.

WASSYLA TAMZALI (Algeria, 1941) is a lawyer in Algiers and, since 1979, an employee at the UNESCO, in Paris, where she directs the program on women's rights. She is a founding member of the Collective Maghreb Equality, created in Rabat, in 1992, and in 1993, founder and Vice President of the International Forum for Women of the Mediterranean. In 1994, she was responsible for the “International Report on rape, used as a weapon of war, in view of the systematic rape of Muslim women in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. In 1999, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, she received in recognition of her work by the feminist abolitionists associations, the "Lifetime Achievement Award".

SAMY GHORBAL (Tunisia, 1974) is a French-Tunisian journalist. Between 2000 and 2009, he worked for the pan-African weekly magazine Jeune Afrique and has been doing freelance journalism since then. He was one of the first journalists to talk about the return of the Islamic veil in Tunisia or draw a portrait of Ben Ali’s former in-law Sakhr El Materi, in 2009. He got involved in politics during the Tunisian Revolution and acted as political advisor and speechwriter for the PDP leader Ahmed Néjib Chebbi. Between 2009 and 2011, he wrote “Orphelins de Bourguiba & Héritiers du Prophète” (Cérès Editions, January 2012), a political essay on the first article of the 1959 Tunisian Constitution, which is both the pillar of Tunisian secularism and the backbone of the country’s modern political identity.