Mohamed Kareem is an actor and a theatre director. He founded the children's theatre festival of Cairo in 2007, of which he is now the director.
After three years, his children's theatre festival has grown into a national event in Egypt. For the first edition, Mohamed Kareem's organisation – the Manethon Foundation for Children & Puppets Theatre – paid from its own resources the costs for bringing theatre groups from four countries to participate in the festival that is held each year in November. This year, due to the H1N1 influenza, the festival has been postponed until February 2010. The second edition hosted participants from nine countries. Now sixteen countries are contributing and the Cairo International Festival for Children Theatre receives support from Egypt’s Ministry of Culture. "They wanted to wait at first to see if we were serious," says Mohamed. An even greater success in his view is the fact that he was able to convince the well-known children's theatre author Nabeel Khalaf to serve as the festival’s honorary chair.
Mohamed is one of the ARTerial Network's newcomers. "Egypt always looked to the north, not to the south. But Africa is our continent, too. We have a lot of cultural similarities. It is our heritage. We need to communicate more and to understand one another’s worlds. There are a lot of talented people here. Many of them have serious projects but not enough experience to find sponsors. Businesses are a good choice. They are increasingly eager to invest in Africa, if only because so many people live there who are potential consumers. In Egypt, it is perfectly normal for businesses to sponsor the arts. Artists should involve their governments in their projects more, instead of always assuming that the government is the enemy."