I was invited by Christoph Scholz, Director of SC Exhibitions, to go to Manila, the Philippines, to give a talk as part of the ASPAC 2015 Conference, hosted by the Mind Museum. The topic was “Egypt’s fundraising for museums”.
I really enjoyed this trip with Christoph, who is a great German organiser and very good company (read a curious story he wrote on this trip). He introduced me and I talked about the fundraising we did for the Children Museum in Cairo. I first had to mention the important role that Mrs Suzanne Mubarak played in this fundraising. I really think that history will remember this great lady.
I talked about two important activities that allowed us to fundraise US$17 million for this museum. The first activity was the sale of my famous Indiana Jones-style hat and the second the King Tut exhibit that toured the United States. Through this exhibit and the hat we were able to raise funds from all over the world, which, with the addition of significant individual donations such as that of Samih Sawiris (US$1.000.000!!!), enabled us to build one of the best children museums in the Middle East.
I also presented a plan to fundraise for the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is currently under construction in the shadow of the pyramids. The King Tut exhibition brought about US$120 million that financed the construction of the conservation and storage rooms, while Japan contributed with a loan of US$300 million. When I was in charge of antiquities, I was working to open this museum in 2015, however I am afraid the current authorities will not be able to open this museum according to the previous schedule: they still need to raise US$ 700 million!
I believe the only way to complete the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum is to take it out of the hands of the government and put it in the hands of a dedicated special committee. This committee should be formed by entrepreneurs and should draft an international fundraising plan, in which we should specify that the name of all entities and institutions contributing with funds will be inscribed on the external walls of the museum. Egypt’s monuments belong to everyone and, therefore, the construction of this museum should be everyone’s responsibility.