A Brief on the Stages of the Project
- H.E. Mrs. Mubarak was the first sponsor of this unique project since its inception. She has not spared any effort in following up all the activities relevant to the project.
- Alexandria University was the first to call for the idea of reviving the Ancient Library of Alexandria. To that end, the university allocated the land, and established the Conference Center in a distinguished site near El-Selsela. H.E. Mr. Mubarak adopted the project nationally, and Dr. Fathi Serour, the Minister of Education at that time assumed the responsibility of calling for this international project along with the UNESCO. The General Organization for Alexandria Library (GOAL) was then founded with a Presidential Decree in the year 1988, and affiliated to the Ministry of Education under the supervision of Dr. Hussein Kamel Bahaa El-Din. The project was then followed up by H.E. Dr. Moufid Shehab, when he took over the Ministry of Higher Education. Engineer Safwat Salem, the First Undersecretary for the Ministry of Higher Education assisted substantially in the implementation of the project. H.E. Dr. Moufid Shehab had a key role in preparing the new legislations and administrative regulations for the library.
- UNESCO’s Director General participated in supporting the project with an Appeal in 1987. The UNESCO arranged an Architectural Competition, with the participation of hundreds of architectural offices from all over the world. Snohetta won the first prize for the best design. Snohetta made a joint venture with Hamza Associates, who carried out the engineering designs. Several international dignitaries attended the 1990 conference, where the Aswan Declaration was signed. The International Commission, chaired by H.E. Mrs. Mubarak was then founded. Arab countries took the initiative of financially supporting the project followed by other foreign countries. The execution of the project construction started in 1995, and was carried out by the Arab Contractors with the participation of Italian and British companies. Dr. Mohsen Zahran played a crucial role in the materialization of the architectural design. He assumed work in the project for many years till the completion of the dazzling building overlooking the Mediterranean.
- With the advent of the Inauguration, it was high time for the political leadership to develop new policies for the library in a way commensurating with its scientific role. Law no. 1 for the year 2001 was passed rendering the library an autonomous body affiliated directly to the President, who specified all the relevant regulations for the library’s financial and administrative affairs in the Decree no. 76 for the year 2001.
- Council of Patrons: The President or his designate chairs the Council. The Council includes the French President, the Queen of Spain, as well as other international dignitaries.
- Board of Trustees: The President or his designate chairs the Board. The board includes Egyptians and non-Egyptians.
- The Director General: The DG assumes all the executive responsibility for the new library.
- President Mubarak delegated Mrs. Mubarak to chair the Board of Trustees. The members of the Board of Trustees were chosen from among distinguished personalities and Dr. Ismail Serageldin was appointed the Director General in the board’s first meeting, the 28th of May 2001.
- BA celebrated the installation of the First Book on Shelf in the beginning of August 2001.
- During October 2001, Bibliotheca Alexandrina experienced the Soft-Opening, in which the library was experimentally opened to the public for one month