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The Abbara program was launched in 2011 in response to the socio-political events unfolding in many countries of the Arab region in order to support independent cultural organisations as key actors in the processes of democratic transformation.

The program supports and empowers independent cultural institutions in playing a central and sustainable role in fostering values of freedom, respect for artistic creativity and critical thinking, and the acceptance of diversity. Additionally, the program supports these independent cultural organizations in performing their basic role as providers of cultural and artistic services to the different sectors of society.

To achieve its mission, the Abbara program provides the following four types of support: core funding (salaries of the key staff, rent, running costs, legal counselling, website development, etc.), tailor-suited technical assistance through its pool of experts, specific capacity-building in the area of cultural management, and networking opportunities.

By the end of Round 4 (June 2016), the Abbara program counts more than 50 independent cultural organisations from five Arab countries (Yemen, Syria, Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia) that will have benefited from its targeted support.

In Round 5 of the Abbara programme, the door for applications is open to independent cultural organizations that meet the eligibility criteria in all the countries of the Arab region. Round 5 will be implemented in 2017-2018 after the selection process is concluded by the end of 2016.

The Program is implemented by Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy) with the financial support of The Doen Foundation (Netherlands), Mimeta (Norway), Ford Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation.

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Abbara Program – Objectives

  • To enhance the administrative and organisational efficacy of independent cultural organisations/ initiatives, with a focus on ensuring their long-term stability and sustainability.
  • To empower independent cultural organisations/ initiatives in effectively playing a role in the public sphere, and in disseminating values of freedom, respect for artistic creativity and critical thinking, and tolerance through providing targeted support in key areas such as audience-building and cultural programming, communication and promotion, and strategic positioning.
  • To create an informal network for program participants as a means to increasing the exchange of expertise and knowledge, and a stimulus to develop and implement joint projects that address issues of common interest.

Types of Support

To achieve its objectives the Abbara program provides the following types of support:

Financial support – is limited to core funding to cover (partially or fully) key staff salaries, rent and maintenance, refurbishment of work/cultural space, running costs, development of a website, and legal counselling. Financial support does not include implementation of programme activities. Financial support covers a minimum timeframe of 12 months.

Cultural management training – is a specific, specialized training that builds the capacity in the area of cultural management. It is an essential component of the Abbara program and is delivered by experts to program beneficiaries in two courses.

Technical assistance – is catered to the program beneficiaries based on a previous needs assessment with each beneficiary. Technical assistance covers the traditional areas strategy development, cultural programming, financial management, audience building, and communications and networking, and may include other areas identified during the initial needs assessment.

Networking – being part of the Abbara program offers opportunities for knowledge exchange and cooperation among the growing network of past and current program members/beneficiaries.

Announcing opening of applications for Abbara 2017 – 2018
deadline 22 July 2016

Guidelines and Applications available only in Arabic 


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