US Ambassador to Cairo Jonathan Cohen has visited the Seti I Temple at Abydos, and the Red and White Monasteries in Sohag governorate, Upper Egypt. During the visit, Cohen also met Sohag Governor Tarek Mohamed El Fiqi.
The Ambassador affirmed the US continued support for its partnership with Egypt in cultural preservation, tourism, and broad-based economic development.
At the Red Monastery, Ambassador Cohen was welcomed by the church leadership and inspected the church’s walled murals, which were cleaned and conserved by the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) with a $3.6m fund from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). These murals are the only complete pre-medieval paintings remaining in Egypt in their original form.
Ambassador Cohen also visited the White Monastery, another fifth century monastic site founded by St. Shenouda, which was excavated and conserved by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, ARCE, and multiple prominent American universities, including Yale University, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, and others.
Since 2008, the ARCE’s Antiquities Endowment Fund, established in 1996 with $27.5m in US government funding, has provided over $1m for preservation projects at the monasteries in Sohag.
At Abydos, Cohen visited the Osiris Chapel, where a recent $88,500 fund from the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) was injected to repair the structure and preserve the chapel’s original scenes and inscriptions. Since 2004, the US government has invested almost $800,000 in the site, ensuring access for current and future generations to Abydos.
Cohen said, “I am delighted to visit these world-renowned sites and to see first-hand the positive impact of our longstanding US-Egypt partnership in cultural preservation, tourism, and economic development. Over the past 25 years, the US government has provided more than $102m to preserve, restore, and protect over 85 cultural heritage sites across Egypt.”
Noteworthy, the US has invested over $30bn to support Egypt’s economic development since 1978.