For centuries Sweden has had many and varied contacts with the Middle East and North Africa region. In recent years the relation with the region has taken on new dimensions. Through immigration people and cultures of the region have become part of the Swedish society.
Today around one out of fifty Swedes has a recent background from the Middle East and North Africa. Since Sweden entered the European Union in 1995 Sweden participates in the ongoing efforts towards closer co-operation between the EU and its Mediterranean neighbours as expressed in the Barcelona Declaration on the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. Sweden also has a long record of active engagement in issues of North-South relations, and of development co-operation with countries of the South.
It was in this light that the Swedish government in 1997 initiated a study on the establishment of a Swedish Institute in Alexandria. The motive was to develop a means to increase broad contacts and co-operation with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, to facilitate dialogues on issues of common concern, and to contribute to the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.
The Swedish Institute Alexandria (SwedAlex) was established following an agreement between the governments of Sweden and Egypt in 1999. It was inaugurated, on the 3rd of October 2000 by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Sweden and Egypt, Ms Anna Lindh, and Mr Amre Moussa. The Institute is housed in a building on the Corniche in the Eastern Port, which was established in 1922 and since 1925 has served as the Swedish Consulate and later also as a Seamen's institute. As part of the establishment of the institute the building has undergone a comprehensive renovation.
The Swedish Institute Alexandria focuses on the following focus areas:
The overarching goal is to promote peace and pluralism through dialogue and creatingmutual relationships between the people and cultures of Sweden and Egypt on the one hand and Europe and Middle East and North Africa on the other hand.
While many of our activities focus on youth leaders, women and religious leaders, intellectuals, philosophers, researchers, politicians, students, journalists and other experts meet at SwedAlex. Difference of opinions is considered an advantage and we promote conversations based on respect of the other and their views.