The Arab World Institute celebrates its 30th anniversary


The Arab World Institute (IMA), which was opened by the President of the French Republic François Mitterrand in 1987, is now celebrating its 30th anniversary. There will be several events to mark this anniversary.

For the occasion, the 240 mashrabiyas on the front of the building will come to life on 29 September 2017 after being out of use for several years. In an evening with a sound and light show, the public will once again be able to witness the fascinating spectacle of this mechanical ballet.

After three years of renovations, the Arab World Institute’s library will also reopen its doors. With over 100,000 documents and multidisciplinary and multilingual collections, it provides a unique window into Arab culture and civilization in the heart of Paris.

Main exhibition: “Oriental Christians: 2,000 Years of History”

From 26 September, the IMA is hosting the exhibition “Oriental Christians: 2,000 Years of History”. It will feature 300 objects, including many masterpieces of heritage, some of which have never before been seen in Europe and are on loan from communities for the occasion. From ancient times to the present day, the exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the religious, political, cultural and artistic history of these Christian communities.

Like other minorities such as the Yezidis, Christians in the Near and Middle East are the living proof of a cultural diversity now under threat from the actions of terrorist groups such as Daesh. In recent years, the group has deliberately targeted these ethnic and religious communities in order to deny their specific features.

Preserving this cultural diversity is a priority for France. For several years, it has been working to raise awareness about this issue among the international community and provide its support to populations which are victims of ethnic and religious persecution in the Middle East.