While based on twin pillars of security cooperation and economic collaboration, Egyptian-U.S. relations are diverse and deep, inspired by mutual cultural touchstones and a common on focus on heritage, history and global leadership. As the relationship continues to grow, new opportunities will continue to emerge, benefitting the people, industries and governments of both nations in important ways.
America’s strategic partnership with Egypt extends beyond security cooperation and commercial initiatives to encompass a wide range of people-to-people engagements, whether it be between cultural organizations, educational institutions. medical professionals or other like-minded groups.
Our nations partner to preserve Egypt’s rich cultural heritage through organizations such as the Egyptian Antiquities Conservation Project, a collaboration between USAID and Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. The Government of Egypt and the International Coalition to Protect Egyptian Antiquities, based at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., have also launched a public-private partnership to combat cultural racketeering in Egypt. The collaboration aims to “harness the power of Western and Egyptian cultural and business leaders to protect Egyptian antiquities.”
The tireless and ongoing efforts of Egyptian and American officials to identify, investigate and impede the trafficking of stolen antiquities is one of the great success stories of the Egypt-U.S. partnership. Together, we have returned hundreds of ancient artifacts home, and in the process, cut off an important source of financing for terror organizations. This includes 123 Egyptian artifacts that were repatriated in 2015 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Another key milestone was the completion of a Memoranda of Understanding between Egypt and the U.S. in 2016 to impose import restrictions on certain categories of archaeological artifacts into America. Throughout 2017, organizations like the American Research Center (ARCE) in Egypt continued to demonstrate the shared commitment of Egyptians and Americans to protecting antiquities and culture. This included the finalization of an ARCE project to clean and conserve a Roman temple dedicated to the cult of the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis in Luxor, using sustainable techniques and materials that highlight new heritage preservation practices in Egypt.
U.S. agencies and Egyptian ministries frequently partner on sectoral projects, which include granting export access to the United States for Egypt’s expanding fruit and vegetable markets and forging new ties between Egyptian and American institutions of higher learning. The State Department’s largest exchange program, the International Visitor Leadership Program, sends dozens of Egyptians to the U.S. each year for two- to three-week professional tours of the United States.
Health and medical cooperation remains a top priority, yielding nearly $1 billion in U.S. investments in Egyptian health and wellness over the past three decades. The United States has also been a critical partner in Egypt’s renewed push for expanding polio vaccinations to prevent a return of the crippling disease.